10/16/19 – Pastor Brian’s Blog –
The other day I was walking to the post office. In order to get to our post office, I must walk over a bridge. Although I have done this many times, this time was different. While I was walking over the bridge looking down at the stream, a memory of another time and situation swept over me.
That particular day I was not walking over the bridge, but under the bridge in the stream. And I was not walking to the post office; I was carrying our granddaughter Olivia. My focus was not getting mail, but getting Olivia to her mom who was down the stream on the other side.
Everything was going fine; we were talking and laughing… until… I stepped into a deep hole and found myself suddenly underwater and so was Olivia. Olivia is in a panic; I am trying to hold her over my head to keep her from being underwater all the while I remain underwater trying to get my bearings.
Although I could not hear her mom, I am told that Heather was “a bit” upset as well. Even Nana was questioning whether or not Papa had gone a bit too far this time. I remember the fear I had, not for me but for Olivia. I was not working hard to save my life but hers! My total focus was on doing whatever I had to do to make it safe for Olivia.
Now I find myself no longer thinking about why I was going to the post office, but my thoughts went to God and how He is always focused on me. And when it came to me living or dying spiritually, Jesus was working hard not to save His own life but He was focused on doing whatever He had to, to give me the opportunity to save mine.
Isaiah explains it well when he writes… He (Jesus) was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering. Isaiah 53:3-10
Every one of us have people in our lives that are dying spiritually, yet where is our focus? Is our focus on getting that promotion, never thinking that the person that can give me that promotion is on their way to hell? Am I searching Craigslist focused on getting a real good deal, yet never offering a gospel tract or a word of testimony to the person that gave me that good deal? How often do we enable or praise our wayward children, instead of standing firm on “the way, the truth and the life?”
I have to say that I continue to be amazed how people respond to the death of their pets. People actually become depressed; people will spend thousands of dollars to give them a few extra months, if not weeks, of life. We live in a country where we will support abortion, the killing of a human soul, but you’d better not kill an animal!
Now, I am not against pets (we have had many pets over the years) but I remember that they are just pets. They are animals which, when they die, turn back to dust. When Isaiah writes about Jesus in Isaiah 53, when Isaiah describes Jesus being “stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted,” he was not describing what Jesus was doing for my pet, or for trees, or for a political cause or you name your favorite passion. What Isaiah is describing is what Jesus did for people; humans – the very same unsaved people that God has brought into your life and mine.
I still remember that day walking with Olivia in that stream. I was willing to do anything within my ability to save her life; my only focus was to get her safely to the other side. That was Jesus’ attitude when He saw us in our sinful state; He was willing to do anything, even die, to get us safely to the other side, to get us from the kingdom of darkness over to the kingdom of light.
As Christians how can our attitude and our focus be any less than Christ’s when it comes to the unsaved family, unsaved friends, unsaved people that God has brought to us. If God was willing to do that for us, how can we keep it to ourselves. Remember of all the things in the world, it was for people that Jesus gave His life!