I’m writing this Sunday Morning Update a little early this week, because we’ll be on vacation for the next two weeks. So don’t feel bad if you don’t hear from us until mid-August -- no, it’s nothing personal.
We were able to host several new visitors this week, including our newest missionary family, the Troyers. They were originally looking forward to being in North Africa, but are currently (shudder) forced to minister on the French Riviera, in the coastal city of Marseille. Ironic how what one person sees as a dream job, another sees as frustratingly not where they’d felt called to be. But the Troyers have good hearts, and they know that God knows what He’s doing, so they trust in His leading.
Living like we trust in God is at the core of something else that we talked about this week. With yet another nightclub shooting just last night, we’re reminded over and over again that our world is an increasingly violent and chaotic place. It’s tempting to see it as essentially racist (what with violent hatred against African-Americans), or reverse-racist (what with violent hatred against police officers), or homophobic (since the largest mass shooting in American history was just recently at a gay nightclub), or religious fundamentalism (with violent hatred being expressed by or against Muslims, and by or against Christians), etc. But after a while, it becomes clear that at its core, the problem is primarily that we are feeling justified in our violent hatreds. Period. We feel like we’re justified in feeling hatred toward those whom we perceive have been hateful toward us, and so the blind hatred continues. But Jesus told us, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27-28). As Christians, we’ve been called to be ambassadors for an utterly different perspective on life than they world has -- that all lives matter to God, so all lives should matter to us. And that begins with you and me not only living out grace toward everyone around us, but also calling those around us to do the same.
In his message this week, Adrian Troyer talked about the two different kinds of wisdom that we have to choose from -- the world’s wisdom, and God’s wisdom. The world’s wisdom yields bitterness, envy, ambition, disorder, and conflict. God’s wisdom yields humility, good deeds, purity, mercy, being considerate toward others, and a heart that actively strives for making peace all around us. That’s what honors God.
So when we’re tempted to be envious of those around us -- what they have, how they’re respected, etc. -- or when we begin to feel justified in our bitterness or our hatred toward others, then we’re starting to let ourselves think like the world thinks. The fruit that comes from that tree is poisonous.
But when we let ourselves humbly be re-sculpted by God -- when we strive for purity, when we live out mercy, when we sincerely show a caring and considerate heart and seek peace rather than victory -- then we can grow closer and closer to being people who truly honor God. The fruit that comes from that tree is life-bringing... life-changing...
So decide right now what country you want to be living like an ambassador for -- the country of the poisoned blind, or the country of Heaven. Do you and I live out the wisdom of this place, or the wisdom of God? Do we have the fruit of the Spirit, or the fruit of this world? Do our words and hearts and actions make the world a more loving place, or a more contentious place?
Stop and think about what kind of life truly, best honors God.
And then make it a point every morning to pray that you live that life out.
Change the world in small every day. If everyone did that... well, we’d change the world, wouldn't we...?