Tag Archives: The Body of Christ

The Great Huckleberry Debate

25 Sep

 Read: Titus 3:1-11

“But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.”

Titus 3:9 NASB

 

It was the debate of the century and I had a front-row seat!  Perched atop my chair at the front of the House chambers, I could see the face of every combatant and hear every resonating word.  At times the conversation was so heated that the thermostat had to be turned down.  The face of each delegate was set with passion as they defended their side… and threw huckleberries at the other.  No, the debate wasn’t about taxes or healthcare.  There was no mention of State schools or road repairs.  The question at hand was one of even more vital importance: would the huckleberry henceforth be the State Fruit?

A simple question on the surface, it was surrounded by much deeper issues.  Not least of which was the fact that the measure had the potential to cost the State $1,000,000 or more as textbooks were redesigned to include this new addition to the approved State symbols.  (It is for this reason that the “syringa” remains our State Flower after all these years.  A mistake in taxonomy led the legislature to pass a measure making the lilac our state flower… yet the actual flower which appears alongside the title of “syringa” is a mock-orange of the species “philadelphus”.)

Science and finances aside, the opposing side argued that it was worth the cost of making the recommended revisions for the sake of the classroom of third graders who had proposed the legislation in the first place.  After all, how many young people have the opportunity to not only participate in the legislative process, but to actually see some “fruit” from their labors?

Eventually, the bill passed, but I had to laugh that anything so little could cause so much tension in such an august body.

Such tension isn’t limited to the halls of government.  As believers, we too get caught up in debates over relatively “minor” issues… and when we do, it has the power to split churches and do damage to the name of Christ.  Too often, the color of the carpet in the foyer becomes more of an issue than whether we’re funding missions work in New Guinea.  Debate over the order of service or the instruments played becomes a more central focus than the actual content of our worship.  And concerns over which of two equally appropriate children’s program the church embraces lead to permanent falling outs.  In anger and frustration, we find ourselves unwilling to yield our position and what ought to be a minor issue becomes “the debate of the century”.

Perhaps it is for this reason that the Apostle Paul takes such care to remind young Titus that, as much as possible, such foolishness is to be avoided.  Instead of focusing upon the things which divide us, those who embrace Christ as Lord must focus on the issues which leave us united.  Only then will the Church be free to function as our Master envisioned!

Challenge:  The next time you feel tempted to correct someone for being “wrong” take a moment to ask yourself whether their “error” is a matter of fact or of opinion?  Are you preparing yourself to turn a minor quibble into a major debate?  If God’s Word doesn’t make a big issue of the subject, then you shouldn’t either.  Feel free to express your opinion, but once you’ve done that, let it go.  God will handle the rest… and in the meanwhile, you’ve done your part in ensuring that the Body of Christ stays united and strong!

Bearing Each Other’s Burdens

31 Oct

(The following excerpt is taken from “Retail Ready: 90 Devotions for Teens in the Workforce”, available for purchase on Kindle for $7.99 or in print from Amazon for $9.99.)

Read: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:2

It was a slow afternoon in late October and I was sitting at the check stands pondering whether I should complete the remaining tasks on the “to do” list or leave them for another day.  I can’t say for certain that I remember coming to a conclusion on the matter, since my meditations were interrupted by a gentleman seeking to purchase three cubic feet of potting soil.  “I can’t lift it, so would you bring it in here for me?”

I told him that I would and speedily ran to the next room to retrieve the requested product.  Lofting the rather large, clumsy bag onto my shoulder, I headed back towards the check stands.  Before I made it to the door, however, I was stopped by another gentleman with a list of urgent enquiries.  There being no particularly polite way to excuse myself, I quickly answered each question, then turned once more towards the checkstands.

“Oh, don’t worry about that,” he said, laughing and pointing to the bag I was holding.  “The fellow who wants it is with us, so you have plenty of time to answer a few more questions for me.”

For the next ten minutes, I toted the potting soil around on my shoulder as I answered what appeared to be an unending stream of questions.

What I found most amusing about the situation was that this gentleman (who apparently couldn’t lift the potting soil for his friend) didn’t seem to care at all about how much it weighed when I was the one carrying it.

Unfortunately, many times, as a Christian, I have been equally guilty of failing to recognize the weight of others burdens.  Absorbed in my own trials and struggles, I have been unwilling to take the time necessary to understand and support those who have also been called in Christ.  Perhaps because human nature does turn so readily towards self-centeredness, God has commanded that we pay close attention to the needs of our brothers and sisters in the faith – then act in such a way as to ease their load!

Challenge: How are you doing when it comes to recognizing and bearing the burdens of other believers?  This week, take the time to observe those around you.  Listen to their trials and frustrations, then commit to help them carry the load!

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