1997-09-06 - Energy Poorly Spent
Matt 6:26-30 "Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 "And which of you by being anxious can add a single cubit to his life's span? 28 "And why are you anxious about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these. 30 "But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, O men of little faith? (NAS)
We worry. There is no way around it. We fret and fuss over things we have no control over. If worry focuses us to action, to make sure our kids are ready for school, our cars are properly maintained, the rent/mortgage is paid, I have a hard time calling it worry. It is difficult not to worry when a friend, spouse or child is injured or sick. I don't think that is what we are being told here. That is concern, borne out of caring.
Verse 27 is the best example. We have little or no control over how tall we are. We may buy platform shoes or have our shins surgically extended in this day, but the people Jesus was talking to were basically stuck. The things we do today are often for the sake of vanity. There are extreme cases I understand, but that is not what we're talking about here. These are things we must accept and go on with.
1 Cor 9:26-27 26 Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; 27 but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified. (NAS)
Each of us who calls him or herself a Christian runs the race Paul refers to here. The Christian life is a lifelong marathon. To prepare ourselves should not waste our effort as Paul describes here. Worry is one way. Another example has made itself far too evident this week. Today the world said goodbye to Princes Diana, the Princess of Wales. I have heard some conversations that were less than fruitful. In fact, in may ways there were probably harmful to the cause of Christ.
The question asked was with regard to the Princess' salvation. Some asked the question as an expression of sadness, and that sadness is surely understandable. For others, argument was that her lifestyle showed that she could not be a Christian. I ask, who can know what is in the heart of another? There are people who come to Jesus as small children and fade away from Christianity as they grow up. I will never say that these people are not saved. That is between God and that person. Just as I can never be 100% certain about even a close friend, I have even less ability to know the heart of anyone that far afield. I can get indicators from conversations and actions of friends, but even these could be deceptive. We are not omniscient. I will leave that to a merciful Lord.
The point is this, we can not know. It is done and final. Diana's eternity, for good or for ill, is set. To argue the case makes us appear foolish, and maybe even hurtful and insensitive. These are not qualities that will draw others to Jesus. I am pleased to see that the press has given the families concerned some room to grieve. Maybe they are more sensitive due to the nature of the accident that killed Lady Diana and companions. Perhaps we could take a page from their book for a change.
There is a place on America OnLine and perhaps on other online services where anyone can leave a note that will be delivered to the English Embassy and finally to Princess Diana's sons. If you feel lead to, send them a note of condolence and appreciation of the things their mother did that impressed you. Certainly not least of all, pray. There are so many things to pray over in this that are profitable. Rather than beat the air with meaningless words, make them count. Make them a compassionate light in the darkness that might lead someone to you asking questions. Those questions can be used to direct them to Jesus and eternity with Him.
Lord Jesus, It is our hope that Diana is at home with You as we speak. We also know that it is Your desire that everyone accept the free gift of eternal life that You offer. Just as You showed compassion to the widow at Nain, help us to show compassion to those that grieve around the world in our words and in prayer. In so doing, we make take this terrible tragedy and turn it into something wonderful for someone else. Out of ashes and tragedy and sadness, some may come to know You as the compassionate, merciful Lord that You are. Amen.