“We are waiting for the blessed hope and the glorious appearance of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” Titus 2:13 (Simple English Bible)
Edith wasn’t a pretty woman, perhaps a little too ungainly and short. No matter how she dressed or had her hair done, something always seemed to be a little odd. Even in school and then collage, she had an awkward way about her. A little clumsy, sometimes too loud and didn’t seem to understand concepts very quickly. But she was a good woman, a faithful Christian and a generous giver. In her late 40’s, Edith had given up on marriage or a special man in her life.
Her sister, Jennifer, was the opposite. Lithe, funny and sharp. She had married early and had a large family — six children. They’d never been close as sisters but one day, Jennifer asked Edith if she felt as if life had passed her by. Edith was surprised and shook her head. “No,” she answered, “my hope is in Jesus and that will be realized when He comes as He has promised!”
Do you think that Christians sometimes loose their focus? That perhaps the things that the world holds as essential and worthy are distracting us from our true toil? Maybe God has more hope in Edith as a faithful servant than others who need to feel that they’re apart of life and the world!
“Master, treat your slaves well and fairly. Remember you have a Master in Heaven, too.” Col 4:1 (Simple English Bible)
Henry was affronted when he was told by his wife that he was rude to others! He thought he was just being forthright and honest, perhaps a little blunt, but that never hurt anyone. Even at church with other members, he tried to be balanced and uncompromising but Edith pointed out that he was too blunt for his own good!
The pastor was helpful but a little skittish when Henry came to see him. Yes, people had complained and wondered what was wrong with him. Then, he read this passage from Paul’s Letter to the Colossians and explained that if slave owners in the first century were to treat their slaves well and fairly, could Christians today not do the same? Henry was thoughtful and decided to curb his tongue. It was a struggle but he managed to get a handle on it. Particularly after he finally understood that he also had a Master in Heaven who’d treated him more than fairly!
There are times when we must been forthright and honest. The truth doesn’t change nor does it make friends sometimes. We stand by the truth. But there are also times when we should be kind and understanding, bringing the light of the truth gently to those who need to hear it that way. After all, we are just slaves, too.
“Life does really begin at 40. Up until then, you’re just doing research.” Anon wiseman.
When I was in college, my friend, Darnell, was very frustrated. He wanted to accomplish so much and motor ahead with so many plans, ideas and new concepts. His brain worked constantly and there was never enough time to study or sleep. Every minute that ticked by and nothing happened was an immense waste of time. Life was happening and he had to be in the thick of it.
Even his folks in Chicago tried to steady Darnell and keep him on track. Numerous phone calls back and forth were of the same nature: just do what was needed for that day. Don’t spend tomorrow’s resources all at once. Even Darnell’s questions during class time wandered off the topic, which frustrated the professors. Finally,he hit a wall. He met Trish, a lovely girl from Ohio, and she explained that if he ran too fast, he’d leave her behind. Darnell decided to ease up.
I am sure that this happens to many young Christians, too. When they first believe and obey Christ, they want to convert the world. Everybody else in the church is too slow. Even the leadership might not have the vision for global evangelism. While it is encouraging to see this kind of eagerness and enthusiasm, ensuring that we are following God’s guidance and wisdom is essential for the long term.
PS Darnell and Trish have been married for over thirty years. They have two kids.