Saturday, August 1, 2009
I continue with my story.....
Paul and Barnabas sat silently for a few moments watching Peter finish lighting the oil lamps. Peter then put the candle back, crossed the room and picked up the pitcher of wine. He gestured to the others. Paul shook his head but Barnabas nodded. Peter poured some wine in the cup Barnabas was holding and stopped when Barnabas waved his hand. Peter poured himself another cup and then sat down.
He spoke, "Brothers, speaking of the Baptizer. If he had not spoken up, he would not have been beheaded. But John was not like that."
"Not like a reed shaken in the wind." Paul quoted.
Peter nodded and continued. He was true to his calling. And he stuck to his principles all the way to his death. You know, if he had just remained silent, he could probably been here with us today."
"And we probably would have not have Andrew with us today." replied Barnabas.
"Among others, yes." answered Peter.
"And possibly more important chimed in Paul, "he wouldn't have fulfilled the prophet Isaiah as the one who prepares the way of the Lord."
"Yes," Peter nodded. "And he would not have fulfilled God's calling on his life. You know brothers, I don't know if God is calling us to martyrdom or not, although I see it as likely, but he is asking us to be courageous. He's asking us to set our minds on him with purpose and refuse to allow the daily demands of life to dictate to us how to live."
"Peter, I think you've touched upon a serious point." Paul said as he stood and began to pace. "He's asking us to not listen to all those voices out there that call us to serve pleasure or selfish indulgence. Not that pleasure is wrong, but to embrace pleasure as a gift from God. But never our master. Our calling is missional. Our calling is to share the good news of the kingdom. We must never forget that. Anything that distracts us from that becomes our idol.
We make so many excuses for not sharing our Lord when there is so much to be done. God help us to be optimistic and not pessimistic, to love the world we have been given and for the good that is in it. Our lives should be spent praising what is good and doing all we can to increase it. This world is our responsibility. We must care for it. But it can only be done as we seek first God's kingdom, and his righteousness, then all these things are possible."
"Hmmm, sounds like something any one of us could have written." Peter mused. "And, I'm sure someone will. Maybe Matthew. He's mentioned he needs to send a letter to some of his followers sometime and that seems to a theme with his ministry."
Barnabas spoke after a few moments of silence. "There's one more thing brothers and then I think I'm going to go to bed. There is one more kind of silence that is a sure sign of cowardice."
"What's that Barnabas?" asked Paul turning to him.
Peter walked up next to Paul as Barnabas began to speak.
"Sometimes we are often with someone very close to us. God has called us to come along side with them."
"Like you to me?" Paul said smiling.
"Yes." Barnabas nodded. Sometimes God has put us with a person to be a light for them. Sometimes it is a lack of courage when we remain silent with each other, especially when we've been called along side someone whom God has called to help us grow in him. If we aren't courageous with ourselves to share both our victories and failures then we commit a sin of silence. If we can't share our inner lives with one another, especially with those more mature in the faith or with a group of fellow laborers, then we lose out on so much grace that will build us up in Christ."
"That's what you've been to me Barnabas." nodded Paul. "I have learned so much from you. I can't begin to tell you of all you've done for me. You have encouraged me so much."
"Yes Paul, and when God decides you or I need to move on, he'll let us know in some way."
"True." said Peter. "It might be a good circumstance or even a personal disagreement, I don't know. But as long as you are together, you hold one another accountable to the gospel and thus help each other grow in Christ."
"And that is what attracts people to the faith." said Paul. "People will know we are followers of Christ by our love for each other."
"Even if we have to die for our friends." said Peter sadly. "We've seen so much of that. Our beloved apostle John really emphasized that to me recently. He said he's learned so much from his care for Mary, our Lord's mother. He says she learned so much of that in her life with our Lord. And John seems to have acquired that same mission of love. I never come away from seeing him without having my heart filled with the love he has for our Lord."
"And that is why he has so many followers." replied Paul. "Well, I don't know about you but I'm getting quite weary. Let's embrace and pray together than in our witness to this lost and dying world, we may know when to speak and when to remain silent."
And with that, I close. Fellow travelers, minding our tongues is so hard. But knowing when to speak and when to remain silent is a gift we must seek. I keep asking, "do my words direct people to Christ or do they obscure him?" I pray we may speak the truth in love and be silent when accusations arise. God be with you and yours.
Posted by RichnHim at 9:48 AM