Jesus, Sermon in the Mount, Prayer, Golden Rule,
I like my local garage. They are reasonably-priced, friendly and flexible. However, neither they nor VW themselves could find a part needed to fix my Golf’s speedo cable. Research on eBay led me to the item in the picture. Ordered on Friday, delivered on Saturday and fitted on Monday. Result.
Solutions are not always in the hands of one specialist. We need many sources for our many challenges in the Christian life. Without doubt it is true that, “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24 NIV). We need to be sure we do not just have a chattering crowd around us, but people who stick with us through thick and thin.
On the other hand it is possible to focus on one person at the exclusion of all others in a way that limits our growth. As another proverb says, “for waging war you need guidance, and for victory many advisers.” (Proverbs 24:6 NIV). When one person cannot help or, worse, offers advice beyond their experience we can feel let down and even bitter. But when we acknowledge that all of us are limited and find other people to help, then new air is breathed into the special relationships. It takes the pressure off.
Do you have a body of trusted advisors? Years ago I read an article that significantly influenced my thinking. The author suggested we all need a Paul, a Barnabas and a Timothy in our lives. Someone to call us higher, someone to be our best buddy, and someone to train. I’d say we need all three, and maybe more. You won’t find them on eBay, but they are out there!
I had a terrific weekend in Manchester. The sun shone, Man U won and church was fun. I felt special. Old friends slapped me on the back, I found a box of chocolates on my pillow, and food was brought to me at regular intervals. I think I’ll come back again. I also learned something about feeling special.
The Soboyejo family welcomed us to church this morning, and their older son led a prayer. They spoke of a recent holiday abroad. Lo and behold if a family from our congregation in London was not in the same resort. They recognised one another from a father-and-son retreat. As it happens the other family had a timeshare apartment and had “VIP” status on the resort. The Soboyejo family were able to take part in all the sports, leisure facilities, spa treatments and other activities – for free! How grateful they were to their friends. But even more so because it was unexpected.
Their point in sharing this story was to remind us that we are all VIPs as far as God is concerned. We may not deserve it, but that is how God decides to treat us. Peter says we are “God’s special possession” (1 Peter 2:9 NIV11-GK). What does this mean and how can we keep that feeling? Here are three ideas,
Do you feel like a VIP to God? It is a privilege and not deserved, but it is real. The less entitled I feel, the more I enjoy the ride of the Christian life. Just as the Soboyejos did not expect to be treated like VIPs, it comes as a great surprise and an even greater joy to be chosen by God.
We are fans of freecycle. What is freecycle, and how does it work? You give stuff away you don’t want and pick up stuff other people do not want – for free. Our son’s bed is broken and we are planning to move house, so did not want to buy a bed that might not fit in the new home. Solution? Source a freecycle bed.
What you need to know is that my wife has a special hot-line to God. Just about anything she prays for she gets (for a fee she will pray for whatever you want – just kidding). She prayed, searched freecycle and turned up a fabulous Lewis’ sofabed only walking distance from our house. We popped over on Monday night to pick it up, but then the adventure began.
First – it would not fit in the car. No arrangement of bungees, seats or doors worked. Second – it was too heavy to carry. Third – the weather was freezing! I zipped home to get a piano mover from the shed. Of course it was at the far back corner of the shed buried under boxes, compost and rat poison.
I drove the car home with the cushions in the back. My son and wife balanced the sofa on its end on the piano mover and wheeled it up the street. The squeaky wheels caused many a curtain to twitch. By the time we got the sofabed into the house I was grumpy. Very grumpy.
What is it that makes us grumpy when we have so many free and wonderful things to enjoy and be grateful for? Let’s take a short lesson from the 12 men Moses sent into Canaan and the reaction of the Israelites. What was the land like? “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit.” (Numbers 13:27 NIV). A beautiful and fruitful land. But ….
|The Library at Ephesus|
The car insurance was up for renewal yesterday. Nice surprise – the renewal was less than last year’s premium (thank you, Aviva). Every year I have paid more. Reversing the spiral of higher renewals is a relief.
Much time and energy is spent attempting to reverse the loss of hair, the recession, the weight gain. When successful, reversing a bad trend brings great joy. How can we reverse when we’re in a spiritual rut? Here are three ideas:
So there you have it. Three steps to a rut-less life. Do you need to act on one or all three today? It is vital to our spiritual survival to go through this process from time to time, “If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” (Revelation 2:5 NIV11-GK)