What a fun day at First Covenant Church we had this week!
First off, we finished off our Adult Sunday School class on Paul’s letter to the Philippians (the studies are all online through our website), and it was a wonderfully uplifting experience to go through the book together. I’d tell you what we’re starting next week, but where’s the fun in that?
We also had a ton of visitors in town for the weekend, including Vanessa League (though Richard wasn’t able to join her). If you didn’t get a chance to interact with her, then let me encourage you to give them a call or write them a note to let them know that you’re thinking about them out west in wild and wooly Tucson.
We also gave one last commercial for our 4th, Annual Chili Cook-Off coming up next Sunday after the service. Not only is the Cook-Off intended to be a fun addition to our regular, monthly Brown-Bag-It lunch (which means that, even if you’re not a huge chili fan, you can still join us by bringing your own sack lunch), but it’s also a great opportunity for our Youth Group to interact with other demographics within our church family, since it’s the Youth who will be judging the chili. Come join us and help us build community with one another!
In our message this week, we continued in our discussion of how some people think that God misbehaves too much for them to follow Him. In fact, this week was basically last week, part 2 -- last week, we talked about how some people think that God plays favorites in whom He blesses and in whom He saves, so this week we discussed how what that really, functionally means is that we tend to think that God chooses all the wrong people.
As one person put it, “Would an all-wise, all-knowing, all-powerful God really choose the massively-flawed people who are running around saying that they follow Him to be his representatives?” I mean, we are all aware of some really good people and some really rotten people in this world -- and, too often, it seems like it’s the rotten people who end up being on top of the heap, or speaking for God, or even being blessed by God.
Then again, if the Bible is right and the human condition really only has two states (being spiritually dead in our sins or being spiritually alive in Christ), then can we really call some people less “broken” or other people more “massively-flawed” in God’s sight than others? To Him, aren’t we all broken and flawed, yet all loved and died for?
We’re kind of like ants crawling across a tapestry, stumbling along a single thread of God’s perfect plan being carried out in our imperfect world. We only see the color of that single thread -- even the best of us really have no concept of the infinite complexity of the grand design that God has woven around us, and yet we shake our little ant fists when our familiar red thread gives way to an unwelcome green one, or when another ant falls an inch behind us or pulls an inch ahead of us, completely oblivious about why the Creator might have wanted that to happen to fulfill the larger picture.
So the next time we think that someone is so much “better” than we are, or so much more “massively-flawed” than we are, perhaps we should take a step back and remind ourselves that we’re making those judgments from a very limited perspective along a very tiny thread. We’re all called to be God’s representatives, and judging the relative “flawed-ness” of one another like that just puts the emphasis on our own righteousness instead of on the Lord’s mercy, where it more appropriately belongs (see Romans 9:16 in its context).
So let’s work on representing God well and accurately in our lives -- and better and more accurately with each passing day -- and let’s encourage one another to do the same. Because in this world, there really are only two kinds of people -- those who need an ambassador from God to show them what His Kingdom is really like, and those who need to be ambassadors from God to show others what His Kingdom is really like...