Monday, November 29, 2010

Who Sails Your Ship?

I like to see different religious bumper stickers as I travel on the highway. It is interesting how many ways we can show our faith through a 12” x 4” printed sticker. I particularly like the one that says “Jesus is my Co-Pilot.” I have often wondered what Jesus would do as a co-pilot. Would he only take over when you need help? Or maybe it means that he is there when you need to take a break from steering the ship.
I’m sure that this sticker is meant to be a positive statement, but from my perspective, Jesus Christ is way more than a co-pilot. A co-pilot does not give you the prescription of how to live.
With Christ as the Pilot of my ship it has drawn me away from belief in ownership to one of stewardship. How can I believe that anything that I possess was brought to me by my power alone? How can I believe that anything in my possession will pass with me beyond the grave except that part that God holds? Ownership cannot exist except as God.
Stewardship is, however, God’s command. Christ speaks directly of stewardship at least 10 times in the Gospels. When Jesus refers to ownership he does so in the context of God as the owner. The Master lays it in front of us, we only need acknowledge the truth & live accordingly. Without the trappings of ownership, the desire for the things of man begin to fade. Jesus said it clearly in the Sermon on the Mount:
31 “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:31-33
The Pilot of the ship I ride is Christ. He knows the waters well and he will never run aground. By the way, there is always a ticket waiting for each of us and through the Water and the Word we have been given permission to come aboard.

Joyous Determination

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Liability or Life

When is Liability a liability? A recent event brought light upon an ever increasing viewpoint that litigation is a fearsome result of living and that right actions constantly fall into a category that can be swept under the dreaded rug of the law.
“No good deed goes unpunished!”
I have heard this throughout my lifetime and it has often been offered as humorous solace for actions that carried the intention of good but produced results of an unexpected nature. Is it appropriate for an adult to intervene in a physical dispute between two toddlers? How about two elementary school students? Middle School? High School? College? Co-workers? Criminals with guns?
I’m certain that the context will soften the stand of most responders but the truth remains that each person will have a level at which intervention will be considered a liability to personal well being.
Although difficult to ascertain, the ramifications of inaction reach far beyond the issue at hand. While inaction due to personal safety will certainly reach the top of the list, the importance of material possessions or status often seem to rank higher than service to a brother.
The story of the Good Samaritan comes to mind when I consider this issue. If the Samaritan concerns himself with possible litigation in the story, does he befriend the stranger that is beaten & robbed? What about the pouring of oils onto the man’s wounds, does anyone stop the man from bleeding? What about the Inn Keeper that is asked to assist this man? Since the Samaritan and his injured companion never show up, is his opportunity for compassion missed?
When we live our life in fear of retribution instead of the light of God’s Love we miss the opportunities that arise each day for Kindness, Compassion, Gratitude and Love. These are the qualities that bring heaven to our earth. The more we live in the Light of God’s Love, the longer we experience what Jesus considered when he said:

34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6:34 NIV

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Past is that – Past!

We are constantly reminded of the way things used to be. It can be a church, a school, a job, our childhood, almost anything. History fills us with expectation. When our lives are positive we generally look at the past as the process that contributed to our current position. When things are not going so well, we often view the past with longing. We wish for a return to an easier and simpler time.
This habit of humanity is certainly not unique. It is a constant theme in the bible and nowhere is it more evident than in the Gospel. We see this when Christ reveals his imminent death to his disciples. There is no perception revealed by the disciples that this could lead to anything positive and as such they wish for things to remain as they have been, with Jesus teaching them and living in the community of Christ.
Little did they know that what they perceived as an impossible occurrence was all part of the salvation that God had planned and would soon be revealed. If they had been able to turn back time to a simpler, easier point in Christ’s ministry, the opportunity of complete forgiveness would have been forsaken.
Every period in our lives will bring with it joys & sorrows and the longing for a better time will certainly be part of our consciousness. We must continue to live with the faith that our God knows the path and when we are willing to allow the Spirit to lead, our challenges will reveal opportunities to rediscover it. Soon we will once again be living the life that we were simply made for, and doing so easily.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Walking Humbly With God

Where is the division between Serving our best interests and serving God’s will?  Our interests can only be beneficial in so much as they are in alignment with our Lord’s will. Then what is God’s will for our life? our Church? our community? our state? our nation? our world?……. At each level this answer is revealed through one simple act, that is the act of Service. True Service is inspired by Spirit and lives for no other reason than to Serve.
 Jesus Christ gave these instructions to his disciples as revealed in Matthew 20: 25-29 25Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
Our society today seems to glorify the climb to the top at the expense of values. The most important of these values are derived from the very book that presents Christ to us. We must not ignore what is written. The teachings of Christ hold many levels of acuity but of one fact we can be certain, he came to Serve ALL of humanity.
The work before us is a challenge but the Servants of the community are abundant. With the lead of the Spirit, our call to give throughout our community will continue to flourish. I can see no pause but the time to break for a crabcake.