This applies to school and social lives, too, for our children.
Pastors Corner 1-27-13
Over the last few weeks the Trustee’s and other members of the church have been doing some remodeling work in the basement. Paul and Jeffery scrubbed and waxed the fellowship building’s floor last week and we are getting closer to getting the televisions up and working in the main church. As I was thinking about the work being done at the church a scripture in Nehemiah came to mind. Nehemiah 4:6 tells that the people had a mind to work. This scripture pertained to the physical work of rebuilding the wall at Jerusalem after it was destroyed by Chaldeans. They worked long and hard to rebuild the wall, but not everyone was able to actually lay the wood beams. The people did whatever job they could, according to their talents, to support the actual building of the wall. This led me to the thought that there is always a job for me and you to do around the church and it does not have to be physical. Praying, visiting, cleaning, giving, and witnessing are just as essential to the health of the church as driving a nail. I believe that God looks on effort and sincerity and not the type of job we are doing.
Today is my wife and my twenty-fourth wedding anniversary. We didn’t do much to celebrate, other than have dinner out and just enjoy some time together. This afternoon I ran out to get a few items to put together a little gift-set for her and while I was doing so I had a chance to think about these years we have spent together since we said our “I do”s.
I don’t think that we, or anyone who marries as young as we did, fully understood our vows when we said them: For better or worse, for richer or poorer, till death do us part. Reflecting upon the time that has passed since we exchanged those sacred vows I now know for certain just how little we truly comprehended them. These years we have faced many “better and worse”, “richer and poorer” situations. Frankly, as I told her earlier today, my wife has by far gotten the short end of the stick with most of these things, with my health problems and my physical disability (twice) putting quite the burden on her quite often over the years. And yet she has stood by and with me. I thank God, not as often as I should though, that He ordained for us to be together. I thank Him for His perfect, sovereign choice of her and I as man and wife.
The Bible teaches us that the church is Christ’s bride; the Christian’s relationship with our Savior is likened to a marriage. Pondering upon this thought today, along with my own marriage to my wonderful wife I realized just how perfect and accurate this simile is. Through out our walk of faith we face many challenges: Illness, financial woes, emotional upheavals, and all the rest that human beings deal with in this fallen world, just as we do in our earthly, physical marriages.
In our physical marriages we have to face the prospect of abandonment and unfaithfulness. Many if not most marriages end in divorce because of these things. But with our spiritual marriage there is no fear of these things, at least not on the Husband’s part. It is true, sadly, that we may walk away from our Groom, choose to be adulterous in this relationship, or end the marriage because of any number of sins that we choose over Christ Jesus. But He will never do that to us; He is always faithful, always present, always loving, and always attentive.
Having endured many hardships in our twenty-four years I know, but can’t say I understand, that people “throw in the towel” on their marriages. Maybe they weren’t in their God-ordained relationship, I don’t know; I believe that God has that one person set aside just for each of us and we can choose to ignore His will in this area, which would likely end poorly, in my thoughts at least. But I think that most earthly marriages end because the are hard work and require a lot of effort, compromise, and communication. Our spiritual marriage is no different in this regard, except we are the only one that will give up, cheat, walk out, whatever you want to call it.
A marriage is a most sacred, precious thing. Seeing this holy union end in divorce is such a sad, hurtful thing, one that makes me wince inside, and sometimes outside, too. But worse still, seeing or hearing of someone ending their relationship with God crushes my heart. The only good thing I can think of about the break up of a spiritual marriage compared to a physical one is that Jesus will always take back a truly repentant and heartbroken spouse: most men or women won’t.
Well, the new year is a few days old now and I really should have written this blog a few days before the old one left us. But “life” and procrastination got in the way and it didn’t get done. This thought has been on my mind for a couple of weeks so I really have no excuse, to be completely honest, for not getting it done. So, now it’s time to see if I can get it into words…
I have been thinking about all of the things that we become resolute to do in the New Year: We say we are going to be better, do better, improve “this” and “that”, you know all the resolutions. And yet after a short time, days or weeks, we don’t “do” any of them; yes, we try for a while but then we give up and go back to whatever it was we had so hoped to improve upon.
It is my prayer, for myself, for you, for the church universal, that we stop trying: Stop trying to read more, study regularly, attend worship more faithfully, pray without ceasing, stop trying all of it. I pray that we will just do it. God’s Word tells us that nothing is impossible with or for God. The Bible teaches is that we can do all things through Christ, who strengthens us. The Word tells us over and over to be obedient, even when it isn’t comfortable for us, and just do what God leads us to do.
In the Book of John, the second chapter, the Bible tells us about a wedding at Cana. The beginning of the account (that’s correct account, not story) tells us of a lack of wine for the guests. Mary, Jesus’ mother, tells the servants there to do whatever Jesus tells them to do. And they did. They took six large pots, empty vessels that were capable of holding about 30 gallons each, and filled them. Jesus then turned the water into wine, His first earthly miracle. These servants were privileged to be a part of that miracle because they did what he said; they did not make excuses, whine or moan, they moved. These pots had to be heavy; water weighs about eight pounds/gallon, multiplied by 30, makes the contents alone 240 pounds per vessel and I imagine they vessels must have been 20 or more pounds themselves, totally, perhaps, 300 pounds per water pot! I can think of all kinds of excuses, though we would call them reasons, for the servants to not want to undertake this task: Surely this is a silly idea, they are too heavy, we can try but it won’t be easy, we need more help, etc, etc. I imagine you can hear the excuses coming forth in your own head, can’t you? All the reasons why they could try but probably won’t succeed. But the servants didn’t do that. No, they did as Jesus instructed them.
What do you suppose we could accomplish for the Kingdom, for our Lord, if we just did instead of “trying”? In the book of Acts it says that the Apostles, twelve men, turned the world upside-down. God’s Word says that He is the same yesterday, today and forever more; the same God that worked through those men has the same power to work through us today. Are we willing, like those men and women of old, to act and let Him work through us today? I pray we are. And I ray we do.