“What I am to be, I am now becoming.”
I don’t know where this quote comes from but it’s been banging around inside my head for awhile. It refers to the process of who we are as people. We all have hopes and dream, goals and ambitions. The future lies ahead of us and we want to be there in a certain aspect of it as we are planning it right now.
The problem comes in when we expect others to follow our dreams, particuarly between married couples, families and believers within congregations. Not everyone will have the same vision or path towards the future.
Except in one area: we all want to be with our Father, whose Son has been preparing a place for us since His death and resurrection. We all want to rejoice with each other and the angels when we arrive. We all anticipate Christ’s return for His own.
But all the depends upon our choices right here and now. It depends upon what I do for my Master. It depends upon my willingness to serve others to the point where I can make a difference in their lives for good. And what I will be doing tomorrow depends upon the choices I will make today.
What do you want to be? Today’s vision will determine your path.
“After this letter has been read to all of you, see that it is read to the congregation in Laodicea. Then you can read the letter which they received.” Col 4:16 (Simple English Bible)
I was once asked by an elderly blind African for a Bible. At first, I thought he was joking with me. What would a blind man do with a brand new Bible? Next to him was a young boy, his grandson and guide. I asked the youngster if he could read and he said that he read the newspapers, letters and other items to his grandfather everyday. So, I gave the man and his grandson a new Bible.
Years ago, I was greeted by a tall African man. His greeting was effusive and very physical. I was puzzled but sometimes it is like that with certain Africans who seem to take a shine to someone for some reason or another. He came to me after the Cape Bible Seminary classes were over and thanked me for his Bible. It was worn, tattered and some pages were loose. He said he’d been that young boy who’d read to his grandfather every day and the Word had not only comforted his “oupa” but also had changed his life.
“Did you study it a lot?” I asked, surprised.
“No,” he said, “I read it out loud. That’s all we needed.”
Then, this Scripture from Colossians suddenly made complete sense. Paul asked the churches to read his letters to one another. Probably out loud for everyone. We don’t have his letter to the Laodiceans today but we still have his letter to the Colossians.
Read it. Out loud. Today. To someone.
“Do what God’s message says; don’t just listen and do nothing. When you merely sit and listen to the message, you are only fooling yourselves.” James 1:22 (Simple English Bible)
Ever get the feeling sometimes that you outsmart yourself? A local weekly magazine has an extensive crossword puzzle which takes up an entire page. During a coffee break or just relaxation, I like to fill it in. But the words that stump me the most are the three or four letter ones — I seem to think there’s a real obscure word and complicate the crossword unnecessarily. When Pat or a friend suggests a simple solution, I smack myself mentally. It WAS that easy!
I think it is like this with God’s gospel, too. To me, the message is simple and clear. I like to use the short parables and illustrations of Christ’s teaching because He was the Master Teacher and reached right into people’s hearts. But Jesus wasn’t only a teacher, He was a doer. He never asked us to do something that He Himself did not do.
Unfortunately, many Christians believe that attending a church service at some time during the week, giving a bit of their means and showing up for the important Christian “holidays” and revivals is all that God requires of them. Afetr all, they pay for the minister, church office, teaching materials, etc — they think this entitles them to relax while a few work at the face of the mine. True Christian compassion and sheer hard work to meet the needs of others has been replaced with a once-a-week top-up from the pulpit.
Jacob (James) says that this is foolish in the extreme. We are servants, attuned to our Lord’s calling and prepared to fill in the gap where society, crime and indifference has left people broken and in despair. God needs His believers to be busy so that His message is clearly understood.
I don’t want to be called a fool. Do you?