Sunday, August 21, 2011

Trading Your Jeremiah 10:21 Day For a 1 Timothy 2 Discipline

The other day, while looking for an entirely different verse, I stumbled upon this little gem in Jeremiah. 

“It's because our leaders are stupid.
   They never asked God for counsel,
And so nothing worked right.
   The people are scattered all over.”
                   – Jeremiah 10:21, The Message

Now I’ll confess, I laughed out loud … and read that first line over and over just for the pleasure of it. Let’s face it, sometimes our leaders are just stupid. They say stupid things, they do stupid things and, well, you just can’t figure out how they ever got elected as Chairman, Mayor, Grand Poobah, Whatever and you just shake your head because clearly they are not seeking God’s counsel which is why nothing is working right and no one is loyal to them.

But …

Perhaps if we took a regular dose of 1 Timothy 2:1-4, our perspective would be different – the outcome would be different.

“The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live. He wants not only us but everyone saved, you know, everyone to get to know the truth” 

                     – 1 Timothy 2:1-4, The Message

Maybe, just maybe, if we put more effort, frequency and sincerity behind praying for our leadership, their hearts would be changed and they wouldn’t be so … well, stupid. Maybe if we lifted them up to God, they would begin to seek God’s counsel and things would start to work out right giving us a reason to be loyal to them. 

We don’t have control over what are leaders do or what they say, just about the only thing we do have control over (besides voting them in or out) is praying for them – and that’s more powerful for the vote itself if you think about it.

So get on it!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Do Your Job!

                *** Warning: the following message may be offensive to the weak, lazy, unengaged or entitled ***

I grew up in an era where, if you came to work and did your job, your reward was that you didn’t get fired. These days, if someone does what’s asked of them, they expect an extra reward for it – a bonus, a trophy, a promotion. As disappointing as that is in the workplace, that same sense of entitlement seems to have infiltrated the church.

When did we lower the integrity standards? The commitment standards? When did it become so easy to just walk away from things because they weren’t perfect anymore? – jobs, marriages, churches…. even our bodies are disposable. Don’t like that nose? Ditch it – buy a new one.

When did we become entitled to perfect, easy and glory for just doing what’s expected of us? 

Recently my husband and I were paid a compliment that left is scratching our heads is disappointment. Not that the compliment wasn’t positive and sincere – it was. And who doesn’t appreciate a compliment – we did. But both of us were immediately struck by how disappointing it is that we were being recognized and praised for doing what we perceived as just … well, what’s expected, what’s right, what everyone should be doing.

One of my favorite Stokes-isms is “there’s no such thing as a perfect church… and if you found one, YOU’d mess it up.” People get disenchanted with a church because this isn’t the way they’d do it, that isn’t how they want it. They can’t do the things they want. They don’t offer the programs they want. They changed the music, the pastor, the carpet and they’re out of there. I don’t get that. 

We are the body of Christ, people! If your hand stopped working, would your knee just say “I’m outta here”? If something is not quite right in one area, we abandon another? When I think about the idea of a “church family” there are going to things you don’t agree with, there are going to be sisters or brothers you don’t like as well as others, there will be hard feelings at one time or another and sometimes it’s your problem and sometimes it’s theirs, but we share the same blood – the blood of Christ in this case – and we are commanded to love one another and so that’s what we do. Not because we’re going to get a trophy for it but because it’s what’s right.

SO DO YOUR JOB! Love your brother, commit to your church - even when it isn’t perfect … or, ESPECIALLY when it isn’t perfect – serve the body of Christ, and don’t be one of the weak who run a way or the entitled who want a trophy or unengaged who don’t care or the lazy who don’t work as the part of the body of Christ they are expected to be.