"The Children's Crumbs" (Guest Speaker Scott Miller)

Let me begin with a heartfelt “Thank you!” for the nice vacation that we were able to spend as a family together over the past couple of weeks.  It was great to be able to come back and reconnect with the larger FCC family this weekend, but it was a refreshing and joyful blessing to be able to spend those two weeks with my wife and children.

In keeping with our annual tradition of colorful inaccuracies about our vacation destinations, I’d told everyone that we were going to Paraguay for two weeks.  Amazingly, several people took me seriously (though, on the other hand, at least two people genuinely thought that I was making up a country called “Paraguay”).  We did, however, get to do a little bit of traveling here and there--including the chance to get to the Illinois State Fair to eat some awesomely unhealthy Fair food and watch my family’s horses racing (two of which raced spectacularly well this year).

But it was also a bit of a happy/sad time for our family, as we took Alex and Megan to ISU and dropped them off.  Yes, Wendy and I have each other (and Buster is enough of a handful for anyone), but it’s still a bittersweet time for us as we enter into the beginnings of our “empty nest” phase of life.  As I’ve said for years, my absolutely favorite thing in the world is to spend quality time with my children, so it’s a little hard to let that go.  And yet, we’re very proud of the young adults that our children have grown into, so it’s also a genuine joy to set them loose on the college campus.

Speaking of college campuses, we were very fortunate to be able to host my former campus pastor, Scott Miller, and his family (wife Diana and children Emma and Ava).  Wendy and I haven’t seen Scott in 25 years, in part because the family is currently serving as missionaries overseas, so it was a special blessing to us to be able to reconnect with a dear friend and to introduce our children to one another.

Scott shared a message from Mark 7:24-30, looking at the story of the Syrophoenician who had so much faith that she would seek Christ out and take joy that even the dogs can eat the children’s crumbs.

As Scott brought out, it took a great deal of faith and humility for this Gentile woman to enter a house looking for a Jewish rabbi--that’s a whole bunch of social conventions being broken.  But she didn’t let social trappings and expectations keep her from seeking out Jesus... and neither should we...

And when Jesus told her that He had no intention of taking the children’s bread and giving it to the dogs--a rather pointed metaphor that He really had come to share the Good News with His fellow Jews--she could’ve done what our own culture prizes so highly and become outraged at a perceived insult.  But she didn’t let her ego keep her from Jesus... and neither should we...

But everything we see about Jesus--from His response to this woman to His cleansing of the Court of the Gentiles in the Temple--shows us that He loved the Gentiles and worked to reach out to them alongside His own children (just not instead of His own children).  Jesus didn’t judge people by their ethnicities and backgrounds... and neither should we...

What kind of faith can you live out today in your own life context?