30 October 2014

What About the Most of These?

We should all be familiar with Jesus' parable of the sheep and the goats (Mt 25/30-46). It is there we find two passages about how we treat the powerless and downtrodden.
  1. "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." (v, 40)
  2. "Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me." (v. 45)
Jesus of course was referring to a common tendency to treat the rich, the powerful, the admired, the famous, the respected people well and to look down upon the less fortunate.

But what about the people on the other end of the spectrum? How are we to treat them? Some people flip it around, showing compassion- even admiration- for those with little while heaping disdain (if not hatred) on those judged to be well off.

The reality is that God made us all in his image. Rich and poor, male and female, every ethnicity, every walk of life, whatever the difference, we are made in his image. We should show no more, and no less, honor and love for the rich than the poor, the poor than the rich. Until we truly see all men and women as equal, we are not living up to who we are- to who we were created to be, to who Christ died for us to be.

Love God with every fiber of your being.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

Every last one of them.

26 August 2014

The Greatest Commandment, Bible Thumper Version

"Teacher, what is the greatest commandment?"

Jesus replied, "To be able to always quote a verse to prove your point; this is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is just like the first, to react without really understanding what you are reacting to. All the law and prophets and your pathetic chances of salvation hang on these two commandments. Don't screw up." Mt 22/36-40, BTV (Bible Thumper's Version)

 

Clearly all the other versions are mistranslated. Probably dropped a jot or tittle, which we all know is the unforgivable sin; the Holy Spirit hates that.

15 March 2014

How I met God and, Later, Bethel

I met God and later Bethel in similar ways, almost against my will. If that sounds strange, please bear with me.

Suppose you hear about this amazing family, the Joneses. You keep your eyes and ears open, hoping to meet them. Eventually you realize you have friends in common. Over time you notice the things they tell you about the Joneses are not so good. Joe Jones feels up young women, Mary Jones is a cougar on the prowl, the kids vary from just weird to downright mean. You lose interest in the Jones family; you've already had way too many people like that in your life (one is way too many, right?)

A year or so later you realize your friends Smiths are the Jones' cousins, and Jim and Bertie Weems are Joe's God-parents, and they paint a different picture. You realize the neighbors had their own issues, which caused them to project things onto the Joneses. Maybe they aren't so bad, even if they aren't what you originally hoped (you are, after all, still feeling cautious. Once burned twice shy!) After a while, though, you realize the Joneses still sound a bit sketchy. Joe might be stealing office supplies. Mary is always hanging out with the teenagers next door, even though there's no rumors of anything really bad. The kids seem awfully doped, like maybe they're on dope.

Somehow you end up at a party with the Jones. And they're just really nice people. When they hug you it feels good-- and totally safe. Right off the bat, Joe seems to get who you are. Mary talks about the things that matter to you. Their kids and yours teach each other new games you want to join in. A week later when they hear you all have the flu, they come to your house with chicken soup and crackers. They do your laundry. Mary cleans the toilet while Jim does the huge pile of dishes. A month later one of your kids mentions your sister and her kids having to move to a womens' shelter and the Joneses send clothes, books, toys, and a check. You realize the Smiths and Weems, though closer than those first neighbors, also didn't quite get who the Joneses really are. Their own problems distorted their view.

Who are the Joneses? Good people. The best. Instant family. They love you, they care for you, they're there for you.

And that's pretty much how I met God. And later Bethel.

Don't judge a book by the books around it. Don't judge God (or other people) by the people who claim to know them. Get to know them yourself. You won't be sorry.

01 March 2014

Of Course? Or Off Course?

"Do you believe in God?"

"Of course!"

"There is no `of course'."

"Of course there's an `of course'!"

"If there were an `of course' I wouldn't have asked. I wouldn't have needed to."

Don't "of course" people. Even more so if your actions don't back up your words.

And if they ask you, ask why they ask.

And listen.

 

Copyright 2014 Triple R Publishing, Round Rock, TX. Feel free to quote so long as attribution is made. All other rights reserved.

Got revelation?

Are you always looking for fresh revelation?

Good for you if you are. For centuries the Church was content to sit on the Bible and call it all the revelation we needed, and look where it got us.

BUT...

I see people who go to every conference, and flit about between churches just to hear their favorite speakers, or to hear every speaker out there. But they don't seem to be going anywhere. Many of them can't seem to get that fresh revelation, at least not in a deep fashion that matters.

Why not?

Some of the time I believe it's because they haven't done anything with the revelation they already got.

Remember the parable of the "talents"-- the bags of gold? It's in Matthew 25 and Luke 19. The servants who invested the money and made more were praised an d put in charge of cities. But the servant who did nothing? What became of that one? Per Mt 25/28, since he had failed to do anything with it, it was taken from him and given to another.

This is sandwiched between the parable of the virgins who squandered their oil for the wedding and the parable of the sheep and the goats at the last judgment. They all add up to using wisely what you are given.

You want more revelation? Invest what you have; use it. Use it to get closer to God, use it to understand yourself better through God's eyes, and to bless people around you-- love them deeply through the revelation (whatever it is) and who you are.

Just as with all the other gifts of God-- love peace, joy, etc.-- you can't give it away as fast as God does. Hoard it and you don't make room for more. Give it away, and it comes pouring in.

You're awesome and loved. Go spread some of that around.

 

Copyright 2014 Triple R Publishing, Round Rock, TX. Feel free to quote so long as attribution is made. All other rights reserved.