Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Welcome to Day 107 of our Life Journal!
Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?
S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer
1 Samuel 19, Ok, we get it… Saul despises David. Saul is jealous, angry and tormented.
1 Chronicles 7, In this chapter there are genealogies of Issachar, Benjamin, Naphtali, Manasseh, Ephraim, Asher. There no account either of Zebulun or Dan. Not sure why there is no account of Zebulun. Dan may have been omitted due to idolatry began in Laish. (Remember when they took the idols from Micah’s house, he had the personal priest?) Dan is not included in the list of tribes in Revelation 7:4-8!
Psalm 59 “You are my strength, I sing praise to you; you, God, are my fortress,
my God on whom I can rely.”
Matthew 4, “After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.” (Do you think that could be the understatement of the century?)
Jesus calls Peter, Andrew, James and John. All four left their fishing boats immediately when he invited them.
v 23, “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.”
We could talk about Saul’s continued assault against David, even his subsequent prophesying episode (while, ummm… naked…) or how Jesus handled temptation in the wilderness by quoting the scriptures to the devil.
But what really stood out to me was how Peter and Andrew (brothers), James and John (brothers) simply got up and left their fishing boats to follow Jesus. Seems Peter and Andrew may have been alone, but James and John were with their father. But upon Jesus’ invitation, they just… left. The boat, the family business… their father.
Doesn’t say that the father objected in any way. Not that he didn’t react or even say anything… it’s just not recorded if he did say or do anything.
I think the Bible is intentionally silent at times. There is no other reason. Sometimes a person’s life is condensed into a few verses, other times, one specific situation is spelled out in great detail over a few chapters. I think it has to go beyond the author’s personal preference, to what the Holy Spirit intended to be recorded?
Did they really just “up and leave?” Did they simply walk away leaving their father there to clean up? To continue their business without them? Was he at all concerned? Did he send them off with blessing? Did they exchange words at all? Did they hug or shake hands? Were there any tears shed?
I’m looking at this passage today through the eyes of a father, letting go of his kids.
This is not hard for me. I left home three weeks after graduating from high school to begin college in Pittsburgh, PA. After college I moved to Dayton, OH and began my advertising career six weeks later. After two years, I quit my job, sold everything and moved to New York City (Manhattan.)
I’m, by nature, pretty adventurous. Been on some great adventures over the course of my first 50 years.
My kids grew up with my desire for them to become who God created them to be… to follow the path that He has for them.
The difficulty is that God’s will is subjective, isn’t it? Was it God’s will for my oldest daughter to go into the Air Force? For my youngest son to go into the Marines?
Only time will tell.
It’s certainly easier to know what isn’t God’s will than what is… I often say, “God’s will is more easily recognized looking in the rear-view mirror… (Looking back vs. looking forward.) It’s often easier to see God’s fingerprints on a situation or to understand what He was doing or trying to teach me, after the fact.
There’s obviously no doubt that it was God’s will for James and John to follow Jesus… but what I’m chewing on this morning is their father’s reaction.
I think there’s a reason why Jesus said, “When you pray, pray in this manner… Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” God’s will is not always done, is it? We all have a choice… we are all interconnected.
I am rarely 100% sure that I am doing God’s will… I try to not do anything obviously outside what his will is for all of us. And, as Doug would say, “I’ll take the next assignment that God sends my way.”
Sometimes it’s a funeral for a four-day old baby. Other times it’s having coffee with a guy struggling in his marriage. It may be leading worship or giving the message on a weekend, leading a staff meeting…
I would say, at this point in my life that it’s God’s will for me to be on staff at the Vineyard… the details are flexible. Looking at 1 Timothy 3, here’s a good filter for God’s will in my life:
“Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. 2 Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. 5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7 He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.
8 In the same way, deacons are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. 9 They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.”
One time I was talking with Doug (our senior pastor) and I told him that I felt I wasn’t managing my family well… that the Bible was clear that it was a requirement to be an overseer… He said to me, with all grace and mercy, “If you didn’t have any problems, you wouldn’t have anything to manage.”
We’re all in the same boat, trying to figure it out as we go. I think that’s why the Bible says to encourage one another daily. Because we all need it. That’s why we are to pray, “not my will, but they will be done.”
Praying in that direction sets us up for success.
Let Your kingdom come and Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven… in my life. Today… right now.