My poor, longsuffering, Father had no sons…just daughters, so I became the unofficial “son” of the family. I was quite the Tomboy growing up, from breaking bones climbing trees, to driving tractors, to working with livestock…I did it all. Frankly, I preferred being outside working in the fresh air and sunshine, rather than helping Mom in the house. I also really enjoyed working side by side with Dad, listening as he would tell me about how to plant corn, or work on equipment, or doctor the farm animals. Many years later, I may not be the Tomboy I once was, but I wouldn’t trade those precious times with my Dad for anything.
As Paul walked around Athens, he saw thousands of idols and shrines decorating the landscape. He came upon an altar that was designed to appease some unknown god. So when he met with the learned men in the Areopagus, he informed them that he could not only put a name to that particular God, but tell them all about Him. The idolatrous worship they had been taking part in was due to their lack of revelation of this unknown god, and Paul was more than happy to declare to them very plainly everything about Him. The unknown god, was now the Known Lord and Savior.
I have not lived in a part of the USA for a long time that has a lot of thunderstorms, so this past week has been quite an adventure for me! Just about 4PM every afternoon the sky turns dark and the rumbles of thunder roll in…followed by flashes of lightning cutting through the sky in a crazy zigzag pattern. Finally the rain comes in torrents, to end as quickly as it started. I sit outside under a eave, watching God’s handiwork and marveling at the awesome power of a thunderstorm with all its might and force. The Lord’s power shown in the fury of the storm.
The premise is so simple, the impending possible result… eternal. The Lord doesn’t want us doing His job…judging and condemning are His work, not ours. Every time we pass judgment on someone, we take on God’s mantel…which doesn’t fit us at all. Every time we judge, it may make us feel better about ourselves for a moment, but the Lord is grieved for our actions. Let God do His job…judging, and you do yours…forgiving.
As it says elsewhere in I Corinthians,” The Holy Spirit bestows certain gifts to certain people, not the same to all.” The gifts that the Lord gives us are meant to mesh and complement our individual personalities and bents. God uses what we have…not what we wish we had. You might wish that you could sing God’s praise before thousands…but if you don’t have much of a singing voice, I doubt whether the Lord will place you on stage. Our gifts from Him are as individualized as we are.
The Lord knows you intimately…He understands you better than you understand yourself. He knows every deep dark secret in your heart and still loves you. The Lord not only sees everything you do, but keeps count of every step you take. No one knows you better than the Lord…before even a word is out of your mouth He knows it completely. What better person than to put your complete trust in Him today.
Christian love…brotherly love…love for each other. In this fast pace, hectic world we sure could use more of it. In our daily grind, we too often forget that the person behind the checkout, or assisting us with a purchase is also a fellow brother in Christ, and deserving of our love and respect. Practicing brotherly love takes just that…practice. And it takes practicing it in mundane places that makes the most impact for the Lord.
I had the opportunity this morning to visit the Church of my childhood. While the people may have changed some, and they have enlarged the building…in many ways it hasn’t changed at all. The stained glass windows were the same, the pews and lighting unchanged…even the color of the sanctuary was as I remembered. In many ways it was very comforting to see my memories still there, still standing strong, still as I remembered.
Do you know God has an ultimate purpose for your life? Now, before you shake you head and tell me God could never use you…let’s think about it. The Lord used Jonah, even though he said no, and ran as far away as he could from God. The Lord used Rahab the prostitute to hide the Israelite spies in the city of Jericho despite her former life-style. The Lord used Peter, even though he used to stick his foot in his mouth on a regular basis. So see, you’re in good company…God uses everyday people to do unbelievable and unimaginable things. What it takes on your part, is just willingness and obedience to listen to that still small voice inside you.
Our words should be tempered with the love of Christ…our actions showing His character and love. We should be ever grateful and continually honoring our Lord in everything we do and say… everyday…and to everyone we come in contact with.