So I got to go stand in the fairly cold wind and rain to watch Josiah Christianson’s final football game in his elementary school league this Saturday morning, and it was a blast. No, they didn’t win, but the experience was just a lot of fun. One of the coaches kind of apologized to the parents for the weather, but I just said that “It’s football weather!” I mean, you might rain out a World Series in baseball, but you don’t let a little thing like hypothermia ruin a perfectly good football game.
In our Sunday Morning service, we continued our ongoing collections for South Side Mission and for Harrison Public School -- each of which used to have specific time frames (once a month for South Side, and leading up to the first day a school for Harrison), but we’ve reorganized each to simply be a continual reminder to be thinking of our community and how we can share from our abundance with them. So please be thinking about them the next time you’re on a shopping trip. Maybe pick up a box or two of mac ’n’ cheese for the Mission, or grab a couple of extra Kleenex boxes for the Kindergarten class. But the key thing here is this: when you do, please take a moment to pray about the people that simple act of kindness is going to affect in profound ways.
Speaking of that, we’re also counting down for collecting our shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. So please be prepping out those shoe boxes and bringing them in over the next two Sundays, so that we can pray for them on the 15th and get them out to the kids around the world who will open them and be struck by the love of a God whom they may never have heard of, demonstrated through the love of people whom they may never meet. Roll up your sleeves and make a difference -- wherever you can find to make that difference -- in a world that’s often far too indifferent... and do so because that’s what you were created to do.
In our message this week, we talked about that a bit. One of the oldest words for humanity that we have is actually the Hebrew word “אדם” (“Adam”), meaning “ruddy in color” (like clay) -- a word that reminds us that we were created by God from the clay of the ground. One of the newest words for humanity that we have is “manus” (which comes from Sanskrit through Latin), meaning “hands” -- a word that reminds us that we stand above the other creatures because we manufacture things.
Now, we can and should be both creators and created, since we were created in the image of our Creator, and thus are like Him in His creativity. But at our core, are we people who do what we do because we’re the creative masters of our own lives? Or are we people who do what we do because we’re created beings, and wish to honor the true Master of our lives?
See, the people of Israel lost sight of that. One verse after we’re told that God created the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments, we’re told that the people created new gods for themselves out of gold. They chose not to see God as their genuine Creator, and they preferred to create their own gods that would do what the people wanted them to do, in the time frame that the people wanted them to do it, without any of those pesky things that God tried to impress upon the people as the true Creator.
The problem is, we often try to domesticate God in our lives. We seek out worship styles that feel comfortable for us, we emphasize living out the commandments that we like the most, we downplay the verses that we tend not to want to follow, etc. When we do that, we’re doing the same things that the Israelites were doing while Moses was on the mountain with God -- we try to make a better, nicer, cleaner, shinier, more easily controlled god for ourselves, and that’s never a good thing.
So stop and think for a moment about those questions that I asked above. At your core, are you someone who does what you do because you’re a creator being, the master of your own life? Or are you someone who does what you do because you’re a created being, and you wish to honor the true Master of your life?
Make that decision right now, and then live the rest of the day as if that should inform every part of what you do...