Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ezekiel 2:7

Ezekiel 2:7
“You must speak My words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen…”

Think of the most hardened, agnostic person you know, and happily tell them the Gospel! Feeling warm and fuzzy yet?

Think of your most difficult, uncooperative child and, at the height of one of their ungrateful rants, graciously bestow on them God’s blessing. Easy, right?

Think of the most self-righteous, hypocritical buttinski in your church circle, and lovingly reproach them for their duplicity and high-mindedness. That’s right; you’re feelin’ it now, huh?

“You must speak My words to them whether they listen or fail to listen…” Our Heavenly Father goes on to tell the prophet Ezekiel that if he tells the people and they fail to listen, they are accountable for their own iniquity, while he has saved his soul. But, if he fails to tell them, and they continue to sin, their sin is on his head.

Wow. So what does that look like – having a spiritual discussion with someone who really doesn’t want to hear it, or maybe worse, feels they’ve mastered it? Speaking from experience, UGLY; but we’re not in the business of saving souls, just proclaiming the Gospel through words and deeds. I’m not negating the use of God-given common sense mind you, but when God presents an opportunity we need to obey no matter how uncomfortable or inconvenient the situation. Besides, He’s God; He knows the heart, and He has prepared the hardest of soils for planting.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Motivated By...

Picture, if you will, a mom, arms laden with laundry, headed to the basement, resigned to a long stay.  Someone starts after her with a dirty pair of socks.  "Give them to me," she says, "I'm headed down anyway."  She struggles to carry more.  This scene happens twice more before she reaches her destination.  Why?  Why does she do it?  Love?  Maybe.  She's a mom; she undoubtedly loves her family very much.  But, if she's a busy mom like me, she probably doesn't want others underfoot while she's trying to take care of business.  While she loves, accomplishment and rest may be her motivation.

Now, the fighter in the ring with a new sparring partner.  "C'mon!  Give me more!  Hit me!"  Why?  Love?  Not likely.  He wants to be tested and strengthened.  He wants to feel the exhilaration of resisting each blow, standing strong when others would crumble, boosting his confidence.  Boosting his ego.

The shopper.  I watched yesterday as a man literally dumped an armload of groceries out onto the table next to the register.  "Guess you should have gotten a cart," said the shopper behind him.  "I do it every time," he replied.  I stood there smirking, knowing I'd never be able to tally the number of times I've walked into Sammy's for a pound of cheese, and waddled my way to the register looking like lunchmeat Jenga.  Love?  Of lunchmeat, maybe, but not really.  Unpreparedness, lack of discipline?  Most likely.

Lastly, Christ on the cross.  Burden after burden laid upon Him.  All the while whispering, "No, don't hold that back from Me.  Give it up.  I can take it."  Multi-tasking mom, longing for chores to be done -- lay it down.  Fighter, suffering to prove something to those who have ridiculed, doubted -- lay it down.  Shopper -- determined to adhere to the boundaries this time -- lay it down.  Christ can take it, every bit of it.  He is prepared to take it, no matter how heavy or disheartening the load.  Christ wants to take it.  Not because He "would have been there anyway," not for His gratification and edification, not because of anything He did or failed to do.  But out of Love.