It’s been years, but I can still picture them well.
They were members of our small church in St. Louis.
For my story today, I’m going to call them members A and B.
Member A –
A was a slightly built man with a wisp of silver hair. He had a huge smile and a bear hug that wrapped around you and well, you just knew he meant it! Both A and his wife were humble servants … faithfully doing the unheralded jobs that few others wanted to do. They were always there early and they stayed late.
I picture A standing near the entrance welcoming everyone who walked in with a handshake or a hug and the following simple sentence:
Do you know how much Jesus loves you?
Rev remembers how he would bring his 5’8″ frame right up to his 6’6″ one, grab him by the collar, look him in the eye and say, “I pray for you every single day!” And we knew he did!
Member B –
Member B was a taller more distinguished-looking man. He always held leadership positions and knew how the church should run. He liked tradition and was outspoken and unhappy about most changes. He served that church and gave generously. He was doing it right and felt it important that he should help others “do it right,” too!
I remember one exchange with B’s wife …
Rev and I had struggled with secondary infertility for 7 years. One particularly bad hormone swing day, I shared with her that I was hurting and sad. She stepped in close, shook her finger in my face, and told me I should be ashamed of myself. I was blessed with two healthy children and I should stop feeling sorry for myself and be thankful.
I was thankful for my children! Very thankful. I just had an exceptionally powerful mom gene! And at that moment, more than anything I wanted and needed love, kindness, and compassion.
Two members – One Church
One full of love the other full of
I believe A and B and their wives loved Jesus and that they were trying to follow Him to the best of their abilities.
I also believe there is a little A and B in each of us.
I wrote the following as part of Mondays’ post…
God selected Abraham and his descendants as His chosen people not to exclude the other nations but because He wanted to draw all people to Himself through them. Had the Israelites followed God’s will they would have shown surrounding nations the blessings of living as God’s children.
God wanted His people to be “holy” or “set apart” … to look different from everyone else because as He blessed their obedience, others would want what they had.
Then on Tuesday morning, I read the following in Ezekiel…
I gave them my decrees and regulations so they could find life by keeping them. And I gave them my Sabbath days of rest as a sign between them and me. It was to remind them that I am the Lord, who had set them apart to be holy. Ezekiel 20:11–12
Decrees and regulations so they could find life.
A day of rest as a sign of the covenant … that they were set apart as His. A day to refocus their priorities and remember all He had done for them.
God gave His commands and the Sabbath out of love. He knew obedience would make their lives better. And He set them apart so the people around them would see the blessings of living in a relationship with the one true God.
And yet, time and again, like you and me … God’s people failed to trust and obey completely.
They chose idolatry, power, prestige, popularity, and personal comfort over obedience. They wanted what the non-believers had. It looked good. It sounded good. It felt good.
It was self-focused and selfish.
I want to be like Mr. and Mrs. A! I want my love for Jesus to bubble out of me all over everyone who meets me. I want to serve humbly as an offering of gratitude for all God has done for me.
Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Ephesians 6:7
Unfortunately, I recall times when I’ve been more like Mr. and Mrs. B than I’d like to admit. Times when I was critical and judgmental, and yes, maybe even a little self-righteous.
So today, I asking God to forgive me. I’m also asking Him to help me keep my focus on Jesus.
Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Hebrews 12:1b–2a
I’m asking Him to help me love Him through obedience … not to win His pleasure or gain His blessings but to glorify and thank Him for all He has given me and done for me through Jesus.
John the Baptist said, “He must become more important while I become less important.” John 3:30
I like to say it this way…
Less of me! More of Jesus!
I want people to see Jesus in me. I want them to want what I have. I want them to love the One I love!
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