Monday, October 21, 2013

How Much is Enough?

Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.  The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here.  So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living.  Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see.  Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy.  Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ.  And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.    Romans 13:11b - 14 (NLT)
When I was a student in seminary they called it a “trial sermon”.  It’s a lot like a meat market, where the congregation gets to look over the prospective pastor before they buy.  It’s kind of exciting actually.  You preach before a whole bunch (or a little group) of folks you have never met and they have your life in their hands; it’s somewhat like volunteering for the firing squad.
They sent me a plane ticket and I traveled to central Florida.  The chairman of the pastor-search committee picked me up from the airport, and on the way home I found out I’d be staying with him and his wife for the weekend.  They had a “prophet’s-room” in a loft and they were very hospitable.
It was a wonderful stay.  And, as he introduced me to the loft and the rest of the surroundings he said, Whatever we’ve got is yours.  If you don’t see something that you need, ask for it and you’ll have it.  If you ask for something and we can’t get it, we’ll teach you how to live without it.  Then he smiled and closed the door.
I suspect I’ve learned to live without a few things since then.  It doesn’t hurt.  In fact not having a bunch of stuff to drag through life has been something of a blessing. 
I remember Dr. James Dobson’s talking about how, when he and Shirley were young parents, his in-laws gave them a swing set for their little children.  After putting the behemoth thing together, which had several hundred screws, bolts and assorted other fastening devices, the last paragraph in the instructions told him:  you must check each screw, nut, bolt and assorted fastener MONTHLY to make certain your swing set will operate safely.  Dr. Dobson realized he was not the proud owner of a swing set; that swing set had gained a new slave.  You don’t own stuff; stuff owns you!


Take a good look around at the stuff that may want to own you.  And then decide if the presence of Christ can fit in that scenario.  
Can you truly be clothed with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, and, at the same time, fulfilling every desire of the flesh?

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