Thursday, January 26, 2017

In Public or In Private; Speaking the Truth

We are not responsible for the behavior of others or their response to the truth in love we speak.

When we know we have done our part, in love, no matter how uncomfortable the situation may become, having done all, we are to stand. (Ephesians 6:13 and forward)

A recent public encounter:

I had been overcharged for product and would like to be refunded the excess amount. Speaking the truth in love, I was kind, polite and requested the error be corrected.  I was not rude or degrading to the cashier.  I also turned to the two people in line behind me and apologized for the delay.
Each response was different:

The cashier was flustered; she required further instruction to move forward with my request.  I had to remind her to please find a manager to handle the request if she were unable.

The first person in line behind me received my apology with grace.  She then waited patiently after affirming she would do the same if it were her who had been overcharged; she came into agreement with me and experienced the peace of God that passes all understanding.

The second person in line chose to be rude, bullying and overbearing.  Focused only on his own selfish need and want, he had no time for anyone else and wanted only that everyone else get out of his way.  He experienced frustration and anger.  It didn’t shorten his wait time or get him any sympathy from anyone.

The manager who finally responded to the cashiers request for assistance was either new or incompetent.  In any case it was obvious she didn’t know how to execute a refund for an overcharge.  Although I quietly suggested she void the initial transaction and simply re-ring my purchase correctly, she chose to ignore the suggestion.   

Instead of sharing her solution with us, thereby easing nerves and tension, she contributed to increased tension by fumbling about, failing to explain what she was doing, taking too long to do it and behaving with indecision.  Then she simply appeared to give up and without a word to any of us, she walked away without explanation.

Oh this is such a picture of the chaos and turmoil the Body of Christ suffers too often in this overly “politically correct” culture we find ourselves attempting to function in!

1 Thessalonians 2:1 -12
In Apostle Paul’s day it was no different.  He had to deal with many responses to his delivery of the word of God.  Some received it with gladness and were blessed, like the woman in line directly behind me.

Others had stone hearts and suffered because of that, while blaming Apostle Paul, so they lashed out at him in anger.

Still others, who were leaders in their communities, were stumped as to how to react to the truth of God being shared.  After trying to wrangle the truth to make it fit into their theology, they just gave up and walked away.  They refused to accept the truth or allow change into their hearts.

We who call ourselves Christian continue to have the same mandate as the first century believers. 

  • To be witnesses to Christ (Acts 1:8)
  • to preach the gospel, instant in season and out of season (2Timothy 4:2)
  • to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) as mature Christians so the light of Christ is shining for all to see; and hopefully to respond positively to!

Whether we are sharing the message of Hope, sharing a gospel truth or simply speaking truth in a given situation during the course of living our everyday lives such as the one I've described above, we should treat them all the same.  Speaking the truth in love.  Being in public, private or in a church setting should not change our behavior.
In this current cultural climate, we desperately need to be encouraged and reminded as Joshua was reminded and encouraged (Joshua 1:9)

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage, do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you WHEREVER you go!"

Friday, January 6, 2017

What would you do if today was your LAST DAY?

I thought about some advice I recently saw on one of those Facebook meme’s, and at first glance, it was such a nice sentiment.


Then I realized how impossible that would be.
If I knew today was my last day, what would be the most important things to me?  What would I want to do with my last 24 hours?

These things certainly wouldn’t make the list:
Clean the house
Do laundry
Pay bills
Go to work

For that one day and maybe even 2 days or a week even, it would be okay.  But can you imagine what would happen if I lived everyday like that?

My house would be filthy – and I’d be there to live in that filthy mess!  I wouldn’t like that at all.  I especially wouldn’t like anyone else to come to my home and discover such a pigpen!

My bills would all be late which would hurt my credit and eventually all my utilities would be shut off.  Which would probably be okay since I wouldn’t have the money to pay them anyway, as I stopped going to work.

What would I do with my days instead?
It’s my last 24 hours – I’d want to:

What?  What would we REALLY do with them if we knew absolutely these were our last 24 hours to live and breathe on this earth?

The reality is, we ought to live like any moment could be our last, but not to the exclusion of the things that simply must be taken care of in the event tomorrow is going to come.

I was reading through the Gospels again recently, and one of the things that really stuck out this time through was how Jesus managed to get all the mundane, daily things done that needed to be done, but also took care of the really important stuff, too.

He did those things in the midst of doing the daily chores.  

He did the daily chores in the midst of doing the miracles.

He miraculously fed over 5000 people with just 2 loaves of bread and 3 fish while taking care of the daily task of preparing lunch.

He ministered to a truly hurting woman who stood accused by those wanting to put her to death during the course of His job as a teacher.

While house cleaning He swept His Fathers temple clear of money changers and other assorted vermin.   

Because He lived each day with the right mindset and attitude a woman who had been very ill for 12 years was able to benefit from a momentary, fleeting encounter with Him while he was en route to another appointment in the course of His day.

Watching Him, his disciples learned that they too could go about their daily lives, making a living, cleaning their homes, doing their chores, in such a deliberate fashion that allowed the Holy Spirit to work through them to touch the lives of others in meaningful ways that would have eternal consequences.

Whether catching fish, collecting taxes or cooking meals they could affect change in the world around them by effecting the people around them with righteous attitudes and faith behaviors while executing the ordinary chores of their daily lives.  Just like Jesus did.  Just like we can.

Colossians 3:22-24
Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God;
 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

Who knew the daily grind could be so exciting and productive?  How might you go about your daily life, taking care of those necessary chores, while also living deliberately to accomplish "The List" Jesus instructed His followers to complete?

What ways are you living out your Christian faith while going about daily tasks?  Share your examples below!