7/14/2021 – Pastor Brian’s Blog –
Many people my age and older have seen the comedy routine “Who’s on First?” made famous by Abbott and Costello. It became so famous and well liked that in 1956, a gold record of “Who’s on First?” was placed in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York.
If you have never been to the Baseball Hall of Fame you should go and visit. Although I might suggest if you take your kids, don’t take them when they are the ages of 1, 3, 7, and 8. I had a great time! But Judy? Not so much! When you go to the Hall of Fame you will see this comedy routine played continuously on TV screens.
Last month a number of us from our church rode our motorcycles to raise money for the local Teen Challenge facility in Manchester, NH. Even my brother, his wife, and a friend came from Maine to ride with us.
If you are not familiar with Teen Challenge they offer “Christ-centered, faith-based solutions for youth, adults, and families struggling with life-controlling problems, such as addiction.”
There were close to 80 bikes that rode with us. The event is held at the Harley Davidson dealership so Judy and I got to check out the 2021 Harley trikes, which confirmed that we are very happy and content with our 2006 Yamaha Roadliner!! When we finished our ride, we were treated to a cookout and just hung out with our friends from church. Later there were items to buy, raffle tickets to purchase items donated by businesses, all with the intent of raising money for this worthy cause. If you are interested you can go to our church Facebook page or my Facebook page and see a few pictures of our adventure.
As I was thinking about this, my mind went to what Paul said to the local church in Corinth when he wrote… “Everything is permissible”–but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”–but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. (1 Corinthians 10:23-24)
As the pastor of our little church I was very proud of the people that would take a day out of their already full lives to invest their life to help others. Others, by the way, we did not even know. Paul says that as Christians we are obligated to view our actions in light of how those actions will affect other people. This thought seems to be just the opposite of the culture we live in today.
We are living in a time where much emphasis is placed on self: my likes, my needs, making sure I know how each decision will affect me. We are encouraged to take care of our own needs and put our own desires first. Yet as Christians when we chose to do that, it promotes sin, which promotes independence from others. It isolates us from others and separates us from those we could actually help and minister to. As followers of Christ we are designed for interdependence while Satan is always trying to get us to live independent of others.
I am a firm believer that in His sovereignty God brings every person into our lives for a purpose. At times it might be just a kind word or a brief encouraging act. Other times it might be an investment of time, money, or the opportunity to give guidance. Too often, however, if we do not make a conscious decision to live this way, we will take no responsibility for others, causing us to believe that the surface conversation is God’s ideal relationship.
Yet Paul writes that, although everything is permissible, it does not give us permission to neglect the responsibility that we have towards others… “Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.”
We have a mandate from God to live not for ourselves first, but for others. When we ask someone, “How are you doing” let’s ask not with the idea of, ‘I hope they say good,’ but with the idea of, ‘how I can minister to this person or this family that God has just brought into my presence.’
It doesn’t just happen, it takes work. We must determine to deny ourselves, to put to death our natural desire to be self-centered and allow the Holy Spirit to control the moment. For example, everyone made that choice on Saturday June 5th to ride a bike on a very hot day so that others would benefit.
“Who’s on First” is one of the funniest comedy acts of all time. So my question is this, “Who is ‘on first’ in your life?” Who has God placed before you that He wants you to help move forward? Who has God placed in your life that He wants you to invest in? When we chose to focus on ourselves (when we remain oblivious to the needs of others), we will leave those people on first.
As a pastor I am proud that we were able to ride our motorcycles for Teen Challenge on that Saturday. Because of that decision we were able to move people off first base and into the direction that the Holy Spirit wants them to go.
Will we know what difference we made in the lives of people attending Teen Challenge? Probably not in this life, but that doesn’t matter because God keeps track of those things. We obey and then God takes care of all the results. Who would have thought that riding a bike on that hot and humid day would move people from first and towards second!