Tuesday, August 28, 2007

She Meant Well

18 Place these words on your hearts. Get them deep inside you. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder. 19 Teach them to your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning until you fall into bed at night.

Deut 11:18-19 (MSG)

I've been sitting here for the last few minutes praying through our church directory. The people in it are all lined up nice, neat and alphabetical. Most are smiling, and I get to look at how they were on whatever Sunday morning their pictures were taken. Then I balance that snapshot against what I see happening in their lives, and I pray. Hard.

Most any of us can suck it up and look like we have it all together for the length of time it takes to have our picture taken, or the time it takes to "do church." But life invariably requires more of us that that, and we find that some are having trouble we'd never see in a snapshot of time.

As a pastor, my job is as one writer has put it is "to keep the congregation attentive to God".

Way over my head. I need a lot of help. So I pray. A lot. When I talk to my friends who are pastors, they echo the same feelings I have. Just different places, different names. People are people, I guess.

For some people seem determined to do everything else except focus on their walk with Jesus. I know personally what a heartache it is to look back over the course of your life and realize I had taken control and not let God order my days - it breaks my heart to know others are going down that same, well traveled, road.

The man who puts his work ahead of his family.
The woman who does the same.
The teenager or young adult who lets the culture or their friends determine their values and morals.
The parents who push their kids to be involved in every sort of extracurricular activity, even if it conflicts with worship or Bible study.

I know, they mean well.

But I get a horrible picture when I think about the consequences. That of the Greek mother last week whose town was threatened by wild fires. She got her kids together and tried to flee. They were found to have perished together, with her arms around them.

Her home was untouched by the flames.

She made a decision. There's absolutely no way she could have known for sure that her house would have been spared. What she did, even to the last, she did out of love.

She meant well, she just didn't know.

For a Christian, meaning well while in effect denying that your life and day planner has been surrendered to the cause of Christ just won't cut it.

We know better.

Life is a dress rehearsal of sorts to see if we are ready to meet God. We're given everything we need to succeed at it. The very Spirit of God takes up residence in us and gives us all the strength, courage, and wisdom we need - if we will surrender our ordinary days to Jesus.

At the end of our lives, I don't believe we'll be looking back on how many hours we put into that project at work, or how well we did in middle school band, high school chorus, or any of those things that we're valuing over walking with Jesus now.

When we stand in the presence of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, saying "I meant well" just isn't going to work.

Turn it over, all of it, to God. Pick up His plan, His scheme and walk in it. Don't get distracted by those things that ultimately won't matter at all.

Don't just mean well.

Follow Jesus.


David Wilson
Lead pastor, New Hope

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