Friday, June 13, 2008

We Are Living in the Meantime

I have been reading "The Jesus I Never Knew" by Philip Yancey. This was a required reading from my New Testament class. We were only required to read a portion of the book but it's so good that I have continued to read it. I highly recommend it!

Recently, in reading about the Ascension, my eyes were opened to yet another paradox of the Bible. According to Yancey, we are living in the meantime. This is the centuries long time that we currently live in…the time when God appears to be absent. (How's that for a play on words?) To the contrary, God is not absent at all. He is ever present in the unlikely disguise of the sick, the poor, the hungry, the homeless, and the prisoners. He is the single mom, the elderly in the nursing homes, the grieving daughter, the man dying with cancer, and so many more.

The one thing I found powerfully intriguing is when Yancey writes, "Since we cannot express our love by doing anything to profit God directly, God wants us to do something profitable for the poor, who have been delegated the task of receiving Christian love." ….Amazing Grace.

I found it curious that he used the word "task" when referring to the receiving of Christian love. A task is defined as a definite piece of work assigned to, falling to, or expected of a person; duty. It is also defined as a matter of considerable labor or difficulty. So, according to Yancey, receiving Christian love is a duty of which involves considerable labor or difficulty.

Here's the paradox. In the world we live it makes sense that giving would be the task and receiving would be the blessing, right? But, in the Christian realm, the blessing is the giving and the receiving is the difficult part.

Blessed are the meek, and the poor. I see this in a different light.

It is more blessed to give than to receive. I understand!

To give sacrificially to the poor and needy is to encounter God's presence during the "meantime" while we wait for Christ's triumphant return. To receive is a blessing because the one who is receiving has been delegated that difficult task in order that God's presence might be known. It is an opportunity to allow others to receive the blessing of service to Christ. This sure sheds a new light to the question, "How can a loving God allow suffering?" It is our suffering that draws us to depend on Him. It is through reaching out through the hurting of others that Christians can have a personal encounter with God. Is this the good spoken of in Romans 8:28?

"God has designated the poor to be His receivers." – Philip Yancey

Today's Shot of flavor:

"I tell you the truth, whatever you did for the least of these, you did for me" - Jesus

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Peace Be Still

I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that I am seeking answers for many decisions that I need to make in this life. I am unsure of so many things right now. The only thing I'm really sure of is that God has placed me on this planet to worship Him and to be a witness to His glory so that the lost might come to know Him. It's my responsibility to go into the entire world and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. In the "meantime" I am supposed to trust Him with the plans for my life. All of these things that I am unsure of, He knows the answers for. He has a plan and a purpose that will unfold in His time. So, while I wait…it's imperative that I be still and let go of my concerns…lifting them up to the only One who really knows what to do with them. His burden is light and mine is so heavy. He wants to carry that load for me. So, why is it so hard to let go and trust? Why do I focus on the waves in the storm instead of the peace resting in the bottom of the boat? He alone can speak peace into the chaos of life. In order to have peace, I must rely on the Peace Speaker. I have to stop watching the storm. I have to trust that He already knows the outcome of my circumstances and He is in control of it all.

Today's shot of flavor

Known to God from eternity are all His works. –Acts 15:18

Here's an extra my next post, I will elaborate more on the "meantime"