Pastor's monthly newsletter article
Help! It’s August in the South! Hot, hazy and humid.
August is perhaps my least favorite month of the year, not just because of the weather, but because August has no holidays. What’s up with that?
I’m sure our children have another reason to dislike August—it’s back to school time!
This past week I came across a story about a little boy named Ryan who was starting first grade. Accustomed to going home at noon in kindergarten, Ryan was getting his things ready to leave for home when he was supposed to be heading to lunch with the rest of the class. The teacher asked him what he was doing. "I'm going home," he replied. Teacher tried to explain that, now that he is in the first grade, he would have a longer school day. "You'll go eat lunch now," she said, "and then you'll come back to the room and do some more work before you go home." Ryan looked up at her in disbelief, hoping she was kidding. Convinced of her seriousness, Ryan then put his hands on his hips and demanded, "Who on earth signed me up for this program?"
As believers, it's easy to feel a little like Ryan when we consider the Christian life. The requirements are daunting—"Surely the Lord doesn't expect me to forgive seventy times seven;" "Surely He doesn't want me to turn the other cheek when someone hurts me;" "What does He mean, 'take up my cross'?" It isn't long before you want to say, "Who on earth signed me up for this program?"
We “signed up” with Christ through faith when we trusted Him as Savior and committed to making Him the Lord of our lives. As Lord, Jesus has the authority to direct our lives. The Bible never portrays the Christian life as one of ease and comfort. Instead, the call to Christ is the call to service and sacrifice. Jesus said, “For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). He also calls His disciples to follow Him in that same path. As His followers, we are to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily and follow Him wherever He leads.
Let me encourage you to reflect on how closely you are following Christ. What aspect of your life has not been surrendered to His lordship? Your finances? Your recreation? Your job? Your language? Your T.V. viewing? Your worship? Is your marriage under the lordship of Christ? What about your parenting style? Is there someone you need to forgive? Is there someone who needs to forgive you? Is there a ministry Christ has gifted and called you to perform? Do you have friends that draw you away from Christ? Are you seeking to grow in Christlikeness? Are you developing the Fruit of the Spirit? Are you dying to self that you might live for Christ?
My prayer for you is that as children go back to school and young adults return to college, that you too will return to full faithfulness to Christ and His Kingdom. Vacation is over!
The shepherd loves the sheep!