In All Things
Today's Word of Encouragement comes from Office Assistant and CCC family member Samantha Ritchie.
***HOW DARE THEY!!?!! Good grief, I’m already running late to church, now I’m going to have to park the van and go IN?!? Why can’t restaurant workers every get anything right?!? They didn’t even put my sandwich in the bag!***
These thoughts began a rather ugly and uncharitable chain of events which I am not very proud of. I whipped that minivan into a parking space, slammed it into park, flung open the door and launched my full wrath out of the seat. Stomping up the sidewalk and into the doors of the fast-food chain, I wrenched open the door to the startled expressions of a couple seated nearby. At this point the Holy Spirit yanked my chain. You know the moment he sends out a warning that you are WAY out of line and not acting at all like a child of The King? I distinctly remember knowing what I was doing was wrong and that I needed to stop. But I was committed.
So, I ignored the Spirit, doubled down on my rage and marched up to the counter. I began a withering diatribe at the unfortunate soul who happened to be manning the counter that morning. LOUDLY raging, calling the staff “incompetent” and “useless” among other things. DEMANDING my sandwich. The poor young man handed me the sandwich (and quickly snatched his hand back lest I tear it right from his body). I internally winced, but externally glared, turned and stomped out, nearly slipping on a wet patch on the floor. Ugh. I slammed myself back into the driver’s seat and, still enraged, buckled up and drove the rest of the way to church.
As I angrily chewed my sandwich the Spirit was just like, “Wow. Not good.” Pretty rapidly my rage began to congeal into a slimy glop, sliding down to the pit of my stomach and making it ache. It felt an awful lot like shame and regret. Probably because my behavior was shameful and regrettable. That morning had been such a struggle from the moment I woke up and instead of living in the fullness of the Spirit’s leading, and tapping into the power of supernatural Grace that is but a prayer’s breath away, I let the old nature win.
That probably doesn’t happen to any of you, letting bad circumstances lead you into ungodly behavior? It’s probably just me. But in case it isn’t just me I wanted to bring out a passage of scripture which I find reassuring and encouraging.
Paul had journeyed to Macedonia to preach the gospel when he began to get some reports of congregants from the church he helped start in Corinth who were slandering his character and his authority as a Christian leader. So he wrote a 2nd letter to that church with the purpose of defending himself and laying out the truths about ministry. He wanted to remind the congregation that no matter the circumstances of your life, you have been given the power to fulfil the responsibility of being Jesus to the watching world.
In 2 Corinthians 6:3-10 it says: “Giving no offence in anything, that the ministry be not blamed: But in all things approving (showing) ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults (riots), in labors (hard work), in watchings (sleeplessness), in fastings; By pureness, by knowledge, by long suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, By honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.”
Paul says that IN ALL THINGS for the sake of the ministry we must endeavor to not give offense. When people are trying your patience, when affliction (pain and suffering come), when you are in need and distressed, when you have been beaten and imprisoned, when riots break out, you are working like a dog and you cannot sleep, you still have a calling to let Christ’s love shine out. You must practice such godly actions as fasting (and prayer), accessing the fruits of the Holy Ghost, letting your love for people be REAL, and speaking truth in love with righteousness. No matter what people say about you, show the POWER of God in your life by rejoicing when you are sorrowful, enriching the lives of those around you even though you may be poor, and truly LIVING in the fullness of Christ while these earthly bodies fail knowing that because God is our Father we possess ALL THINGS.
We possess all things, my sisters and brothers. In every situation of life we can, by the power given to us by the Holy Spirit, live our lives in such a way that we stand out from the crowd because we have patience, kindness, joy, and truth in the midst of heartache, pain, and frustration. The frightened world is watching and the world is BEGGING for someone, somewhere to be different in a real way that can change their life. To give them a hope and future. Go be Christ to the world today.