I believe I may have worked myself into a doctors visit recently. I started by gutting my parents flooded home in Texas and then gutting flooded homes in Florida after Irma, along with trying to keep up with teaching and grading papers and working on the DBA budget and annual meeting, the prison ministry, … and the list goes on. You’re probably familiar with what I’m talking about, most ministers are. Upon return from Florida, I find myself in the doctors office. I’ve had to slow down. I’m not completely still, but even slowing down gives you a little margin to reflect. I’ve had several thoughts on recent developments.
First, I need to obey the Sabbath. The Sabbath was made for me, I wasn’t made for the Sabbath. I need to heed the wise commands of my Heavenly Father. For one, I don’t make the world go round. God does. Two, If I’m down, physically and spiritually, then I’m not much use to anyone.
Second, turns out, I don’t want to be sick and I don’t want to die. I’m not as “ok” with enduring sickness, suffering and death as I thought I was. At first, I felt disheartened. I compared myself to Peter, who told Jesus he would die with him, but it turned out, at that point, Peter wasn’t really ok with suffering and dying for Jesus. Peter didn’t know where he was in his relationship with Christ, but a difficult situation revealed to Peter the truth about himself.
But after I considered things further, there’s a sense in which I’m not supposed to be content with the state of death and suffering of this present age. Death and suffering are a result of sin and Satan and the brokenness of our world. I’m not supposed to be “ok” with that. I think I’m supposed to be saddened over it, fight against it and long for the fullness of redemption that will be ours at the revealing of the sons of God.
That being said, I can think of no better reason to use up my body than on mission for kingdom purposes. We have the opportunity to offer our bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, for the joy set before us. Our bodies are going to ache, break and eventually, wear out. If I live long enough, I will eventually have a bad back, decaying teeth, weakening eyes and thousand diseases and futilities will bring me to my grave. It is the result of sin, Satan and the brokenness of our world. It comes to us all, it is inevitable, but the cause for which I live, suffer and die, that will make all the difference.
According to news reports, on this past Sunday, 26 of our brothers and sisters at First Baptist Church Sutherland Springs in Texas were killed by a gunman as they gathered to worship. I certainly pray that this horror does not happen again, but we draw comfort in knowing that these brothers and sisters met Christ in worship. May we all be worshipping our Lord when we cross the Jordon into that great Sabbath rest.
The moral of the story: Worship! Work hard for the kingdom. Be spent on behalf of the King, but be wise and obey the Sabbath. In the end we will be better able to live and die well, if we do things God’s way. I pray you enjoy the holidays and worship well.
September 1, 2017
Christ referred to us as his body. The
members of our physical body have a special kind of union with one another. They have a connection that goes beyond unity. When I think of unity, I think of a collection of different parts that are organized and work together to accomplish a task. A mechanical watch, for example, is a collection of separate parts that are organized to keep time. If one were to disassemble the watch, each part could exist independently from the others.
The church, however, is not merely assembled parts, placed together to accomplish a task. The church is a body, and the members of a body are living, and they impart life to one another. Separated, the members of a body will die. My fingers, toes, heart and lungs, with their special functions and abilities, are designed to be life giving. As each member of the body of Christ walks in the Spirit, we contribute something life giving to the other members of the body.
I’m encouraged by the life giving relationships that we have within our Association. Over the past 7 months, many of you have breathed spiritual life into me through our discussions, prayer and serving together. Our Association has the potential for more and deeper connections, and that is a very exciting and energizing prospect. My hope and prayer and work is increased fellowship among the saints, so that we might impart spiritual life and vitality to one another.