As we begin this Labor Day weekend, a holiday that signals the end of summer in most places, I am very thankful for everything God has blessed me with. I have a wife who loves me and a job I like. I work with really awesome people and the people I serve are pretty cool too. We have a place to live, food to eat and more than enough clothes to wear. But there are other things that I am blessed with. You are too! Let me share some of them with you today.
Not all of us may be the age we want to be but remember, it is just a number. It is never too early to start something nor is it ever too late. Abraham and Sarah were 100 and 90 respectively the first time they became parents and Jesus was 12 when He went to the temple to have great theological discussions with the learned scholars. Age is just a number and we cannot let that number dictate what we can and cannot do.
We do not like to feel vulnerable. The world has told us that means we are weak. But being vulnerable is not a weakness. It is a strength. When we leave ourselves open to things outside our comfort zone, that is often when God shows up with something amazing. Perhaps we might feel weak at that point, but Paul reminds that when we are at our weakest, Jesus is the strongest. Since we are called to live in Him anyway, what better place to be.
Little acts of kindness, or random acts of kindness are never little. EVER. Because what we might think be small or insignificant may mean the world to someone else. We may not know we have even done something to change another's day until we get up top. That is what Pastor Dick would say...until we get up top.
When we follow Jesus, He asks us to do things sometimes that are hard. Forgiveness is one of those things. Forgiveness is hard work. It means we may have to forgive someone even though they never apologize or show remorse. But forgiveness will set us free. When we have been hurt or wronged it is easy to ignore those feelings or put them away. But that just makes them fester and eventually we are more than miserable. We forgive others so that the hurt, resentment, hate or grief is removed from our lives. That sets us free. And that leads me to the next thing.
The only person we can change is us. We cannot change anyone else. And really, that is a big job in and of itself...changing us. Change is never easy, even when we initiate it. We have to let go of old habits and routines. We might even need to find a new circle of people to hang out with if necessary. Jesus is the master of change. He can change hearts and minds. He has promised we will all be changed...in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. We will receive new bodies, a new name, and new clothes...a white robe. This change sounds pretty good!
Gratitude will change everything. When we look at what we have and can say thank you, that colors how we look at the rest of our lives. If we are content with what we have been given, what a difference that makes. We do not have a need to acquire more than someone else. We are not jealous because someone has more or better. And we can use the money we would have spent on getting more to make a difference someplace in Jesus name.
Paul tells us that our bodies are sacred, the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. Hopefully that affects the way we treat ourselves. We have these bodies to dwell in until we go to our forever home with the Lord. We have eyes to see those in need and ears to listen to those who are hurting. God has asked us to be His hands and feet. The Spirit dwells in us to guide us, lead us and sometimes convict us if we head in the wrong direction. Our bodies are precious because God gave them to us to use to spread the good news...and to bring Him glory.
Fun is underrated. God did not create us only for work and drudgery. He gave us the gift of laughter and a sense of playfulness and even silliness sometimes. We read in the Book of Ecclesiastes that there is a time to laugh and a time to weep. There is a time to mourn and a time to dance. For everything there is a season and a time for everything under heaven.
We love because Christ first loved us. He set the example for how we are called to love. We love one another as He has loved us. We read in 1 Corinthians that love is patient and kind, that faith, hope and love abide...but the greatest of these is love. Love is always the answer. ALWAYS! God so loved the world that He sent His only Son. And in Him we have abundant life now and the promise of eternal life after we leave this place.
And one last reminder. Life is precious. It is short. Time seems to be flying by and once a day is spent, we cannot get it back. If there is something you have always wanted to do, well...there is no time like the present. If we sit and wait for something to happen, we may sit and wait a long time. Don't wait for someone to ask you to do something. Ask them. If you try something and it doesn't work, try something else. Some of us have limits that prevent us from doing everything we would like. Find out what you can do and go for it. Life is precious. Live it now!
In His grip
Pastor Matt W