Here’s a simple example of why it’s so important to repetitively teach young minds about God’s word: Continue reading
I can’t say the thought is original to me, but it’s more than worth passing along:
You never saw a fish on the wall with its mouth shut.
It think that’s one good example on the wisdom of holding our tongue when the time calls for it.
“He who guards his mouth preserves his life, but he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction.” (Proverbs 13:3)
I believe, unhappily so, that many people in the church avoid serving the Lord (most think they’re just not serving the church) because they think that whatever needs to be done isn’t done by them because it’s not his or her job to do it. This is a sad mentality to say the least. Without a doubt certain individuals take certain responsibilities upon themselves freely, and individuals such as elders, deacons and preachers, need to remember this. But for any individual to shirk his or her duty to the Lord as his servant on the basis of it’s another servant’s job doesn’t just miss the point of setting the table in the Lord’s kingdom – it’s misses the point of sitting at the table in the Lord’s kingdom.
Take this secular example of this spiritual point that I’m making. A dental hygienist who was cleaning a young girl’s teeth noticed something that had nothing to do with her teeth. She noticed that her eyes were yellow, so she called the dentist over to ask for his opinion and he agreed with her that something did not look right. A doctor’s visit and a very rough surgery later (due to a very large tumor on her pancreas), the young girl that was sitting in the hygienists’ chair found herself recovering from an issue that would have killed her had it not been for the steps taken to save her life – steps that were taken because a dental hygienist noticed something wrong with the young girl’s eyes.
The hygienist could have brushed off what she saw in that young girl’s eyes by telling herself that she was a hygienist, not an optometrist, much less a practicing PhD. But she didn’t! She didn’t say “it’s not my job” because she knew she had a responsibility as one person to another. And so we, as “ordinary” Christians, who are all called to serve the Lord in his kingdom, must remember that saying “it’s not my job” does not change the opportunities that we are called to look for. And it does not change the reasons we could have to rejoice.
“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:9-10)
When I was a kid there was a bet (a little game really) that went something like, “I can count to 100 in 5 seconds.” When the “bet” was called, the challenger would simply say, “1, 2, skip a few, 99, 100.” And voila, there you had it!
To kids the game is harmless, but unfortunately there are a lot of adults who still make this “bet” when it comes to biblical issues such as salvation by faith alone, whether or not the 10 Commandments (and other aspects of Moses’ Law) are still in effect, women’s roles in public worship, and the sinfulness of unholy sexual behavior. Such issues are advocated on the basis of having biblical support. And how do the advocates get away with it? The same way a kid can still count to 100 in 5 seconds!
When it comes to studying biblical issues, it’s in everyone’s best interest to study verses in their context – the verse, and even the chapter, before and after can change what words mean. This also includes keeping in mind what God’s apostles and prophets taught the church in the other letters that make up the Bible.
So when something that someone teaches doesn’t sound right, demand a recount; because more often than not, you’ll find a few number of verses that have gotten skipped in between their introduction and their conclusion.
In no certain order, from our reading schedule today.
• Amazing that Paul uses the Macedonians as an example to the Greek Corinthians. Demosthenes said the Greeks considered them barbarians. Unity under Alexander the Great’s banner didn’t mollify their feelings any for the Macedonians. Yes, Paul writes about Christians to Christians, but prejudices don’t always drown in the water of baptism, as they certainly didn’t in Corinth. He obviously does it on purpose, as if to say that if God’s grace can work in barbarians in such a fashion, imagine what it can do in (irony to follow) cultured intellectuals like the Corinthians. A bit of competitive spirit here, as well, perhaps?
• I loved this comment: “Paul attributes this abundant generosity not merely to the Macedonians’ own goodness or sense of justice nor to anything he himself did or said, but to the grace of (charis) of God (v. 1). In responding to this gift of grace, the Macedonians have shown their devotion to the Lord (v. 5)” (M.A. Pascuzzi, “The Second Letter to the Corinthians,” New Collegeville Bible Commentary, 2009: 568).
• Though the need is human focused, the motive is God-centered. God acts in them, and they act as an outflow of gratitude to him.
• As much as one looks to human examples, we ultimately need to see in Jesus the supreme model in all things. Be like him. Talk like him. Act like him. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that although he was rich, he became poor for your sakes, so that you by his poverty could become rich” (v. 9). No, we’re not divine becoming human like him. But behind every word and act of his lie truths and principles to guide our faith and service.
• Here’s a sideline, a rabbit to chase. We often talk about, ever so rightly, the Bible being our guide in faith and practice. Somehow, I prefer the phrase “faith and service.” Is it just because I like to tinker?
• Words I always need to hear, as one who loves to begin projects: “finish what you started” (v. 11). In spiritual matters, the old saw that “it’s the thought that counts” doesn’t get you brownie points.
• Best to quit now, while my mom is still reading. Even she gets tired of me, after a while. What thoughts do you have on 2 Cor. 8, whether you’re following the schedule or not?