I Want a Cookie for My Suffering

“Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.'” (Luke 17)

I was having a conversation with a friend the other day, when he brought this passage up. It came to mind during the sermon session last Sunday in Templeton (in an Einstein moment where creativity comes in that half-asleep/half-awake state).

The concept hit him in response to how suffering can become an end, rather than a necessary step in the making of HOPE.

What didn’t cross my infinitesimal mind, was how often we want a cookie for all the suffering we have suffered, and all the hard work life requires. What we don’t tend to understand, is how much suffering and work we have been shielded from, how much the Lord is helping us in each trying moment, and how once we conquer/endure/dodge a difficulty, even more is required of us in the next moment.

Yep, it stays about this bad until it gets worse. Unless, of course, you’re are looking for hope.

“Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of God’s glory. 3 Not only this, but we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance, character, and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5)

But now, O Lord, upon what am I relying? You are my only hope! (Psalm 39)

Hope in the Lord, that more of Him will be revealed in our hearts regardless of outcome, is hope that never disappoints.


We Can Trust God With More Than We Do

Been thinking quite a bit about Paul laying aside his available and righteous justification/defense/reason to do an act of love that he reckoned was better. I’ve wondered how many thousands of times I have neglected a better, higher way to love, in my quest to vindicate myself.

Now, I’ve kept a pretty good record of these neglects on the part of others close to me, and could craft better ways for “them” in retrospect and in future situations (if they would only do it my way). However, in my quest to specify better ways of loving in others, I conveniently and continually overlook ways for me to love better.

I’m reminded of some Scripture along these lines:

Proverbs 19:11
A person’s wisdom makes him slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.

1 Peter 4:7-8
For the culmination of all things is near. So be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of prayer. Above all keep your love for one another fervent, because love covers a multitude of sins.

John 13:34
I give you a new commandment-to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

John 15:13
No one has greater love than this-that one lays down his life for his friends.

But what about their wrongdoing? What do do about the sin?

What about God’s ability to work in your and other’s hearts? What about loving someone into a better state of being? How about trusting Jesus in his death on behalf of those who killed him?

I’m thinking we can trust God with much more than we do, especially in relationships. Especially when hurt and love are hanging in the balance.

Been thinking maybe the Lord is better at this than we are.


You Talkin’ to Me?

How’s about a little sermon preview for Templeton, and rehash for SLO this morning?

We are looking into Acts 21:15 to somewhere in 22. In there, we see Paul doing something he simply did not have to do, but did to accommodate a group of his fellow Jews who believed a rumor about him.

Now, I don’t know about you, but my first reaction to something false said about me is to defend the truth of it all, and set straight those who are fabricating/perpetuating such lies. I also seem to feel responsible for how others interpret my way/words – in spite of my best efforts to be clear, and their responsibility for the filter they use.

But Paul, though very intelligent, a great debater and clearly not at fault in this situation, chose to align himself with the truth by participating in a vow, with some other guys, that was completely unnecessary and opened himself up to confirm the accusations. His allegiance to Jewish laws and traditions were always clear, as was his message of non-Jewish obligation to the Gentiles.

And that’s where this trouble began. Those who were preloaded to have a problem were having a problem. So Paul subjected principles that were readily and non-sinfully at his disposal for a greater, overriding principle. You’ll have to look into it.