What does it look like for us to follow Jesus? What does it look like to follow hard after our LORD? I have a mentor who says one of the easiest ways is to “Major on the majors and minor on the minors.” Our knowing of God and living out what He calls us to live out, specifically the lifestyle of our LORD and the way He walked this earth, ministering to the ultimate needs of people He encountered more than just their physical well-being. Our Savior ministered to people’s physical needs but it was regularly with an addressing of their ultimate need for what? HIMSELF.
We must lean on Christ in our daily meditations, looking to Him for our nourishment and certainty, our confidence that we are living for the prize of the upward call of God; we are living for the PRIZE, the LORD, our Savior, our God! More and more lately, I’ve seen my friends beautifully blending their love for worshiping God in song and worshiping God with their actions.
May our lives be a constant dance between worshiping God in Jesus Christ through prayer, conduct, song, and then prayer yet again. I was on the phone with a friend yesterday who is involved in Campus Crusade for Christ – nicknamed now CRU – and he and I discussed how times together as believers could easily cycle between prayer, worship, encouragement from God’s Word, and our action together as believers.
This morning as I read in Job chapters four and five, I was knocked down to a posture of prayer by Job’s accurate struggle with his first responder friend, who had just struggled in silence with him for a week of mourning, but who, with his first words merely spoke of piety and how he would have responded to this suffering better than Job has thus far. Job responds at his heart-level and with honesty, “He who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty.”
Where are we withholding kindness? In particular, are we withholding kindness from any of our friends? Kindness goes a very long way in shirring/gathering up one’s friends for a common goal. What would it look like for us in Tuolumne County to make an over-arching and predominate effort to gather together around Christ’s call to make disciples, and for our predominate method to be showing kindness to one another along the way. It’s not a race to make disciples faster than the other. It’s not about skill so much as our manner of showing patience and kindness, diligence not so much to be accurate as much as to be loving and oriented around Christ. Of course the Gospel will offend many, but offending one another will come more often because our manner is rude and cutting and self-sufficient/self-righteous more than because of inaccuracies in our presentation of the Gospel.
As our attitude here in Tuolumne County becomes more and more local missionaries on mission to show Jesus Christ and then speak Jesus Christ to our actual neighbors, we can’t help but to enjoy each other more. We will have more in common and less to fight over if we are oriented around Christ – knowing Him and making Him known.
May leaders and members more and more blend and regularly communicate inside of and between local churches here in our county. May we become so focused on living out this calling to see one another and the lost come to find eternal pleasure in the sufficiency of Christ that we are absorbed in this Great Commission and the Great Commands to Love God and Love Neighbor.
I know my writing can be simplistic at times, but in this simplicity I’m finding rest before the LORD. God is doing things in our county that are truly transformational. They are God-things, not from human cunning or craftiness. They are explainable only as being of the LORD’s movement and intentions.
Our opportunity is to simply bend and pray together, stand and worship together, admonish and encourage one another in sincerity from God’s Word, and go out together to live this Gospel on the ground out, with Christ and Heaven in our hearts. And then what? Repeat it all over again until Christ brings us home, as a rejoicing and celebrating group of siblings, so excited to be with their Father in person! As a Bride who has longed to be with her Groom and enter into “happily ever after”… but in this case, it’s the real deal!
Father, please renew us in Your Word. May we be speakers of kindness to one another, especially in our most difficult places of struggle. May we be patient with one another as we learn of the darker corners of each other’s lives, and may we stick with the rewarding activity of loving each other through confession of sin and weakness, repentance before the Lord, and daily growth to be free from patterns of sin and at rest in God’s timing and strength with regard to our weakness. May we, in our weakness, find You to be our sufficiency, that even there we may be of some use to show mercy and kindness to those we encounter together as Your children. May the lost find their home in the midst of God’s people, a group of simple people simply wanting to know Christ and to make Him known day-by-day. In this simplicity, may we see Your wisdom, discernment, and glory. May we see our lives marked by the wisdom necessary to encounter each other and the lost tactfully and consistently, and may we express the kindness and compassion You have in store for those we encounter. May we be conduits of Your grace more every day. In the glorious name of Jesus Christ we pray this. Amen.
Grateful for each of you, friends.