pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Right Now

Reading: Matthew 4:18-23

Verses 21-22: “Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat… and followed him.”

“Hurry up and wait.” Ever heard that expression? It usually comes when the last thing we want to do is wait. Now, that is most of the time, right? In general, we are not patient. Our culture teaches us the “right now” attitude. Yet when I think of Jesus’ life and ministry he was never in a rush. He took his time – often too much for those around him. He always had time for the one he encountered. Maybe this is partly why he calls Andrew and Simon, James and John. They too worked at an occupation that required and developed patience.

In our story today, though, when Jesus calls them to “Come, follow me,” they are anything but patient. Both pairs of brothers followed Jesus “immediately.” Do you ever wonder why? Yes, there must’ve been something about Jesus that led them to this radical decision – an aura, a charisma, a divinity? And maybe there’s another reason. Like all other Jews they’ve been waiting hundreds and hundreds of years for the promised Messiah. Jump at the chance that this might be the one!

And then there’s maybe this other, more practical reason. Today, in my life, when the Spirit of Christ invites me to action, be it in word or deed, I’ve found that a delayed response usually becomes a non-response. The “I’ll do that later, tomorrow…” never happens. Maybe a “right now” attitude is what’s needed. It mirrors Jesus’ approach: the person before me matters right now. Let ministry begin! May it be so.

Prayer: Lord God, create in me a spirit of “yes!” Pre-dispose me to action. Ready my hands and feet for whatever or whomever you place in my life. Amen.


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We All Sleep

Reading: Matthew 25: 1-13

Verse 5: “The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep”.

Today’s and tomorrow’s passage takes place at a wedding. The Jewish wedding of Jesus’ day was different than the weddings we attend today. The ceremony itself would be at the bride’s home. The wedding banquet would be at the bridegroom’s home. In our passage we find the bridesmaids awaiting the groom and his side of the wedding party. They are waiting to parade him into the wedding space with some celebration and excitement. But the bridegroom is delayed, so they wait into the night. We are not sure why he is delayed. One suggestion I read is that the groom and bride’s father could not agree on the bride’s price – another custom that we do not practice in many parts of the world today.

In our passage we learn that some of the bridesmaids are wise and some are foolish. Some were prepared for a lengthy wait and some were not. For some, this was probably not their first wedding. Some brought extra oil in jars and some did not. This fact will have a dramatic affect on both the wise and foolish bridesmaids. The hour gets late. In verse five we read, “The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep”. All ten fell asleep. None stayed awake the whole time. All ten fell asleep.

In terms of our faith, we all fall asleep. Even the most devout Christian has moments or even seasons when they walk in the ways of the world, when they allow anger or pride or some other non-Christian emotion to control their words or actions. Whether just a few minutes or a couple of hourss or a few days or many years, we can all allow or push or choose to lay aside our faith for a time. Sometimes it is almost innocent, like the ten bridesmaids who literally fell asleep. Sometimes it is more planned, more fully considered, more thought through. Sin can be like that.

Then came the call that awakened all ten. Five trimmed their lamps, righted the ship, got back on the narrow path. Five could not. Yes, we’ve all been there – in both scenarios. The Holy Spirit whispers to us, gently nudges us, reminding us of our faith, that treasure in a jar of clay. We return to our walk of faith. But we’ve all also ignored the Holy Spirit conviction and kept on living in sin. We had slept too long and there was no oil to refill our lamps at that point. Today’s story begs two questions for me today. First, when temptation comes, is their sufficient faith to turn sin away? Second, when temptation leads to sin and faith slumbers, will there be enough oil to relight my walk of faith?

Prayer: Lord God, thank you for the reminder and for the call to introspection today. Daily discipline is essential to continue on the walk of faith. Keep me diligent. Also needed is a humble spirit and a willing heart. Only then will I hear well the Holy Spirit. Strengthen my faith day by day, Lord, filling my jar with faith each day. Amen.