Thanks for stopping by, whether you got here by a link or hitting "next blog" -- I am glad you are here. I've also done some writing on homeschooling, and what I learned thinking I was teaching.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Winter Grace – Try Harder, OK?

The cold weather blew in the last night of the session – dropping the comfortable Texas temperatures to the low teens. Stepping out into the bracing breezes, I wondered about all that I had heard in the worship services – what am I supposed to do next?  Their theme was Deep into the Heart -- Wide into the World. Dr. Tim Keller and Fernando Ortega guided three worship services that addressed who we are – that is the church; how Christians integrate our faith and our work; and, what do our words look like in action.   (Link to the three sessions)

What I took away was, quit whining about how hard, scary, or unfair life is and make myself useful – be a part of the church, and lavish my time, talents, and resources on the poor.  The message to me, as part of the body of Christ, was: Give, not just to relieve the sufferings of the poor – but to empower them to rise above their circumstances. (Deuteronomy 4:5-8, 15:1-15) We have the position – a royal priesthood; the wherewithal – all kinds of jobs in which we may serve others while earning our keep; and we have a mandate that transcends Bible times.


Whew -- This is a tough message to hear in the times in which we live – my fear of running out of money, health, wisdom, or even time itself,  frequently sidelines me. That, and plain old, garden-variety selfishness. (Luke 12:15-21)

Dr. Keller wasn’t waging a new war on poverty. The church can’t change the world, Dr. Keller said, carefully; we will have the poor among us.  But, we can make disciples who can do some changing, and who will serve the poor, do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with our God.  (Micah 6:8) Our giving -- time, resources, love and prayers -- must be abundant, for who of us can say we pulled ourselves out of our problems by our bootstraps? 

Suddenly, Dr. Keller’s decidedly low-key confrontation of the self-absorption that can consume me, made me think of a question the pastor asked the previous Sunday. If my faith sounded forth as a song, how would my kids describe the song of my life? 

Hmmmmmm.  I am not sure astonishing generosity to the poor would be its title or refrain.   

Walking out into the cold, reflecting on what I have withheld more often than given, Bible passages, exhortations, gently unyielding, and music blew around my brain:    
Do I hear you professing to believe in the one and only God, but then observe you complacently sitting back as if you had done something wonderful? . . . Do you suppose for a minute that you can cut faith and works in two and not end up with a corpse on your hands? (James 2, The Message)

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

I think I’ll take hold of the gift that time is – remembering I really can’t out give God. But I could sure try harder.  

This good day – it is a gift for me! Once more, Sing with me!

If rainclouds come, or cold winds blow –
You’re the one that goes before me,
                  and in my heart I know -- 
This good day, it is a gift from You;
The world is turning in its place because You made it to . . .
I lift my voice to sing a song of praise for this good day. *

*Fernando Ortega

No comments: