Pat’s Ponderings

Pat’s Ponderings
The Cost of Fifty Cents
‘not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous:”  I Timothy 3:3 (NKJV)
Those of us born during the Great Depression were raised valuing a penny.  We were taught to be thrifty, repair broken things, look for bargains, and all that goes along with saving money.  It is only natural, then, that we watch our charges when we go shopping.  However, whether older or not, it is often a temptation to become upset when overcharged, or when we feel someone is not being fair with our money.
What is the effect of “making a fuss” when we feel cheated? How should we handle such situations?  Do we need to make some adjustments in our priorities?
We often “turn off” a sales clerk or business person when we get upset about an error. Where is the love?  Everyone makes mistakes.  How does the person feel that we are scolding?  Perhaps they have already had a bad day, and now we are making it worse.  They may know that we attend church and they are thinking, “What kind of Christian is that”?  or “Why is that money so important to them?”  The incident could actually keep them from wanting to come to church.  If that is the case, have we caused their soul to be lost forever?
Can we be gentle to someone who is overcharging us?  We should be gentle to others in all situations.  If we are understanding, the persons involved, as well as those who may be listening, is seeing God’s love in action.  That small amount of money could actually be a great investment and worth a great deal if those involved are pointed toward a loving God. 
Where are our priorities?  Recently I told the man who cares for my lawn that I really appreciated him.   “I don’t know what I would do without you!” I said.  He answered, “Oh, you’d find someone else.  He takes care of His own!”  How true!  Where is our faith that God will take care of us when we are in His will.  We don’t have to argue over fifty cents, or any amount. Of course, there are times when errors should be pointed out, but it should be done in a kind and loving way.
Fifty cents is worth a lot when it can help us witness to others.  However, fifty cents in our pocket costs way too much when it has caused someone to turn away from our Lord. 
I’m a Priest!
(And you may be, too!)
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;  who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.”  1 Peter 2:9,10 (NKJV)
The book of Leviticus contains many instructions for Aaron and his sons who served as priests for the Israelite’s.  It is somewhat scary to read of the strict requirements and instructions God gave them.  Some of the instructions were very meticulous.  Personally, I would not have liked being a priest at that time.  
One of the rituals  performed by the priests involved using a goat to symbolically take on the sins of the Israelites.  The priest put his hand on the goat’s head to indicate putting the sins on the goat. The goat was then sent into the wilderness, symbolically taking the sins of the Israelites away.  That goat was called a scapegoat, an expression that is still used today to represent someone who takes the blame undeservedly for another.  In the New Testament, we read about how Jesus became our scapegoat.  He took our sins away.  Now we do not have to follow rituals by priests as in the Old Testament.  We don’t have to go to a priest and confess our sins because we are our own priest if we have repented of our sins and accepted Jesus as our personal savior.  
Being a priest carries many responsibilities.  Since we do not have a priest other than self, we have the responsibility to go to God in prayer for self.  Southern Baptists call this belief “the priesthood of the believer”.  It is almost overwhelming to think of the wonderful privilege we have to talk directly to God! Priests, in the old days, were required to live holy lives.  God requires that of us as well.  Priests were to help others.  We are to do that, also.  Priests were to praise God.  We are to do that, too.
What a wonderful thing that God loves us so much that we can be a priest.  This is true, of course, only for those who believe, repent, and invite the Holy Spirit to indwell.  Amazing!


What if…???


As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’  Matthew 10:7 (NIV)


Does it seem like we are always on the go?  As we go, what if we really did proclaim the message about the kingdom of God?

What if….When we go to Wal-Mart, Country Mart, the doctor’s office, or wherever, we strike up conversations with clerks or customers and get around to asking if they go to church?  We could say, “You seem like a churchgoer.  Where do you go to church?”  If they tell you a place, remark about how glad you are to hear it.  If they tell you they don’t go to church, you could say, “I attend FBC in Kimberling City.  You would certainly be welcome there.” The conversation continues from there.

What if…You can’t tell them exactly how to get there or don’t remember the exact times of meetings?  (Even if you remember well enough to tell them, will they remember?) Wouldn’t it be nice if you had something to hand to them with directions and time of services?  Actually, we do have some very nice business cards in a basket on the shelf in the entry of Main Campus that gives that information.

What if…You just happen to have some of these business cards in your wallet?  After all, we carry business cards for our own personal businesses.  Aren’t we supposed to be about the Lord’s business?  Why not carry business cards for witnessing?  

What if…You always carried some of these cards and stayed alert to opportunities to tell others about our church?  We might see some immediate church growth or we might not see results.  Either way, we have obeyed our Lord’s instructions.  We obey and leave the results to God.

What if… Several, none, or only one comes to know Christ?  The one is someone’s son or daughter.  

What if…That one were your son or daughter?  If we do our part, maybe someone somewhere will witness to our loved ones.

What if…We do nothing?  Do we really care if someone dies and goes to Hell?  God will hold us responsible for what we do or don’t do.  There are sins of omission as well as commission.

What do you say?  Shall we be members of God’s army, and, as we go, proclaim Him to others?


What’s in your wallet?


Pat Lamb

“Love never fails”  I Corinthians 13:8

We practice what we believe; all the rest is just talk.