Monday, September 13, 2010
~ "Once upon a time..."
And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. (2 Tim 2:24)
When I chose this verse, my aim was towards children. God had another plan. I did not realize the date of today's message until I began to type the title. Once again, it is HIS message, not mine.
When I read the verse this morning, my thoughts went immediately to 1 Corinthians 13 (Love is patient, love is kind...). This verse is a little more instructive as to how to be all those things in 1 Corinthians 13. Matthew Henry writes: "The more we follow that which is good, the faster and the further we shall flee from that which is evil."
Resentment, hatefulness, bickering, fighting, arguing - all Satan's tools. "How do I not fight, not argue, not be resentful?" I'm still working on that! I've been told that I have an "abrasive" personality. I don't mean to come across that way and I will chalk it up to it being a "Jersey thing". When I examine what is in my heart, I must admit that I can, in fact, be a bit stern and strict with my tongue (just ask any of my kids). I know there are better ways to get my point across without being short (not in stature). I have never been known for sugar coating anything - it is what it is! I expect people to accept me the way that I am with the declaration "that's just me", yet I am not always willing to accept others as they are. I want them to change immediately into who I want them to be and to do it my way. Not going to happen.
What difference does it make how you get from point "a" to point "b"? The goal is to get there! We all have one thing in common - we believe in God, we believe that Jesus came to free us from sin by the shedding of his blood. Some of us choose to take the "scenic" route on our journey towards God - some of us take the "freeway", some of us take "toll roads" (yes, that would be me) and some of us take the "interstate". The journey we take has heartache, destruction, construction, but it also has some joy, peace and love. When I look back at my road, I see many of these obstacles - I can point them out with perfect clarity. I can identify which ones led to the devastation of my marriage, the separation from my family and friends and the isolation I am surrounded by. But I can also identify the joys and loves I've experienced with that same intensity. I could sit and ponder the "what if's" and dream of what life would have been like had the unsettling events been smoother, but it will not change them.
We have a choice today. We have a choice to be less critical of others, to be more loving towards friends, family, co-workers and strangers. We can teach others to love Jesus by loving him in them and not feeling sorry for ourselves for what we don't have. God gives us all we need! If it's his will, it will be done, no question about it! Focus on being the teacher to those around you and at the end of the day, there will be a bright, shiny apple sitting on your desk! Be the teacher God wants you to be - teach with your heart!
(photo taken September 13, 1987)