Pastor’s eNote: Choices are a Curse or a Blessing

Are you a Christian, wondering what on earth is going on these days that make people so miserable? Let me ask you this: Are you (and/or others) cursing those you should be praying for to receive God’s leading and protection?

For a long time I’ve been asking God to help me understand America’s disconnect; how there can be such a divide between people who are otherwise amazing and loving people. It’s been a source of intense sadness for me to read the hateful posts and snarky memes (which at their root are hateful) about people and actions we should be lifting up. Instead, where are they looking for comfort? The snarky responses, likes and shares from their friends. Is that from whence your comfort comes? Truly?

Not I.

I woke this morning to this truth: YOU are writing your story. YOUR story is also a part of OUR story. How you fit into God’s plan requires you to know what the Word says about how the children of God must handle the world as it is, while remembering that although we are in the world, we are not OF the world. This is why relationship with the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit is integral to the “holy and living sacrifice” life we talk about at every communion. That is the life that leads to blessing upon blessing. Are you willing to sacrifice your snark? Are you willing to put down the put downs in order to lift all of God’s people…even the ones you hate and disrespect?

Here’s the gist. Every day with everything you do, say, and respond to, you are writing your story. Either it is a complete auto-biography led by you and your flesh response, or it is a glorious collaboration with the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit fed by following the biblical instruction of the Word.

What was Jesus answer to the disciple’s greatest commandment?

Mark 12:30-31 New International Version
30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater. And not one commandment is considered “optional”.

Still feeling that certain people and situations permit you to withhold mercy? Let’s look at Luke 10:25-37. The disciples ask about that greatest commandment again by getting a full disclosure about who qualifies as a neighbor, as it pertains to God’s law. After explaining the story of the Good Samaritan,

Jesus asks, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Go and do likewise. In other words, “won’t you BE a neighbor?” BE a neighbor all day, every day. We are the neighbors we wish to see in the world!

Or, as the song goes,

“It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood
a beautiful day for a neighbor
Would you BE mine?
Could you be mine?

I have always wanted to have a neighbor just like you
I’ve always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you

Let’s make the most of this beautiful day
Since we’re together, might as well say
Would you be my, could you be my
Won’t you be my neighbor?”

Sometimes God uses the simple to confound the wise. There’s no more simple yet profound message than this.

“Go and do likewise.”