Words from the Pastor
My, oh my, where has the time gone? Yesterday was Easter, and the day before that was New Years. Have you ever had “one of those years?” This last week a dear dear friend of mine died – my fishing buddy. He was 83 years old. This same week last year, we buried his wife of 54 years. Two weeks ago, another dear friend of ours was killed in a single car wreck. She was 20 years old. And three weeks before that, Marilyn’s step-mom, who had battled stage four cancer the last five years, died.
The saying, “our time is not our own,” has never rung louder in my ears than now. In verse one of the 14th chapter of the Gospel of John, Jesus says to the disciples, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me (emphasis mine).” Continuing, Jesus responds to Thomas’s query about where Jesus is going, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” As “people of the Way,” we declare our belief in Jesus’ declaration, but like the disciples there are times when our hearts too are “troubled.” Struggling to balance the words of our mouths and the actions of our lives, we seek to find balance between our expressed faith and the world in which we live. The Apostle Paul, in the 10th chapter of Romans verse ten, says this, “For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” Belief. Confession. This is our life no matter the time we have.
When we claim the title “Christian,” we acknowledge the receipt of the gift of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives. Having received that free gift, we are justified in Christ Jesus, and enter a lifelong phase of sanctification. Someone who is sanctified is “set apart for the use intended by its designer . . . (in) the theological sense, things are sanctified when they are used for the purpose God intends. A human is sanctified, therefore, when he or she lives according to God’s design and purpose” (Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology). As Christians, we understand that God has set us apart for His intended purpose which according to our catechism teaches us that our chief end is “to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” Which means that when people look at us (as Christians) they see Christ. They know we’re part of the family of God and as such we bear the image of His kingdom.
You remember the story of David and Goliath . . . how the boy shepherd felled the giant Philistine with a single smooth stone rocketed from his slingshot. Coming face-to-face with Goliath and surrounded by two warring armies, David hollered to the monster “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom You have defied” (1 Samuel 17:45).
Witnessing the spectacle from the sidelines of the battlefield, King Saul turned to the commander of his army, “Tell me about this young man’s family.” (1 Sam. 17:55 The Message)
In the wake of one of history’s most remarkable and courageous confrontations, the king of Israel wanted to know only one thing about the boy hero: “Tell me about his home.”
Saul could have asked about David’s occupation or experience in hunting or his availability for future conflicts. Instead he asked about his family.
Your time is not your own. Belief. Confession. Once you have done those, your life is no longer your own – you have been saved. So the questions which beg to be asked are;
1. Have you received the gift that is Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?
2. Do your words and your actions line up with each other?
3. When people look at you, do they see the family resemblance to Jesus?
Your time is not your own. At the renewal of the covenant with God (Joshua 24), Joshua exhorted the people to make a choice, “. . . choose this day whom you will serve. . . (verse 15).”
Your time is not your own.