We had started a new church in a small country town and we lived in a rented house on the edge of town near the cemetery. The wonder of wonders for us was the night sky in brilliant array. With almost no city background lights the sky was filled with diamonds.
I remember an August night when I knew of a meteor shower expected to be awesome. For once we let the girls stay up very late and took blankets out on the front lawn. Shortly after midnight the show began and for hours we gasp in delight as shooting stars crossed the heavens above us, No one slept through that,
Our daughters were quite young then and the memory of that event shared with them still evokes wonder and joy.
I dropped by the office of my friend Steve to ask for help with a project. While visiting I noticed a sign on his office wall that said, " Our business in life is not to get ahead of others, but to get ahead of ourselves. To break our own records." What a wonderful thought in a day of great competition between people and between companies.
Part of the great stress in our lives is the anxious feelings when we see others enjoying more success than we are. We should celebrate their success and not worry about our situation. We can then learn what we need to know to improve our own lot in life and our service to the Lord. If each of us were more concerned about our inner peace with God we could all get closer to God faster. Jesus calls us each to our own ministry and that should be our main focus and concern. How do we best serve Jesus with whatever gifts we have received?
We start each day with what we have right now and build from there. Yes there may have been mistakes in the past but we can learn from them and look to greater achievements of the future. We can rejoice in the success of others and learn from their efforts to add to our own. Our brothers and sisters in Christ are also part of our gift from God to help us grow stronger in our ministry.
Jesus calls on us to live in the light of God's love, to love God with everything with in us and to love our neighbor as our selves. If we follow the teachings of Jesus we will find ourselves helping others to get ahead and in doing so improve our own quality of life in God's light. Check out the third chapter of John and pray about it.
A teenage boy was totally obsessed with a girl in school. His father asked him what about this girl appealed to him the most. He answered; "Her mom does. She's a knock-out!" A very much surprised dad wanted to know more.
"Well," he explained, "I figure that if her mom looks so good now, so will she years from now."It is unusual for a boy his age to think so analytically, but he had deduced that the daughter was more or less the incarnate image of her mom.
Jesus was innocent but on trial and his life was on the line but he didn't retain any lawyers to defend him. He did subpoena all of us as his witnesses as though the trial continues. Today the call for witnesses is not to save the life of Jesus but to save the souls of people who are lost to sin. Sadly far too many witnesses are claiming the fifth and remaining silent.
Some witnesses seem to think at they can ignore the subpoena and they will not be missed among so great a cloud of witnesses. Yet every voice calling out the name of Jesus is important for the cause of salvation. Your voice, yes your witness for Jesus in you community is vital. If you do not speak up someone may be lost because of the silence. Every day is another day in the court of the world and your name has been called to appear and testify.
What is your response to the subpoena that Jesus issued for you to proclaim your faith publicly, loudly, and with conviction? We are all on the witness stand every day. Every baptized Christian has been sworn in. Everyone who claims the name Christian is subject at every turn to be ready to speak up for Jesus. Our silence is not an option, it is perjury. Jesus is still calling the faithful to the witness stand. Do you hear your name being called?
Micah 6:8"He has told you O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?"
Did Micah strike a key note here? How do we pay what is due to God in the way we baptized Christians live?
1. Do Justice
What is Justice? Do we mean our idea of Justice or God's idea of Justice?
It had been a long day at home, 13 year old Jimmy had done everything that irritated his mother and she had yelled at him for each violation. Finally in exasperation she said, "Jimmy, I would like to go at least one day with out yelling at you!"To which Jimmy responded, "You have my permission."
Doing justice daily takes being aware of God's presence in our point of view and in the way we see the lives of the other people around us.
2. Love Kindness.
It was DO JUSTICE but it is LOVE KINDNESS. And there is a difference. Even the most ornery person can do kind things now and then. But to love kindness is to embrace the passion for kindheartedness to all people. It is a life style for daily living.
3. Walk Humbly with God
The foundation for doing justice and loving kindness is to be aware of our loving relationship with God as creature to creator. To walk humbly is not simply to walk with ones head bowed but to walk through life with the constant awareness of presence.
My wife Melanie and I love to take long walks together. She is four foot eight and I am six foot and it would be easy, given our size difference for me to overlook or ignore her presence. However I am very much aware of her powerful personality which more than makes up for her size. My constant awareness of her blesses me and I often forget our difference in height.
As I walk through life - because I can not see God with my physical eyes, it would be easy for me to ignore God's presence with me. But because I am constantly aware of God's powerful spirit, I am blessed. That constant awareness allows me to recognize my position in life and live in awe and walk humbly with God.
It is a most wonderful thing that God chooses to walk through life with us. We pay our proper dues to God by walking through the life God has given us, humbly in God's presence.