December 18, 2014
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
What happens to a person when their life finally lands on a singular priority? What does it look like when a person ceases to have so many competing and conflicting priorities and life comes down to one thing? It’s not that they cease everything else in their lives in order to be more involved in church. No! What happens is their formerly conflicting and competing priorities all become infused with that singular priority. When this happens, no matter how busy a person may be, no matter how many involvements and commitments and activities they may be engage in, everything infused with a singular sense of priority and focus. Life becomes aligned and no matter how complex things may look on the outside, on the inside it feels like simplicity.
In fact, the more focused one’s priority becomes, the more diverse and interesting their life becomes. Unfortunately, we have lived through a long season of history where the church didn’t know how to respond when this kind of priority seized a person’s life. The default response of the church to a person whose life had become infused by the Holy Spirit was to steer them toward becoming a clergy person (i.e. a preacher). It would be akin to channeling every athlete who shows above average commitment and skill on the field into coaching. The church needs far fewer coaches and tons more players.
Staying with the player metaphor, today’s text shows us the possibility of what a real player can look like in this game. It describes what being “in the zone” is like. It looks like God working in your life at such a deep and profound and yet ordinary level that you become charged with the supernatural substance of the Holy Spirit. In other words, you become holy. Now, the problem with the word holy is it has unfortunately become a synonym for “religious.” We must bust these myths! Becoming holy actually means leaving “religious” behind. It means becoming the kind of person whose presence is touched with the presence of God, whose heart beats goodness, whose eyes radiate kindness, whose mind exudes creativity, whose hands create things that will last, whose words are charged with encouragement, whose love becomes brilliant. In short, holiness means a compellingly beautiful life. Imagine the possibilities of this.
Who doesn’t want that? This is what being “sanctified” (which is the bible word for made holy) through and through means. It happens to those whose priority is seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. This is where real repentance (realignment) always leads.
I will close the way today’s text closes: “The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.”
Ok, one more. The Lord lifts up. . . . . . . (your turn).
PEOPLE GET READY! JESUS IS COMING.
J.D. Walt writes daily for Seedbed’s Daily Text. He serves as Seedbed’s Sower in Chief. Follow him @jdwalt on Twitter or email him at email@example.com.
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Hey Mr. Walt,
First, I want to let you know how much I enjoy Seedbed. Over the last couple of years I’ve learned so much from the “Seven Minute Seminary” spots. They’ve encourage me to dig deeper into the topics they present, and also have inspired curiosity, regarding the speaker, and so I have a lot more sound reading material around the house.
Regarding the topic of the day:”The church needs far fewer coaches and tons more players.” Now, I’m not trying to be combative, or even disagreeable, but the thing that keeps going through my mind, reading that quote over and over is: “Perhaps, the church needs better coaches? Perhaps, the coaches shouldn’t be coaches at all, but players? Perhaps if we had better coaches, we would not only have “tons more players,” but better players, therefore, tons more players.”
I live here in Nashville, TN. There is a church on every corner, if not two. Yet, in my world, the world I live in everyday, I’m not seeing the fruit of the Gospels. The players don’t seem to have the right game plan, or understand all the nuances of the plan. It would seem, looking at the world at large, we are loosing the game, especially in the Western World. That’s not only a coaching problem, it’s an organization problem.
Having said that, I would like to give props to a pastor I know, Pastor Keith Sherwood, at the Springhill (TN) United Methodist Church. Keith preaches two sermons every Sunday, at two different churches, in two different locations–with much enthusiasm. He not only brings it every Sunday, but reaches out constantly during the week to those who attend. He brings the Gospel message in both action and words. I think maybe his “real life experiences” before he heard the call have been the difference, and maybe the organization needs to think about that, especially in the “contemporary” Western World. I’m not a member of the Springhill United Methodist Church, yet Pastor Keith is always communicating his friendship towards me. I’ve learned so much from him.
I hope my words are accepted in the spirit of easy, peaceful, conversation, from which they were given.
Jerry– thanks so much for this comment. I couldn’t agree more– we need better coaches. And you are right, the ideal designation would be “player-coach.” I have been using this language lately in order to avoid the use of the “clergy-laity” nomenclature. What I like about the coach/player language is that one does not have to be a clergy person in order to be a coach.
And thanks for the good words about Keith Sherwood. I hope he sees this as this kind of encouragement keeps player-coach types going. ;0)
Appreciate your engagement with Seedbed.
A view from the pew: Today’s Daily Text rings true for me; there is not enough spiritual depth in the pews. Over the last year, I have been pushed to a deeper level of understanding who God is and who I am, and I literally do not know how church “fits in” because I had to distance myself from all things church to gain this understanding; I had literally reached a point that I was more broken and confused than when I had first walked in the door of the local UMC 20 years previously. A couple of years ago I heard it put this way by Bishop Schnase: if a person shows any spiritual depth, they are encouraged to become a pastor otherwise, you have arrived at church when you get to serve on the board of trustees. And even though people with spiritual depth are put on the path of becoming pastors, once they are, they get too caught up in maintaining the institution because the focus of the church is no longer the spiritual health of the person in the pew. It was actually a UMC pastor who pointed me in the direction I needed to go because of his own spiritual depth, but even he boiled it down to “accept Christ and go read your Bible”; he never once talked about the God he knew; he would make a phenomenal spiritual leader/guide/teacher but he was too busy “doing church/maintaining the institution”.
Well said Betsy. Thanks for all you are doing to create a better path for players.