Thursday, November 08, 2012
Today’s Topic: What an Honor!
Today’s Text: Psalm 119:49-50 (ESV)
49 Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope. 50 This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life.
On Sunday afternoon Denise and I left the house with our suitcases packed and loaded in the back of the van. We stopped at the house of our church office administrator and loaded up hers and her husband’s suitcases. Then Pastor Dennis and Jan drove into the driveway, and we transferred their luggage to our van. It was time for a staff retreat at Oak Forest Center. For the next 48 hours we would be fed spiritually and physically, and take time to rest and relax and be refreshed.
Our speaker this year was Dr. Richard Swenson from Menomonie, Wisconsin, who has written such well-read books as Restoring Margin to Overloaded Lives and Hurtling Toward Oblivion. What an incredible gift from God he was to us all as he challenged us.
One of the things he said at the conference is stuck in my mind this morning – and I hope for a long time. As he shared a wealth of information about the current status of our social, economic and political order, and mankind’s race to go faster and faster towards more and better that will end in a cataclysmic crash, he said this: “But in all of this there is zero fear. Our Sovereign God, who created, directs and chooses all things, has chosen us to represent Him in this time. We are privileged and honored to be here.”
What a great perspective! What a Biblical one. You and I, as God’s chosen people, are living in perhaps the single most exciting time of the world’s history since the arrival of Jesus on the earth. We and our children very well could be the last generation to be involved in the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ before He returns.
As the human race hurtles headlong into the hurricane of economic and political collapse, we can stand on the promises of God. We have the hope the world needs. We know the promise of salvation that gives life. Our hearts have been captured by the love of God who is not mad at us even though we were responsible for the necessity of the death of His Son. His love for us while we were still sinners has birthed in us a love for Him that conquers sin. No longer do we need the world, nor even want the world. All we need and all we want is to bear fruit for the Father even as the world around us collapses.
Jesus said it this way in John 15:14-16. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
I am convinced that our attitudes have not been right in this regard. We have succumbed to the cynicism that results from trust in the world’s system. We have taken the mark of the beast and declared our dependence on the economic and political policies of the day. We have decided to enter the race to get more and more and to get it faster and faster. We have rejected biblical contentment and thereby also rejected the godliness that goes with it to produce great gain. We believe we are gaining, but only if the world is our standard of measure.
As a result, as the world system around us begins to fail us, we lose hope. We lose strength. We try harder to fix it and to keep the race going. And we begin to wonder why we are here, and why we have to suffer the way we do. We fix our eyes on what’s wrong with life and the world rather than on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the pain of the cross and suffered death. Where is that faith in our lives today?
More than ever my eyes are fixed on God’s finish line, not the world’s. I have been chosen by the Sovereign Creator to live in this day for His purpose and for His glory. I have His promises. I have His Presence. I accept His purpose. I commit to His daily plan. I embrace His people. I proclaim His peace to lost people. I am passionate about loving Him above all else because He was passionate to love me even when I didn’t love Him.
He picked me to live at this time. He picked you to. What an honor!