by: Pastor Dan Bergey
I never thought I would be saying these words so strongly: Wake up, Church!
When I was young, I preferred to drown the world out by pulling a welding helmet over my face and fusing two pieces of metal together. I would rather take a piece of metal and a hammer and, over the sound of the air compressor, form something that is useful. But when Jesus Christ came into my life, those things that used to bring “comfort” from the world had to be moved down the list of things to accomplish, and Jesus put me in a place that I had to stand up and speak for Him, attempting to follow the paths that Godly men before me have traveled.
So, Church, wake up! I say that with every fiber of my being. The prophet Jeremiah was told to speak these words: Thus says the Lord, “Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, Where the good way is, and walk in it; And you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ Jeremiah 6:16
While it may seem simple to change the names of sports teams, tear down statues, and change the names of schools, roads, and buildings, it can also be quite complicated. There is a rich history, places from which we came, roads God has taken us down, that are important to remember. And with the kindest voice I can, I say to you: Your faith is at stake as well. We have moved the boundaries that God has put in place, maybe for the sake of inclusion, even greater maybe for the sake of making it easier to live life the way we want to. But by moving the boundaries that God put in place, we are trying to change people instead of the Holy Spirit working God’s transformational power in our lives.
Did you notice the promise when the boundary is our guide for living our life? It says that within the boundary, there is a good way to walk and, in that way, there is peace. Yes, peace. Not turmoil or anger in hopes of changing legislation but, instead, allowing the Holy Spirit to change hearts and minds. The Apostle Paul refers to this same thought in his letter to the Church of Colossae when he wrote: “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
While I do not remember a lot of the words of my great-grandfather’s last sermon, I do remember the passion with which he shared God’s Word. It was not about him or his legacy but rather about the passion with which he lived his life as an example before God and others. That might have even been the reason for me to hide behind the welding mask or the hammer. While I still enjoy those things, they do not allow me the freedom that is afforded me through Jesus Christ to speak to others by my words and, prayerfully, by my life. The writer of Proverbs says, “Do not move the ancient boundary which your fathers have set.”
Wake up, Church! The Bible is a clear path which is also full of compassion for us when we are in need of strength and courage in a world that wants to drown our voice with tones of hate and division. It is also full of passion that gives faith and fullness of life to see what is around you and respond in a way that points to the boundary of God with the freedom to move along ancient paths traveled before us.
Does your life match your words? Do your words match your life? I pray your life for Christ is so loud, few words are needed, but if you do have to use your words, may they direct others to walk down the ancient paths of peace set before us by God and visibly seen by those who traveled before us. May “God be gracious to you and bless you and cause His face to shine upon you.” Psalm 67:1
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