Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday, April 22 ~ tammi

Today's reading from the Chronological OT/NT Reading Plan is Ruth 1-4; Luke 17:1-19.

Easter Cross
Happy Good Friday, my friends!

It almost seems a weird thing to say, since today we remember Christ's horrific death on the cross, and yet with that being the cornerstone of our faith, it IS worth celebrating ~ especially in combination with Resurrection Sunday!!  Anyway, I hope this is a wonderful weekend of not only an extra day of rest and relaxation and family gatherings, but a meaningful time of reflecting on God's amazing goodness in your lives.

I want to focus today on verses 1-4 and 7-10 of Luke 17.  Not because Ruth has nothing new to offer, but because her story is quite familiar and we've discussed it here on this blog and likely many other times in our lives.  Same thing with the story of Jesus healing the ten lepers and only the one Samaritan returning to say thank you.  Both are beautiful accounts with many valuable lessons, but I want to look at the less popular passages in today's reading today. And it's obvious why they're less popular!!

First, Jesus teaches His disciples about the gravity of causing others to sin, specifically the "little ones." These could be literal children, but it could also mean anyone whose faith isn't very strong or whose relationship with Christ isn't as mature as ours is.  We need to be so careful how we conduct ourselves around non-believers and believers alike because we just don't know everyone's spiritual condition.  We want to attract non-believers to Christ and we want to make sure we encourage and strengthen new believers ~ not confuse them.

I think this message is vitally important in our day when the general belief is that everything is relative only to ourselves.  We Christians have adopted that right along with everyone else and we tend to view our relationship with Christ as being just between ourselves and God; that no one has the right to judge it or expect it to look a certain way.  And yet, clearly, that is not the case!  With Jesus saying it would be better to DIE than to lead someone astray (notice He doesn't say deliberately or inadvertently ~ that doesn't seem to matter!!), we KNOW we need to take this seriously.  We need to accept that how we live our lives ~ our habits, the way we talk, our hobbies, the activities we participate in or encourage our kids to participate in ~ are all part of our testimony to our relationship with Him, and as such, we need to make sure they line up with what we claim we believe.

Then Jesus says we need to help each other remember this.  When we see someone doing something that has given someone else a wrong impression of Christianity, we need to draw attention to it.  This will not make us popular, that's for sure!  But it will go a lot further to preserving the purity of the Bride of Christ than "tolerance" will.  And, of course, there's obviously a right way and a wrong way to present the "rebuke."  We need to remember we are all guilty of not living up to our profession of faith, and we all need to approach this with humility, whether we are the rebuker or the rebukee.

Jesus indicates this will not be an easy process.  It is difficult to change old habits.  If we have pointed out to someone that something they're commonly doing or participating in is detrimental to their testimony, it may take several attempts to change.  It may take years.  And we need to be gracious in encouraging that person and forgiving their failed attempts.

Lastly, in verses 7-10 we get to the passage I love to hate as a stay-at-home mom.  In my old Bible ~ the one falling apart and FILLED with handwritted notes (man, I'd forgotten how much I missed this old Bible!) ~ I have a few things written beside this passage that speak to how we do our jobs and what we're working for.  These are the points I've made beside these verses:
  • it is normal to work hard in God's Kingdom
  • God blesses extra work done willingly, which is also part of God's Kingdom
  • a true servant does not EXPECT thanks and rewards; thanks should not be our motivation for service
  • a true servant of God is more concerned with responsibilities than with rights and privileges
Do you see why this raps my conscience a little??!  I know everyone struggles with this to varying extents, but it seems moms have the most trouble with serving joyfully.  So many of the things we do to keep our households running smoothly and our families happy, fed, and dressed go virtually unnoticed.  (until you don't do them one day!)  I tend to feel very under-appreciated and taken for granted fairly regularly.  And then I start to feel a little sorry for myself.  It's tough to love this job sometimes, even though I deliberately chose it.  It's hard to love serving, and yet I think we see here that it is intrinsic to being a child of God.  It is a CRUCIAL part of being an effective Christian.

And it really is a beautiful reflection of Jesus, who selflessly served in His life and will continue to do so for all eternity.  I pray that reflection will get clearer and clearer as our lives go on, as we earnestly continue seeking to serve our...

Tomorrow's passages: 1 Samuel 1-3; Luke 17:20-37


Technonana said...

Powerful post, my little sista!! Preach on!!
without the Cross... there would be no SUNDAY!!

Dana said...

Great Easter post! Thanks for the reminder of not tolerating sin. It is so much easier to just allow everyone to do what they think is right. I definitely need to work on gently pointing out sin when I see one of my fellow Christians doing something wrong. Thanks!

Miriam said...

Great post, Tammi. It is hard at times to keep cleaning up the same things over and over again and doing the same chores every day. I find it much easier to do when I'm remember to have a thankful attitude for all my blessings, but that's not always easy either.

Pamela said...

Great post. Thanks for focussing on the things you did. I loved what you wrote about what are lives say about our walk with God:

"We need to accept that how we live our lives ~ our habits, the way we talk, our hobbies, the activities we participate in or encourage our kids to participate in ~ are all part of our testimony to our relationship with Him, and as such, we need to make sure they line up with what we claim we believe."

This hit home for me as we struggle with the sports and missing church conflict. Do we let Kaden miss church to participate in sports because he has a commitment to his team or do we make church attendance the priority over anything else. We are still undecided about what to do about that and also the message that it sends to Kaden and to his team.

I like what you wrote about feeling unappreciated and I think that when I was home with little kids I felt it more. Now, I am at a stage that I am realizing that my time in this servant-mother role in drawing to an end and that makes me appreciate it just that much more. My children have become so independent (laundry, cooking, baking, and even staying home alone for the girls) and with each new step of independence for them, I feel like my role is less. I know that is the goal of parenting but I can't help but feel that it is coming so quickly. This makes me more appreciative of the role I have right now and less bitter about all of the stuff I have to do in this role. Does that make sense?