Friday, November 22, 2013

Heavy Lifting

2 Corinthians 12:10 (NIV)
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

My friend Todd works for a major fitness equipment company.  He installs and maintains treadmills, Elliptical machines and various other kinds of universal weightlifting and exercise equipment.
Occasionally he gets a job that’s just too large for one guy.  He might be called on to install dozens of pieces of equipment for a university or he might need to deliver a five hundred pound treadmill to a second floor location.  This is when he calls on friends like me for some help.
I always like the opportunity to get out of the office and do something more physical for a change.  This might sound crazy but I actually find it enjoyable even though the work usually involves lugging around heavy equipment and boxes of weights and assembling large pieces of equipment.
I always get a chuckle too because almost every time I have worked for him I hear the same question from his customers; “So do you actually use this equipment or is it enough of a workout just to move and install it?”
The whole point of this exercise equipment is to make you leaner stronger and healthier.  It reminds me that in the Christian life we’re told that our strength actually comes from the Lord.  It’s His strength on which we depend, not our own.  In the Christian life He’s really the one who does all of the heavy lifting.
Matthew 11:30 (NIV)
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Friday, November 15, 2013

Make Others Important

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, Philippians 2:3 (NIV)

I’m sitting here watching my son, Andrew practice soccer. I have to hand it to coach Bob, he’s a great guy with a big heart and coaching fourteen 6th graders is a lot like herding cats. At times teaching 6th grade boys anything at all can be a real challenge. It seems that most of Bob’s effort is spent trying to get the boys to work together, pass the ball around and work as a team. If you know anything about boys at this age playing like a team goes against everything in their constitution.

I’m reminded that everything in our being works against playing like a team too. Whether we’re talking about soccer or life in general we also tend to, so-to-speak, hog the ball. It’s in our nature to make a play ourselves rather than to pass the ball to another player and share the glory and the effort.

So when we are on the job and the boss recognizes some accomplishment, do we share the credit with others who were involved or do we simply let the boss think we did it all ourselves? When we’re working on a project with our coworkers do we look for ways to include others or do we hog the spotlight for ourselves?

Truth is this team could go a lot farther if these boys would work as a team and play to one other’s strengths. If they could just learn that it doesn’t all depend on any one of them but on the group as a whole they would have an unbeatable team. Really that’s the same challenge we face in life as adults all the time.

Consider today the importance of valuing others above yourself and look for ways to pass the ball and share the glory.

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10 (NIV)

Friday, November 8, 2013

Creation Reveals His Love

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Romans 1:20 (NIV)

We were on our way to school on a typical Monday. As it often goes, we talked about the trees and the animals we saw along the way. My 5-year-old asked her usual questions about why God made some trees short and others tall—or how God makes the water flow in the creek.

Often my daughter asks if we can stop the car for a while so she can further study some facet of God’s creation. Of course, the traffic and our morning schedule are usually not so accommodating to that idea, nor is my agenda.

You see, I try to use our time driving to school for “productive” conversations. I want to set the tone for her school day, so as we chat, I include brief reminders about classroom etiquette, how she needs to follow her teacher’s instructions, and the importance of sharing.

On this particular morning, there was a momentary pause in my lecture as we noticed cows in a nearby pasture. Normally these creatures are specks off in the distance and hardly visible, but today they were just feet from our car.

As I was about to resume my last-minute instructions, my little protégé issued a request: “Dad, do you think we could have a few minutes of peace and quiet to look at the cows?”

Filled with wonder at the sight of the cows, her little nose pushed up against the car window in an effort to absorb the full view. I had to stop and wonder what great truths about my Creator and His loving care of creation I might have missed that morning had my daughter not refocused my attention.

The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love. Psalm 33:5 (NIV)