6/7/17 – 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 family, don’t take them when they are the ages of 1, 3, 7, and 8.  I had a great time but their mom… Not so much!  But if you do happen to go to the Hall of Fame you will see this famous comedy routine played continuously on TV screens.  Now I ask, “‘Who’s on First’ in your life?”

Last Saturday a number of us from my church rode our motorcycles to raise money for the local Teen Challenge facility in Manchester, NH.  If you are not familiar with Teen Challenge they are offer “Christ-centered, faith-based solutions for youth, adults, and families struggling with life-controlling problems, such as addiction.”

We had a great time.  Although it was overcast when we left the church, our phones said that there was only a 30% chance of rain so we were confident that we would have a rain free ride.  Well, as it goes many times with meteorologists, it was just backwards. It should have been 30% chance of no rain as it rained during much of our ride.

But it did not matter; did I mention that we had a great time?!?  I think there was close to 70 bikes that rode with us; we had a nice cookout after the ride. There was a Christian band playing Christian music and a silent auction with items donated by businesses.  We had a chance to hang out with our friends from the church and we were able to raise money for a good cause.  If you are interested you can go to our church facebook page or my facebook page and see pictures of our adventure.

As I was thinking about this today, 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 into the lives of 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 what I like, what I need, on asking, ‘How will this decision affect me?’  We are encouraged to take care of our own needs and put our own desires first.  But, when we 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 a Christian 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 giving guidance.  Too often, however,  if we do not make a conscious decision to live this way, we will  have no responsibility to 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 instead 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, it takes determination to deny yourself, to put to death our natural desire to be self-centered and allow the Holy Spirit to control the moment. Everyone made that choice last Saturday to ride in the rain so that others would benefit.

“Who’s on First” one of the funniest comedy acts of all time.  So my question as I close today 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?  As long as you and I choose to focus on ourselves, as long as 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 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: 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 in the rain would move people off first and towards second!