February 5, 2013
“If the whole body were an eye where would the sense of hearing be?” (1Corinthians 12:17)
The story is told of a doctor who came out of the delivery room and told an expectant father, “I have some grave news for you my son. Your wife has given birth to a 7-pound eyeball. And that’s not all. It’s blind!” If you came home one night in the dark and found a 185 pound eyeball in the corner of your front porch, would that give you a rush of anxiety?
In this verse from the writings of the Apostle Paul he is using an illustration as grotesque as the illustrations I have just used. He does this in his inspired letter to the Corinthians because he wants to make a point: his point is the beauty of diversity.
One of the fingerprints of the Church of Jesus Christ is that in the Church we celebrate diversity. Diversity in the body of Christ is to be celebrated rather than resolved. If two of us are exactly alike one of us is unnecessary. Some of the members of the First Church of Corinth were telling others they were not authentically spiritual unless they had the same spiritual gifts that they had.
The remedy of Paul for that kind of thinking was the hideous metaphor of a body being just one member and not a body with the beauty of many diverse parts. Other members of the body of Christ have what you do not have and you have what they do not have. That means you need them and they need you.
The body of Christ is a team sport. Are you willing to be a team player?
Step up and play your part.
January 27, 2012
“For if I make you sorrowful then who is he who makes me glad but the one who is made sorrowful by me?” (2Corinthians 2: 2)
In this verse the Apostle Paul is telling us that relationships are a two-way street. Whatever we send down that street comes back up that street. Paul could have learned this from Jesus when he spent three years with Him in the desert of Arabia (Galatians 1: 15-20).
Jesus taught this same truth when He used a marketplace metaphor. In the marketplace if another vendor bought produce from you and you suspected his bushel measurement was inaccurate, you could ask him to go get his bushel measurement when you sold to him. In this way Jesus was teaching that whatever measure we use in giving to people they will use that same standard in giving back to us (Matthew 7 1-5).
By application, Paul and Jesus were teaching that in our marriage and family if we make people unhappy we will find ourselves living with unhappy people who were made unhappy by us. I knew a wise pastor who did a lot of marriage counseling. He wrote a little poem that had this line in it: “You can’t control the weather or rainy days but you can control the emotional climate that surrounds you.”
If you can surround yourself with unhappy people because you make them unhappy consider how much better it would be if you made those same people happy. Another wise pastor said that with Jesus the main things are the plain things and the plain things are the main things.
The bottom line is do we want to be surrounded by happy or unhappy people? What are we sending down the two-way street of our relationships?
January 13, 2012
“But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me…” (Philippians 3:13-14)
Picture your priorities as a target with a bull’s eye surrounded by a dozen circles. As you think and pray about your priorities, what would you call the bull’s eye of your priority target? Once you have determined that, how would you label the dozen circles that surround your bull’s eye?
Great men of God like Paul could reduce their priorities down to one thing. Paul’s one thing was to forget what is behind and strain forward to win the prize at the end of the race. That prize was what God was calling him to do.
Can we reduce the forty eleven things that are spreading us thin down to one thing? If we were to do so what would that one thing be? Sometimes there is great wisdom in forgetting the things that are behind. Then there are times when there is even greater wisdom in determining our one thing type of goal for the future. How do we do that?
One way is to consider what we might call the “eternal values.” None of the things we are going to leave behind when God calls us home are worth living for while we are here. Jesus told us: “… This is… life, that they may know You … and Jesus Christ …” (John 17:3).
Would knowing God and Christ be an eternally focused bull’s eye for our priority target this year? Think of how that priority focus will dramatically affect the dozen circles that surround it when our life becomes an expression of the life of God and the risen living Christ.