After a long time the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned under their slavery, and cried out. Out of the slavery their cry for help rose up to God. God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Renounce Pagan Ways
But fornication and impurity of any kind, or greed, must not even be mentioned among you, as is proper among saints. Entirely out of place is obscene, silly, and vulgar talk; but instead, let there be thanksgiving. Be sure of this, that no fornicator or impure person, or one who is greedy (that is, an idolater), has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes on those who are disobedient.
We reap what we sow. Natural disasters are one thing, and largely outside of our control. Everyone lives somewhere that can be attacked by windstorms, floods, blizzards, or earthquakes, and if you happen to live in a tropical paradise free of these, you probably have a volcano to worry about, or perhaps an infestation of monkeys who steal your food and cellphones. Politically however, we reap what we sow.
Leaders set the standard as well. When the standards were lowered this past election year, that invited the masses to weigh in with their own vicious, violent, and graceless language – and so they have. Without boundaries, crowds will rush ahead in any direction their leaders take them, so that it is often not the party leaders, but extremist followers that get the whole group in trouble. Many people today want to see our President as that extremist, and by republican standards, some might consider him so. I however, am waiting to see the kinds of followers he makes himself and what kinds of extremes will follow after him, people he would not even claim himself.
I remember my first “D” in college: General Psychology. The first exam in the class was an overview of all the different kinds of psychology. I had taken Gen Psych in high school, had been and A and B student, and was certain I could ace this test without much effort. I have always had a decent memory of what teachers lectured about and was sure we would have some kind of study guide to help us know what to expect on the test. Little did I know… Some of the questions that appeared on the exam were things I had not read, nor even thought about before. I was horribly unprepared, and I paid for it on the final grade. I sowed nothing and that’s what I got back.
We as a nation have settled for empty words from politicians and not stepped up to make our nation better ourselves. Personally, I think it is ridiculous to think that one person can do it themselves, I don’t care if that person is Pope Francis, Mother Theresa, or truly even Jesus Himself (Who was killed and then got most of his followers executed by the very people He came to save!). One person can sow and reap their own rewards. I cannot expect President Trump to make my neighborhood great again if I’m not willing to jump in and do the work myself. We can whine and groan and complain all we want, but at the end of the day, we either make the world better or worse by being in it ourselves.
For too long, we as Christians have been content throwing the name of Jesus around vainly, as if he were our team mascot or star player, and bragging that our team is better than every other one. Yet we live according to the same standards as everyone else. When we face the real brokenness and evil of our world, it looks at us like the false exorcists we have become and tells us “Jesus we know, and Paul we know, but who are you?”
Who are we indeed?
I have one recurring nightmare about college. It is finals week and I walk into take the final exam for Advanced Physics. Now there are some kinds of math that I think are fascinating, but it is the kind of fascination with killer whales and great white sharks. You won’t catch me in the water working with them. I just like to watch other people work with them. I’ve never taken that class and that is my nightmare. I am stuck trying to answer questions when I don’t even understand the questions, and this is going to keep me from graduating.
That is our nightmare as well. If we dig in now we can make a difference and work to make things better. If we choose to not do the work, not show up, and refuse to learn anything, we may end up losing it all.
God calls us to use meaningful words that are backed with real action and commitment.
What problems do you see around you?
What does God think about those problems?
What is God calling you to do about them?