July 7, 2024

The Shepherd's Corner

Oom Anton Tan told me a story that made me chuckled.  The other day while he was at a donut shop, he spotted an old lady.  Wanting to be friendly as he walked by her, he greeted her, “Good morning.”  The old lady looked up and warmly reciprocated the friendly gesture by exclaiming, “Happy New Year!” I guess we will never find out what went wrong: the hearing or the thinking.  Or maybe both.  😊

We don’t always hear or think correctly; God knows that, and we should know that, too.  It is for that reason we need one another.  Salvation is personal; it must come from a personal awareness of our need for God’s grace and forgiveness.  Spiritual growth is not personal; it can only happen if we live with one another in a close community.  We can only grow if we listen to and learn from one another.  Together we spur one another and discern God’s will.

In his book, Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster comments on the words of Jesus in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three gathered in My Name, there I am in the midst of them.” He says, “There was the assurance that when a people genuinely gathered in His name, His will could be discerned.  The superintending Spirit would utilize the checks and balances of the different believers to insure that when their hearts were in unity, they were in rhythm with the heartbeat of the Father . . . . His will plus their will plus unity equaled authority.” God’s works are best done together.

It is in the body, where different parts are recognized and in full operation, where checks and balances are not only welcome but also put into practice, the will of God will be revealed and discerned correctly.  So, it is OK to say “Happy New Year” even when it is still July because what counts is the thought and the joy of saying hello. Afterall, what God blesses is not the greeting itself but the greeter.

Pastor Paul

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