Luke 16. Making a Name
Posted by myoikos in #2017 on September 29, 2019
“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’ He said, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house– for I have five brothers–that he may warn them so that they will not also come into this place of torment.’ Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’” [NRSA}
The punch line
“A poor man and a rich man each die one and they meets Abraham in heaven..”
This is how most religious jokes start.
Actually they don’t meet at the pearly gates, they meet across a great Grand Canyon. Lazarus is in the Bosom of Abraham. And the rich man is on the other side roasting in Hades.
- Here is the first punch line, in heaven the man who goes to Abraham is known as the rich man and the poor man is known as Lazarus.
- Here is the second punch line, the man who has everything that he needs here on earth, best to make sure, he not only has the faith that Lazarus has but also desires to care for Lazaruses at the doorway.
For those who have seen the Grand Canyon or even Cloudland Canyon, it is just too far of a distance to reach across and hand someone a drink of water.
The rich man pleads to Abraham to send Lazarus on a mission trip. A mission of mercy to those who are suffering on the other side of the tracks.
One of the great things that go on a missionary travel trip beyond what is familiar to us is that it helps us see more clearly ourselves and our home turf and environment. I have had the opportunity to see extreme poverty in slums of Mexico, desert Peru, the rivers in Brazil, the mountains of Honduras, and rural outskirts of Moscow Russia.
Every trip reveals three things:
- we travel to help others outside our own community because we are blessed in ways our neighbors in these lands cannot.
- We meet people of different cultures who love their children and families, enjoy eating food, drinking water and breathing air.
- It sometimes takes crossing great chasms to see we are closer to Hades than Heaven in our daily lives.
There are great opportunities to serve our neighbors in our community and around the world and we can reach in both directions because we have the honor and responsibility to do both as we wear whatever we choose and eat whatever we like.
- The second punch line is that one fellow waiting to late to realize truly how blessed he was living.
- The first punch line reveals how we make a name for ourselves. Not by being poor necessarily, but when we are poor we can more clearly see what we cannot do for ourselves.
One of the great things that he rich man cannot see is that he is asking the poor man to do something for him, the rich man is asking Lazarus to be his servant.
The rich man has lost sight of caring for Lazarus as his neighbor
He has also forgotten that he is to be a servant himself.
The proof is in the pudding.
Scavenger Hunt > searching in the canned pudding story
The rich man asks on behalf of his family.
Abraham’s reply is that you didn’t listen, you didn’t serve, you didn’t believe, neither will they.
The proof is ultimately in our willingness to trust God over the world, wealth and self.
Of course, we have the privilege of hearing Jesus tell this story to disciples like ourselves.
The final punch line is that even though we have 2000 addition years of proof some of us are no closer to god in these days of great division.
Are you on the correct side of the great divide?
There is some assumption about Lazarus feeling snuggly satisfied that the selfish rich man got what was coming to him, but the truth in this story that Lazarus has nothing to say, no comment nor commentary.
- The only one making excuses
- The only one taking and suggesting
- The only one scrambling when that train has gone
- Is the rich man
The man with no name, no hope, no humility, no judgment, no shame, no chance
Is the one on the uncomfortable side of the chasm.
<side note about those folks who ask if their will be Jews in Heaven, ask Abraham>
So what do we do with this parable?
Every parable teaches us about the kingdom of God. If we back up a few verses in Chapter Lk 16:15 “So he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of others, but God knows your hearts; for what is prized by human beings is an abomination in the sight of God.” That is a powerful, powerful declaration.
What is an abomination in the sight of God?
“You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of others, but God knows your hearts; for what is prized by human beings…
- A cup of cool water
- Scraps out of our abundance
- Recognizing we are called to serve nor be serve
- Recognizing there are opportunities at our doorstep and around the world
- Recognizing there is an urgency to serve today, for tomorrow is not promised
What is promised is a place of wholeness and rest in the bison of Abraham in the grace of Christ in the breath of the Holy Spirit and the heart to God.
Just two weeks ago I asked if you were willing to step up and reach someone who is lost 18 of us said yes.
There is a chasm Andre wonder why our church faces a chasm
Why attendance is a conversation
Why money is tight
- If you are ready to offer that cool water to me who thirsts for Christ
- If you are ready to serve the one who you’d expect to serve you
- If you are ready with an assurance that God will save you, bless you, guide and fulfill you.. then get it there and love like Lazarus.
1 Timothy 2:1-7 “Right Time”
Posted by myoikos in #2019, #2mileneighbors, Boldness, Goodness, Relationship, Wisdom, Worship on September 22, 2019
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself a ransom for all–this was attested at the right time.For this I was appointed a herald and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. [NRSA]
The Right Time for Christ
We live in an era where the perceived acceptable times:
- to speak of Christ or
- to give witness of Christ or
- to worship is limited to a handful of moments, locations and circumstances.
1. This is evidence and witness that there are those in the world works against us
2. This witness that we have listen to the powers and voices of our society and affirmed that our voice is second to others
3. This example shows that when pressed we as a whole are more comfortable clamming up, acquiescing the message of Christ.
Q: So a question is: When is the Right Time for Christ?
From the text, in history, God chose a specific season in human history to reveal covenants, commandments, and challenges.
In the specific time in history, God chose to be revealed not in words and idea, not in law and rules, but as person inviting relationship.
Paul’s words to the youthful pastor and church leader-in-training to see that God continues to have specific moments for showing the world,
1. what the world needs to know and experience and
2. what the faithful followers need to know and experience.
We are clear that God calls us to know and experience God’s power, teaching, presence, and guidance in dependable ways:
- Private groups – study groups, fellowship groups, gathering to learn and share
- through actions of service
We come to recognize that there are some places that it seems less appropriate to live peaceably with our non-believing, non-agreeing neighbors:
- Not work or school
- Not social media or
- Not with strangers in a public place
This is the grey zone that gets us in trouble.
There ARE times that we are called to be prophets and to call out the king/leader
There ARE times we take the political platforms to make clear God’s word.
There are times we interrupt social comforts and cross boundaries so that those who do not know and trust God know God’s word, will and expectations for all humanity.
The majority in the church, and even in our church, is quick to let
someone else be a prophet
Someone else speaks the uncomfortable,
Someone else feeds, clothe, comfort, correct
There are times that we called to speak clearly what the world, the congregation, and the whole church needs to hear.
In order to do this we have to follow and trust the example Paul gives to Timothy carefully:
This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
In all times, God desires for EVERYONE to come to the knowledge of the truth.
- When the world twists the truth.
- When people trust the power of wealth
- When people are blind the plans of those who call for kindness, goodness, and peace, but don’t have the goal of what is right and acceptable in God’s sight as the agenda.
Bottom line: if someone is NOT promoting what is right and good in God’s sight, they are promoting something or someone other than God. This is one of the lines in the sand that become a defining moment.
If someone speaks of unity and community but it is not a gathering in the heart of God and is empty of God… this is not something we can stand back and accept.
If someone is speaking of fairness without justice
If someone is offering that the only authority is Government and not see that authority as entrusted by God, then we are misplacing our trust.
If someone is calling a lie, the truth because the majority of people agree, does not make something true.
Every generation struggles with authority, wealth, leaders, nations and wars, greed, poverty and worse..
BUT we now living in a world that is more populated, more divided, more selfish, more controlled by evil and apathy than any other time.
Some will say, it’s not that bad or
Others will say, it’s not worse
Others will say, I’m will bury my talents and head in the sand.
Others will speak up for the truth of God.
- AM I compromising God’s call upon my life?
- AM I watering down God’s authority in exchange for what I am comfortable managing or accepting?
- AM I ready to devote my talents, times, skills, dreams, family, resources on the heart of God over the values and powers of the world?
If we are not ready to consider these questions then we have already answered them!!
Christ was revealed at a certain time.
- We are living in a time that the church is being outnumbered by others faith,
- made irrelevant by those without faith,
- and our authority challenged by our inaction
As we prepare to be the church in the new decade and for the next 200+ years, what are we doing today, individually and collectively to make ready the GOD’s visions, God’s plan, God’s goodness, God’s will is revealed in THIS time?
The right time for shaping the future is THIS morning, this year, this moment.
Here is our call to accountability that we share with Timothy in his time.
The church was being born and shape for us now by the faith of Timothy and his congregation then.
Q: How are we seeking to make clear the heart of God in what we are doing this morning — stop fear, complaints, blame…
Q: How are we making bold the vision of God for our church
How are we bring the goodness of God’s authority within the grasp of those who are hungry, thirsting, wandering and running 180 degrees away from God?
It is an interesting statement Paul gives to Tim and the churches then, “I’m not lying.”
Usually when some will say, “now pastor, preach I’m going to tell you the truth.” Does that mean they usually don’t tell the truth but this time I’m going to speak truthfully
Is there a right time to be quiet and allow the society and the leaders lead so that we may live peacefully with those who oppose us, but there are right times that we boldly speak the truth of Christ.
This time for us to begin to more clear and intentional about speaking the truth in the world that will sell a lie, greed, fear IN the name of GOODNESS but without the heart of God’s.
The “I’m not lying” is an affirmation of the timeliness to be
- and Devoted to God who loves, saves and empowers us to lover
- our family, AND
- our neighbors, AND
- our enemy, AND
- the stranger
- SO THAT everyone, EVERYONE may find the heart of God!!
Luke 15:1-10. Rejoice in Finding the Lost
Posted by myoikos in #2019, #2mileneighbors, #belonging, #reachingthelostwithchriet, celebration, connection, Disicpleship, Fellowship on September 15, 2019
Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So he told them this parable: “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. “Or what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, “Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” [NRSA]
- Finding lost money. I put on a suit coat to see if it still fit and found a $20 bill in the pocket. Let’s go out to lunch?
- I found a $100 dollar bill at the mall at Christmas time. We asked at five shops and two dozen people to see if anyone lost money. No one claimed the $100. We went to the toys story and spent the whole amount to give to angel-tree family for Christmas.
- We found Susanna sitting inside a clothes rack watching Barney in the children’s department in Belk’s and took her to celebrate y eating ice cream. She had not run off we walked away from her and didn’t know she had stayed.
- We have caution our children to hang on to their tickets stubs at ball games so that if they became lost they could use the tickets to find our seats.
These are a taste of being lost, but invite you to see from the eyes of those who are lost from the heart of God, but I ask you to step into the world of true emptiness and the hopeless of being lost.
We phrase this as loosing our way, loosing our mind, loosing our place, loosing out perspective, and even loosing our dreams, hope and purpose.
This is the lostness that we visit today.
First we must own up that all of us are lost without a relationship with God. God who loves us, formed us, fills us with breath and spirit, the one who long’s for us to find our purpose, peace, strength and wholeness in a relationship, with God and with one another.
When we are truthful about our hearts, our family, our own inner and personal self, we know what it feels like to be lost:
Asking the congregation …
We can spend a lifetime blaming and excusing ourselves, but it is more important to recognize our state of being lost and seek to find our way or to make us easier to be found
Once on a scout camping trip we spread out our troop throughout the woods moving each campers lean-to just at the edge of being in sight of the next, maybe 200-300 yards apart. When the sun rose, some wrestles camper awoke and made their way bake to the base camp. The last camp slept a bit later, got turned around and walked the opposite direction of the camp. Two hours later we found his sleeping bag and gear by the road, but he was nowhere in sight. Two more hours passed with Forrest service persons, sherif and ems searchers we got word that he had hitch hiked a ride home and was asleep in bed. It had a good ending but it helped us realize how quickly someone becomes lost.
The ease of sneaking a few beers, coolness of vaping, the curiosity of marijuana, the high of meth, the addiction of heroine, the deadliness of fentinyal. It’s a slippery slope that everyone who starts down a path believes they can handle and avoid what everyone else fallen victim.
How many families, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and other we know who find themselves lost in addiction. Again we can focus on blame and excusing but the transformation come in becoming “found”.
In Jesus’s parable, a sheep my happen to find its way home, but it is 99% more likely to be found when those who have the perspective of compassion, hope, and access to salvation go out to the one lost and bring them home.
In the parable a lost coin could never find its way home, it is because of the diligence of those who search that the lost are found.
Jesus’s parable is calling us picture the joy of helping someone find their purpose, hope, strength, perspective, healing, restoration, new life..
Samuel Bangura of Sierra Leone. Lost, alcohol and failure, lead him accross the Atlantic, down the east coast and to the streets of Atlanta, we welcomed him to dinner, to buy clothes, to spend Christmas Eve night and to share in the family Christmas celebration and his love blossomed and he gather a freight container of clothes and he returned to SL to start an orphanage and school, loving and dying to save children in a warming homeland. It started with a conversation, a meal, a sleep over, worship, bible study, mission project, to transforming hundreds of others.
Recapping, there are none of us who escape feeling and experience being lost at times.
We know the joy of being found, helped, restored and
We have the ability to offer that gift to others
The problem: many times folks don’t think they are lost, the say we are
Many time folks don’t see another way of hope or happiness their what they have committed to
a. The task of reaching out is about our offering
B. Making the risk of trying
C. Our task is not to wait until someone comes to us but to go to those who are lost
D. Ultimately we offer the compassion, strength and hope of Christ, in tangible ways and let God work through us.
NOTE: One crazy thing is that for some you may not be the person someone will listen to, but you can connect them with others that might.
Out job is to avoid neglecting the lost
2. In Jesus’s parable he risks leaving those who know his voice and the comfort of the green pastures and the still waters and the shade of the tree and going out to ONE who is lost.
Our denomination is struggling. Over forty years we have dodge around the gender identity issues and focused on policies and politics. When we have been called to offer the saving, loving, restoring power of Jesus Christ to all persons.
As a denomination we have lost our way. About a month ago, Scott and I looked at the attendance and membership data of 40 churches in the North Georgia and in to Chattanooga and of those congregations 1 church has held steady, one started a second worship service Ana has reported some growth, but small, medium and large church have decreased in participation. Again we can dwell upon the blame and excuses, but until we return to our neighbors who are lost we will continue to be less of the church we are called to be.
We are all called to help restore others
3. This message is directed to disciples, Pharisees, teachers, agents of the government and all the other sinners.
If you are happy and celebrate when you find lost money or a runaway animal, how much more wonderful it is when we go out to search for our neighbors who are hurting, broken, empty, lonely, grieving, struggling, and worse.
Being the Faithful vs. fixing the problems
4. The charge is to bring persons into the fellowship of belonging, growing, worshiping and maturing in faith and not necessarily what the lost person is asking as help. “If you truly loved me then you would pay my bills, give me a house and car and job and not expect anything of me…” but this is never true.
To be found is to be found, to belong, to be joined as family, restored to the collection, part of the fold.
I look forward to hearing about your celebration of God working through you!
At Home with God
Posted by myoikos in #2019, Praise on September 7, 2019
You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you. [NRSA]
- The Peace of God’s Presence
- The Protection of God’s Presence
- The Power of God’s Presence
How to find God when we are lost?
“Be Still and Know I am God.” Psalm 46:10
1. Begin the day with praise and prayer.
Then pour out your heart and tell God about all the things going on in your life and lay them at the feet of Jesus. Picture yourself physically taking one burden after another, placing them into God’s hands, and letting them lay there. The act of giving ourselves to God is a life long practice of :
- a. knowing God is able, willing and desires our burdens and fears
- b. yielding our power to God’s loving grace
- c. practicing humility with our most personal struggles.
2. Meditate on a passage.
When I have a hard time quieting my mind, I like to meditate on Psalm 46:10:
“He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’”
Focus on one word at a time, letting your mind rest on that one word for a few seconds before moving on to the next word. Here are a few other passages to start:
- Psalm 23, The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want.
- Romans 5:8, While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
- 2 Corinthians 5:21, God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
- Psalm 103:13-14. Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name…
3. Mental Pictures and Visions.
Imagine God seated on His throne, using passages like Revelation 4-6 to shape our minds-eye, our imagination.
“At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne,”Revelation 4:2-3.
Can you picture that? Continue reading. Imagine God high and lifted up, I kneel down and bow my face to the ground, picturing myself in the heavenly throne room, joining the angels and the elders in singing “Holy, Holy, Holy” and then being still in His presence.
Imagine your self crawling into Abba Father’s lap and laying your head on God’s shoulder, much like a two-year-old does when she/he just needs a hug.
4. Write out distracting thoughts.
Sometimes, when I’m trying to quiet down my mind, I start to remember all sorts of things like birthday gift ideas, spring cleaning tasks, and meal plans. If that happens to you, grab a pen, write it down, and then return your attention to the Lord. Release those distracting thoughts, knowing you can come back to them later.
5. Recite a prayer of stillness.
Ask God to help calm your mind like Jesus calmed the storming sea. This can even be an imaginative prayer: Your thoughts are the waves that Jesus commands to be calm. Acknowledge your racing thoughts and ask the Holy Spirit to rule over them and help your mind rest in His presence.
6. Be physically still. Start small. Breathe Deeply
Begin with 30 seconds or a minute of stillness. And while 30 seconds may not seem like much, as you begin to incorporate this practice of stillness into your spiritual life, you’ll find it gets easier as the years go by. Then build up to 5 or 10 minutes. It’s in this place of communion with God that we quiet ourselves enough to hear what the Spirit wants to say to us.
7. Stillness isn’t always quiet, clean, nor neat.
Sharing Our Weeping and Wailing.
Do you know that, oftentimes, our stillness comes after the emotional dam finally breaks? I have no idea why, but it’s usually necessary to lose it before the process of healing begins. You can trust God with your deepest pain. Through it, He will lead you deeper into stillness.”
Encouraging and Allow Others the Time and Space for Peace in God.
We cannot force peace, it must be found in God.
#athomewithGod, #rest, #rsumc, peace, Trust
Hebrews 13:12-16 Three Rules: Refresher
Posted by myoikos in #2019, #2mileneighbors, #accountability, #Spiritualshape, #threerules, #threetools, 5 Practices, Church, Spiritual on September 1, 2019
Therefore Jesus also suffered outside the city gate in order to sanctify the people by his own blood. Let us then go to him outside the camp and bear the abuse he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we are looking for the city that is to come. Through him, then, let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. [NRSA]
John Wesley’s “Three Rules” are 1) Do no harm, 2) Do all the good that you can. and 3) Continue to grow Spiritually by practicing piety.
Wesley offers these three rules from the perspective of living as Sanctified people who are always moving toward Christian Perfections, which is our wholeness in God.
Therefore the rules are the guide for growing into the people God has hoped and dreamed we would become through Christ.
The reality is that we have conflicts and problems with the three rules.
- We don’t always avoid doing what is harmful, sinful or evil.
- We don’t always do what is good for God and others, much less ourselves.
- And we are spastic in prating our spiritual maturity, as we generally believe we have figured enough out to get by until we have crises we can’t handle.
All this affirms that we don’t fully understand the three rules as helpful tools. As simple rules, there are ideas for us to think about in our head. I offer the tool bag instead. Wesley’s three simple tools.
The first tool is the hammer. It is weighted, purposeful and designed to be used to construct when used properly. It is to strike metal nails and not fingernails. When you hit your finger, it not only cause you to take the Lord’s name in vain or at least shout our in pain, it leaves a bruise or it might take off the fingernail or open the skin for infection on top of the pain and soreness.
No one would willfully hit their thumb, but it happens. No one would strike another person with a hammer but it happens. The heavy hammers in tired and sweaty hands might drop and injure a toe, a co-worker or cause damage to the building project.
The hammer has the ability to do good or harm. Don’t intend harm with a tool number one.
Parenting. As a parent I know that sometimes setting a limit, pointing our an error, or protecting a child or the family from harm means saying “No.”, setting boundaries, and even providing a measure to shape attitudes and behaviors. From the child’s point of view, they might feel they have been harmed. So doing no harm would actually be doing harm. The perspective and intent determine when our actions and attitudes are harmful.
- People will say “the church didn’t love me, because they didn’t approve of my sin.” We address sin so that we can, “go and sin no more.”
- They didn’t give me money to they don’t show the love of Jesus, “They are all hypocrites.” We are not perfect, but loving is not always pleasing.
- I didn’t get my way, so the church harmed me.
… in these, we take the tool of “Do no harm” and use it as a weapon rather than a tool for constructing that which is good for God, others and ourselves.
Perspective and intent are what the first rule/tool is all about.
Clarified: Do No Harm is: in all we do, don’t intend to reject, don’t plan to harm, don’t let anger, fear, disappointment guide your thoughts and actions.
Tool number two: The Spoon
“Do all the Good that you can.” This is one is where the church may find its greatest threat. We assume this rule set the highest demand that we always do good. We learn from the first rule that what is good is not determined by what others ask of us, nor is it the good that we define. Goodness is defined by God, for God’s purposes.
A spoon is a great tool. It can be used to feed ourselves or someone else. It allows us to gather bite-sized portions and deliver something that is good or evil.
You know the saying, “He can dish it, but he can’t take it.” We want Good to come to us. This second tool is like the basic lesson of loving one’s neighbor, “Love your neighbor like you would like for your neighbor to love you, whether your neighbor loves you or not.
The spoon carries a portion of something that is unconditional. We can hardly do good for those we know and love; when it comes to loving those who are different or showing Goodness to our enemies, rivals and those narrow-minded knuckleheads would don’t think as we do.. The temptation is to avoid them, appease them or draw our line of goodness in the sand stand before them and God knowing we have done our part.
The power part of the spoon is that offers a controlled portion. My doctor said to me, “if you eat a spoon of ice cream, you are doing ok, if your portion is the whole container, you are way out of bounds.”
Don’t become overwhelmed with doing everything well, all at once, all the time. When we have the commandment to show Goodness and we fail or fall short, we get overwhelmed.
The constructive use of a spoon is that with one portion we can take the next step of turning around a past of doing harm, doing evil and being broken in sin. One spoonful of good does not equal all the injustice and brokenness we create, but with one act of doing Good transforms the direction of our faithfulness. The more spoons of Goodness we share the closer we move toward God and all the people of God’s work.
Clarification: When we do what is Good, we are taking small bites of doing things God’s way.
The third tool is a treadmill. Practice your piety, growing in Christian fellowship and maturing your Spiritual self with God, others and ourselves.
NO!! Not the treadmill! Everyone knows what the treadmill is for. Walking, running, exercise. How many people have purchased a treadmill or other exercise equipment as a yard sale, only to later sell the same machine at another yard sale?
The good use of the treadmill is not as a place to hang clothes or store boxes of junk. The ownership of a treadmill offers no health benefit unless we use it.
Even a basic treadmill has some measurements. Time, distance, difficulty and measure of work accomplished.
The appropriate use of such a device is to use it, daily. The third rule is best used in the third tool.
Think of all the wonderful things we can do to strengthen our relationship with God, our neighbor, and our enemies that don’t require elevating your heart rate!!
- Witnessing, and
- Sharing in fellowship with other Christians.
Think of how practicing these spiritual exercises will build spiritual muscle for when we are dealing with rule ONE and TWO.
Three Tools: A Hammer, a Spoon, and a Treadmill
Be intentional about building God’s kingdom and not simply avoiding harm.
Be repetitive in a diet of doing Good, one bite at a time
Be renewed and growing practicing on Spirit on God’s treadmills