Tag Archives: responsibilities

May 27 – Don’t Play In The Dirt

I Chronicles 26-29, Psalm 127

I went to my great-nephew Colton’s t-ball game last night. (can you say adorable?) I really like the coach. He’s patient as he teaches the fundamentals of the game. The five-year-olds wait eagerly for him to give them their positions. Then, once he tells them where to stand, they run to their place on the field. When he yells, “Baseball ready,” they bend their knees and put their gloves in front of them. Well, most of the time.

At one point Colton sat down and threw dirt on his white baseball pants. Another boy drew lines in the dirt with his foot. Several kids just liked to see the dust fly when they kicked the dirt.

Occasionally, a ball would roll right past an infielder who happened to be playing in the dirt at the time. But, when they are paying attention, every kid wants to be the one to get the ball and throw it to first. It’s not unusual to see five or six of them converge on the ball, grabbing and pushing to be the one to field it.

Coach is working on the concept of playing your position. “You’re on the same team,” he tells them. Then he says, “But good hustle.”

After the game Coach gathered the team together in a huddle. He patted a few heads, gave some high fives. “Good game,” he told them. “Good hitting. I like your hustle.” Then he told them he wanted to work on helping them to play their positions better.

“You’ve got to pay attention to the game,” he said. “Don’t play in the dirt.”

The last chapters of I Chronicles gives the names of people who had positions to fill. Each had an assignment for which they were responsible. And their jobs were integral in the smooth running of the temple’s services.

I thought about that today. Each of us have a position to fill in the smooth running of our churches. Sometimes we might want to step in front of someone who has a different position because we want to be the one to “field” that ball. Sometimes we might get distracted by something or someone and neglect that which we need to be doing.  That ball might just roll right past us.

May we all obey God’s calling and fill the positions He places on our hearts, and as we have opportunity to serve. May we pay attention to our responsibilities. And may we never get caught playing in the dirt when that opportunity to serve is hit our way.

To Wed or Not to Wed

Paul talks a lot about marriage and, as some would say, he doesn’t seem to be a fan. But as I read I Corinthians 7 today, I wondered if that was really the case. He’s asking the question, should a person marry or not? And it sounds like he’s advising against it. But didn’t God create Eve because it wasn’t good for man to be alone? How do you make sense of these two seemingly contrary viewpoints?

I hope you read Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth. I think you’ll agree that the Apostle isn’t talking about marriage as much as he is talking about serving God. A single person can be single-minded concerning the Kingdom of God. A married person has divided loyalties and responsibilities.

My sister Peggy is retired. She attends church faithfully, is active in a Bible study, visits elderly women from her church, helps to organize funeral dinners, takes time to have lunches with unsaved friends. She fills her days serving God. But she always lets her husband know where she is, when she’ll be home, and she schedules her activities around his own schedule of activities. It’s not that she doesn’t have a vital ministry. It’s that she has the added responsibility to her husband.

Our sister Kathy has a full time job, a husband and teenage son at home, and grandchildren she enjoys spending time with. Her heart for the Lord is as passionate as Peggy’s. But the demands on her time and responsibilities offers her less opportunities for other ministries.

I’m single. If I want, I can spend all day at the church fixing food for our community free dinner every month. I can lead a Bible study, spend time searching God’s Word, or spend hours blogging at my computer. I could volunteer at the homeless shelter, take meals to shut-ins, sit with a sick friend all night. And I don’t have anyone living in my home with whom I need to be accountable.

That’s Paul’s point. He’s not anti-marriage. He just wants us to know that married people have divided loyalties and responsibilities. He said he wishes we all were like him, free to serve God at any time of the day or night.  But he doesn’t say married people can’t have an important ministry.

What I take from these verses is a challenge. Before anyone marries, they need to understand what that will do to ministry opportunities. Ministries and marriages have failed because of the difficulty of that balancing act. (Isn’t that why we are warned not to be yoked with unbelievers? Just saying.)

Are you married? I hope you are praising God for the privilege of sharing your life with another. You are blessed. But you are not off the hook. It’s going to be a bit more difficult for you, perhaps. But find where you are needed in God’s work. Get involved in service. Teach a Sunday School class, or get on the visitation team. Sing in the choir, or volunteer to pull weeds at the church. You’ll have to coordinate your activities with your spouse. But do it!

Are you single? I would challenge you to fill up your time with activities that honor God, that further the Kingdom, and that can easily be done by you who don’t have the accountability of having a spouse. What a privilege we have!

The question Paul is addressing isn’t marriage. It’s service, obedience to God, being zealous about sharing Jesus.

May God find us all faithful, regardless of our marital status!

Godly Leaders

I am one who was saddened by the recent Supreme Court’s decision on marriage. I had hoped our leaders would have upheld our laws. But in this day and age, leadership seems to be following opinion, and not always the opinion of the majority.

Ok. That was purely opinion. But I was reminded this morning as I read God’s Word, how important it is for those in positions of leadership to be led by God. Leaders have enormous influence and, with it, great responsibility.

Solomon was a great leader, as we read in 2 Chronicles. But he raised a stupid son whose first act as king was to alienate the people and destroy the kingdom. (2 Chronicles 10)

The people of Lystra wanted to worship Paul and Barnabas after Paul healed a lame man. (Acts 14) But when the apostles told them they were mere men and not gods, the Lystonians turned their attention toward Jews from Antioch who spoke against Paul and Barnabas. The result? The people of Lystra went from wanting to worship them, to wanting to stone them. Just like that.

The Bible is not wrong when it calls us sheep. Too often we follow the leader blindly, without question, without thought. Those of us in positions of leadership, whether Sunday School teachers, CEO’s, policemen, pastors, History teachers, parents… need to go about our responsibilities prayerfully, soberly, intentionally because people are following our lead. People with eternal souls.

Who do we go to for advice? What do we read? What voices are we listening to? Are we leading according to God’s Word, or on the word of popular opinion?

Dear one, let’s determine to pray for our leaders. We’ve got leaders in government, in civil service, in churches, schools, and homes. And, in reality, all of us have leadership responsibilities in one form or another. Let’s ask God to be our Guide. Let’s spend time in his Word, seeking his will, hearing his voice and drowning out the voices that would lead us astray.

I said I was saddened by the actions of our Supreme Court. But maybe this is the wake-up call we Christians need to get involved in leadership positions in our nation. Maybe this ruling will be what the Church needs to stand firm as we follow our Lord. No doubt God can bring something good out of even this, if we hear his voice and obey.

Dear God, I thank you for our leaders. I pray for President Obama and ask that he would be drawn to you, that he would obey your voice for the decisions he makes concerning our nation. I pray for Senators and Congressmen, for court officials, for our military and our police force. I pray for pastors, teachers, leaders of industry, supervisors, coaches, parents. May hearts be humbled before you and may you find us all willing to follow your lead. I pray that you would lay on the hearts of godly men and women to get involved in the politics of our nation. And may your children support them with prayers and votes. And, Lord, no matter what leadership roles we find ourselves in, I pray that we would look to you for guidance. May you find us faithful.