The local print newspaper is promoting it’s annual “Vote for the Best of the Best 2017.” Readers are to vote for the best restaurant, the best dry cleaners, the best insurance company, etc. The contest appears somewhat slanted because the newspaper gives you the list of candidates to choose from; however, that’s not to say they would reject your entry if you submitted a name that wasn’t on their list. One of the categories is for the best church and in order to win the title a church membership simply needs to vote for themselves. I can imagine God doing an eye roll. Paul said, “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise” (2 Cor 10:12 NIV).
October 20, 2017
Mary anointed Jesus with perfume and those present protested that it was a waste because the perfume could have been sold and the money given to poor. Jesus came to her defense. I find it interesting that immediately following this incident Judas Iscariot went to the chief priest with a plot to betray Jesus. It’s possible the loss of revenue was a concern for Judas; however, I suspect his motivation had more to do with Jesus saying, “I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her” (Mark 14:9 NIV). I wonder if Judas was trying to make a name for himself and he felt his notoriety might somehow overshadow the worldwide memory of Mary.
October 19, 2017
I attended a meeting where only three of the six committee members were present and for my report I pulled the list of committee members from the official website. Much to my chagrin one of the men I reported as absent for the October meeting had died in August. Hopefully the error didn’t add to the family’s grief; however, the reality is that when we die we will all leave unfinished business. Jesus told the Parable of the Rich Fool, “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:20-21 NIV).
October 18, 2017
Many of us contemplate heaven and the reward for our faithfulness, obedience, loving our neighbor, displaying the Gifts of the Spirit, etc. However, as I read the Lord’s model prayer it occurs to me that we don’t have to wait until heaven…the Father’s kingdom and His will can be done on earth. Jesus said, “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one’” (Matt 6:9-13 NIV).
October 17, 2017
As my mother-in-law settles into our home she frequently asks, “What can I do to help?” Often I can’t think of anything she can help with because what I prioritize as needing done are things that only I can do — writing, organizing my work space, coordinating schedules. I never thought of helping others as being a God appointed position in the body of Christ, but there it is tucked between some of what many of us consider to be the weightier positions described by Paul. “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues” (1 Cor 12:27-28 NIV).
October 16, 2017
One media headline read, “The Harvey Weinstein cover up: How censorship, settlements and silence kept the allegations out of the news.” Cover ups are not unique to Hollywood, the media and politicians, we also find them in the Bible, in today’s church and in our families. Wives engage in cover-ups for husbands, parents for their children and people of faith for their religious leaders. Paul said, “For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat...So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God” (Ro 14:10b, 12 NIV). We understand that sins which have been covered-up will be exposed. However, not many of us consider that the part we played in covering up the sins of others will also be exposed.
October 13, 2017
Once again I attended a public meeting and heard a civil servant take a condescending tone with members of the community…and get away with it. Government employees who look down on the citizenry seem to forget that they work for the people. Similar situations can be found in the church where sometimes we too forget Who we work for. I’m reminded of Paul’s words to Timothy, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity” (1 Tim 4:12 NIV).