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Monday, March 25, 2019

Who Gave Me The Right....?


What if I am wrong? It happens more frequently than I would like to admit. Usually there is nothing more at stake than the price of a sale item, a wrong turn on the way to my destination, or some other harmless event.

But every now and then...

Today found me at a hospital where I had gone to visit a friend.  He is nearly a decade younger than I am. He has experienced fewer Christmas Eve's, quiet evenings with his wife, and has probably made less mistakes than I must admit to. My friend is very, very, sick. The doctor told him this morning that he has reached the end of his days. There are no treatments to make him well. He will not drive a car, take a stroll, or go to a movie, again. The only remaining question is how long he will last and what will it be like when he dies.

We talked for a long while. We prayed together. We took the necessary measures to put him at peace with his spiritual condition. He believed he is an "official Christ-follower." But I suppose when you get down to the nitty gritty everybody wants to make certain. And so we made certain. As I was preparing to leave he asked me a question. He said that he does not want any drastic, life saving measures. It is his desire to accept what God has brought to him. Lingering is not something he wants to do. I understand that. I think I would feel the same way. He asked me if it would offend God if he told his doctors not to take those drastic steps. I assured him that his Father understands.  He will not be angry. This decision will not affect their relationship. We prayed again and I took my leave.

As I sat in the parking lot a few minutes later I took my time, sitting in the sunshine and reflecting on the last hour. At that point it occurred to me … what if I am wrong?  Who gives me the right to speak for God? My friend is banking everything on what I tell him … how I lead him … the "truth" that I declare to him. How do I know if God minds him rejecting extreme, life extending, measures? I cannot think of a place in the Bible where it says it is okay to stop fighting and run to Jesus. I am pretty certain it is not in there.  Actually, I am completely certain it is not in there.  I've read the entire book multiple times and this issue is not addressed. So. I believe what I told him is correct but I cannot prove it. What gives me the right to speak for God?

I wish I could give you an answer that puts a nice ribbon and bow on top of this conversational package. I do not have one. I am still working through this problem. Nothing in "preacher school" told me what to say at a moment like that one. I have not encountered it in a seminar or heard it addressed in a sermon. What gives me the right?  What if I am wrong? The question seems simple enough.  What if it is not?

 Here is what I've got. God told me to love and pastor His church. He made me responsible for the spiritual well-being of more people than anyone could possibly know intimately. Some I am very close to.  Some I am still getting to know. And in this particular moment I have become acutely aware that I had better walk rrrreeeaaaallllyyy close to Jesus. I had better listen very carefully for "the still, small, voice of His Spirit." I had better spend great amounts of time in stillness before Him learning what He sounds like. How else will I know what He is saying to me when a crises-moment like this one occurs? It is a scary thought. And it is even scarier to think that people look at me and think I am an expert on God. Seriously … can anybody be an expert on God?

I am not wrong in what I told my friend. I know where to go with questions like this. I go straight to The Throne. I do not really believe I might be wrong. That is not the point of this little essay. The point is that there is too much at stake for ANY of us to wander off and fall out of intimate contact with God. So listen close … don't you do it. If you have removed yourself from faithfully presenting yourself before God and seeking His Face … shame on you. Listen to this pastor who is human and mortal and fallible and all of the things that you are.  RUN TO HIM.  He will not be mad. He will welcome you.

I believe He told me to tell you that.


Thursday, February 14, 2019

Stupid Picture Chronicles #71


You don’t have to tell me twice...




Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Stupid Picture Chronicles #70


Because the right button can fix anything ...