This Is Us: enCOURAGEment
I am amazed and sometimes utterly dumbfounded at what passes for courage or courageous acts on media these days. Micah posed the question: What is good; And what does the LORD require of you? His answer quickly follows: But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God. Other Bible translations say do what is rightand to love mercy. One version says and don’t take yourself too seriously. What I do know takes much courage in our hyper-emotional, over-dramatic, super-sensitive and utterly flamboyant culture is to do what is right, just and loving in the sight of the Creator of the Universe. Now, more than ever, we would do well to ask and actually carry out, “What Would Jesus Do?”
First of all I will say this: The andis crucial and vitally important. We are to do justice andlove kindness. Andis a conjunctive meaning it joins together as opposed to separating or setting apart. God’s way is always the and. Too often in church history this has not been lived out resulting in much harm, death and disillusionment. I think it is a big reason the church has been relegated to irrelevant status in the modern age. Furthermore, our personal relationships have suffered because of the separation of truth and kindness. A healthy, thriving and fulfilling relationship always embraces the and.
Carrying out Micah 6:8 takes much courage. This is where encouragement is a big deal. Many times we will do the right thing when we are encouraged to do so despite our fears. We will do the right thing when we are encouraged by understanding why. For this reason I believe God is all about relationships. He created us to be in relationship with Him foremost. In order for us to comprehend the Heavenly Relationship He made us to be in relationship with one another. This is why encouragement becomes so important.
As Pastor Ed so well stated this weekend Barnabas was all about encouragement. I truly wonder where Paul would be or if he would have had the huge ministry had Barnabas not come along side and encouraged him. In God’s perfect plan and strategy, Paul’s unrivaled knowledge and intellect refined and given legs by Barnabas’ wisdom, people experience and relational skills made Paul the most amazing Apostle of all. Together and individually, Paul moved human mountains.
Perhaps you are thinking, I am not an earth mover like Paul, not a community “mover and shaker” like Betty Anthony but just a simple person, simply trying to live my life. I think it takes great courage to live the routine, everyday life. The great Christian Pastor/Teacher/Writer, Oswald Chambers, repeatedly talks about the true test of the Christ-follower being how he lives in the mundane. It is sometimes easier to rise up to a huge crisis rather than do the Christ-like thing in the day to day of family, workplace or school. It is in the quietness of one’s heart, unseen by others, where the true test of courage resides. From examining my own life, Chambers is spot on.
What is good; And what does the LORD require of you? But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God. I can do this if I have encouragement. We at GateWay can do this if we are encouraged to do so. Within our fellowship, in your circle of relationships, in your Connect Small Group, I encourage you to find a Barnabas for your life. We all need an encourager. Perhaps more importantly (borrowing from a children’s story) if you want a strong body and a strong body at GateWay, take your vitamins – Vitamin B-1 to be precise. Be one; an encouragerthat is.