11-23-14 Called to Be Free: Reaping and Sowing

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas -- which bugs me, since I like to keep my holidays separate.  But the moment Hallowe’en was over, stores all started playing Christmas music and putting up shiny decorations on fake trees.  Sigh...

It’s like no one really knows what to do with Thanksgiving any more.  When I was a kid, it used to be all about Pilgrims and Indians -- but now neither of those terms is politically correct, and the whole concept seems trite and shallow.  So then we tried to make it about harvest and eating a lot of turkey and carbohydrates, then drowsing through an afternoon of watching football -- but now that just seems lazy and gluttonous in our modern, health-conscious society.  So it’s kinda like we just skip over it and sprint straight to Christmas.

But Thanksgiving is an extremely important time for us as a nation -- especially since it should be an extremely important time for us as Christians within our nation.  It’s a time to stop and have everyone, throughout the country, remember to give thanks (thus the name, though we tend to forget to do that, in and amidst all of the turkey, carbs, and football).  In a world beset by daily reports of ISIS attacks in the Middle East, riots surrounding the Ferguson ruling, etc., we should be reminding ourselves and one another that in every day -- and in every situation -- there are always things to stop and give thanks to God for.  I’m not just talking about the good, happy, warm and fuzzy things -- I’m also talking about the opportunities that He gives us to show how a child of God walks through hard times, and reaps wisdom and strength in the process.

We talked a little bit about reaping and sowing in our message this week, closing out our study of Paul’s letter to the Galatians.  If we want to live in debauchery (or, for that matter, if we want to know all of the stuff that we should be avoiding if we don’t want to live in debauchery), the various acts of the sinful nature are obvious -- Paul lists a bunch of them out for us. 

But we can’t reap corn if we plant wheat (or even if we just avoid planting wheat) -- we have to actually plant corn.  In the same way, if we want to live lives that honor God, then we need to invest ourselves in God’s investment in us, and feed our own spiritual growth so that we can reap the fruit of the Spirit.  We need to follow Christ’s command to pick up our crosses daily, and crucify -- every day -- that part of ourselves that would cling to the values and priorities of this messed-up world around us.  And we need to lovingly come alongside one another to help one another work through that daily walk.

That means humbly seeking out wisdom from those who are walking that walk well today, and gently correcting and encouraging those who are stumbling in that walk today.  But either way, the focus is off of us and our own abilities to make corn grow, just by trying real hard.

And that’s certainly something to give thanks for...