Psalm 42:2-3; 43:3, 4
"If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when
we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand
". . . there shall be one flock, one shepherd."
Could it be any clearer?
I ponder these passages. How easy it would be for me to be among the "circumcised believers" who confronted and criticized Peter. Sometimes we like to run in packs and point fingers of blame. So a question comes to me: "Who would you exclude from God's kingdom? Who's on that "list"?"
The person at work who backstabs and sabotages me at every turn? The anger-addicted bully who holds a position of power? The annoying argumentative neighbor? The petty relative?
Where do you draw the line? It gets tougher:
How about the tax cheat? The amoral greedy CEO? The child abuser? The convicted killer? The 9/11 terrorists? Osama bin Laden? Saddam Hussein?
Lucky for us, we don't have to draw the line. God does that.
The amazing thing is, it seems the line's a circle, and we're all inside.
How tough is that to understand?
As far as this "good shepherd" is concerned, there are no outsiders. He would die for each and every one of us. How's that for perspective on what's important? Even though all of us are called to follow the loving example of Jesus, few of us are challenged literally to give up our lives for the Kingdom.
But we are called to give up our selves in smaller ways. Sometimes the opportunities arise in the tiniest circumstances.
Just home from work the other night, I was preparing to go to the gym for my daily workout. I enjoy my workouts, probably too much. The routine, the good feeling of hard physical exertion, is important to me.
My oldest daughter, Kaci, asked if I would sit and listen as she read one of the Harry Potter books to me.
"I'd love to, Kaci. But I'm going to the gym," I said.
Then I looked at her closely. The thought occurred that the gym would still be there tomorrrow. God entrusted to me the job of being this child's father. Was any of that in the slightest way important to me? Maybe more important than my plans?
So we sat and she read.
Could anything be clearer?
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