Dear Friends,

I am always amazed at how different people experience the same thing. On the one hand there are people who love and appreciate an event, person or worship service but on the other are those who dislike (even hate) the same the very same experience. Sometimes, when we hear differing accounts of the same thing, we are often led to wonder, whether or not, the two people are talking about the same thing or whether they were at the same event. This, very obviously, has to do with preference most of the time. Sometimes it has to do with what we are used to and feel comfortable with. Obviously, it is okay for us to have those feelings because God has made us all different and we need to celebrate the diversity that we find among us. Could you imagine a scenario where all men looked like me L Taryn would be the only lady who actually thinks her husband is good looking!!!!! No, God made us different for His own Reasons and Purposes.

Obviously, this is a major sticking point though in many people’s lives because we naturally believe that everybody else has no taste in food, music, clothes, gardens, etc., etc., etc. I, for example, have been told quite often, by different people, that I have no sense of style and cannot be trusted to dress myself!!!! I however look at myself in the mirror and think that I look marvellous.

What happens though when we find these difficulties in the Church? When something is not a matter of doctrine or morality of course but a matter of preference? What should we do? As a congregation, we have gone through a lot of change in the last few years. Some of the change has been easy but some has been a challenge. As God leads us as a Church we will encounter even more change and I suspect that it may be slightly more radical than in the past. So what do we do? How do we react to things from a heart perspective? I use that wording deliberately because the heart is where everything begins hey? Once something has found a home in our hearts, it will not be very long before it finds expression in our lives through the things we say, the things we do and the attitudes we hold. Let us look at how Paul dealt with a very difficult and potentially divisive and schismatic situation in the life of the Early Church.

In 1 Corinthians 9v19-21 Paul has this say:

19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law.21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law.

Paul, in essence, is saying here that he always did what was best for the Church. He is saying that instead of insisting on his rights and freedoms as a believer, he forced himself to adapt to others so that he could serve them better and not offend them. He is saying, in essence, that he sought out the Will of God in a situation and did not insist on his own will because he knew that the Church was not about HIM but OTHERS. Friends, I am convinced, that when we are faced with matters of preference, that we need to adopt the same attitude so that Christ’s Church may flourish. We are not talking here of doctrinal or moral matters (or even obnoxious people) but simply what I would prefer.

May it be the prayer of our hearts, that we would ALWAYS consider the good of the Christ’s Mission and His Church above our own. Easy to say but very difficult to do…especially when we join in with the Life of the Church and start running into people and situations that look like me in a faded orange pair of shorts and purple shirt!!!!!

Lotsaluv

Mark


Filed under: From the Pastor's Desk

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