Tag Archives: Working Together

Yoked

Living in the Spirit
July 9, 2017

Scripture Reading: Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

At that time Jesus said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

 ‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’ –Matthew 11:25-30

Matthew 11:30 makes my top ten list of scriptures. I am just as guilty as anyone of making things harder,  processing stuff too much, not understanding, if I start with God’s way, my labor will be more fruitful and ultimately my journey joy-filled. We still have a job to do; there will still be hazards on the road, and we still have the challenge of learning to work as one when we are each as unique as snowflakes.

God created us with what Paul calls gifts differing for a reason. I do not do money, have two left feet, and am 5”2” tall. So, I greatly appreciate the gifts of accountants and bookkeepers, enjoy watching ballet dancers and athletes, and am particularly grateful for people who can reach the top shelves in grocery stores.

I probably drive accountants and bookkeepers crazy because not having enough funds to do something in my mind is just a roadblock to be overcome in some way. God created discourse for such events. I learn from them; they learn from me, and ultimately we answer God’s call to build a kingdom ruled by love.

The vision of oxen yoked together is beautiful. While the walk side-by-side one leads, the other follows. Christ is our leader and promises us when we pull with him our work is easy. When we pull against Christ, our labors are fruitless. When we pull against each other, we lessen our productivity.

Prayer: Lord, forgive us when we pull away from you, stubbornly planting our feet unwilling to move forward, or trailing off in a wrong direction. Forgive us when we invest more time in fight each other than finding areas of agreement to tackle. Guide us in your ways. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the new Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.

Bearing with One Another

Anchor-Christmas-Pageant-2010-049-CopyAdvent
December 24, 2015

Scripture Reading: Colossians 3:12-17

As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. –Colossians 3:12-14

I have been “bearing” with myself for the past three or four weeks. I prefer the words “putting up with” myself. The Greek word used in this scripture anechó means to endure, bear with, have patience with, suffer*. There is some kind of virus, one of the common cold type, going around that last for four to six weeks off and on and I got it. The holiday season is not a good time to have any kind of a cold much less one that just drags on. I had my family party last weekend. With that major event concluded, I now must deal primarily with myself and I am not good company.

Recognizing that fact, made me realize how important Paul’s advice in his letter to the Colossians is. We really do not know what any other person may be dealing with at any point in time. Paul is saying when we are working together as the Body of Christ we need to cut each other a little slack and we surely do not need to project our own problems onto others.

Our children’s Christmas program at the church this year was about as flawless as any children’s Christmas program could be and was very well done. My table of friends watching this could not help recalling the fight of the lambs that occurred several years ago where two preschoolers had a rather strenuous disagreement on where they each were to stand as they played their roles as the lambs by the manger. We had a good laugh about it, recognized what great teens they had become and wondering where they are now as adults. What we consider as disasters at the time rarely are and they may become fodder for legends to come.

Prayer: Lord, grant us the gift of forbearance with each other and even with ourselves as we work together toward your purposes. Amen.

*http://biblehub.com/greek/430.htm

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized 
Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council 
of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights 
reserved.

How Do We Judge Others?

Come and SeeEpiphany
Celebration of God
Manifested in the World
January 17, 2015

 Scripture Reading: John 1:43-51

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, ‘Follow me.’ Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.’ Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.’  — John 1:43-46

 How do we judge others? Does it matter to us from where they come? Do we size them up by the clothing they wear, the car they drive, the friends they keep? Is it important how much money they make, property they own, or influence they may have? Can anything good come out of Nazareth?

When I was in high school and college I worked summers at a local chain restaurant. All the waitresses had been instructed to be sure and ask all customers if they wanted a piece of our freshly baked pies. One day I was assigned to work the counter. A man in his late sixties probably, dressed in khakis and a plaid shirt sat down at the counter and said, “I just want a cup of coffee.” As I poured the coffee I asked, “Don’t you want a piece of pie to go with that.” “He said what do you have?” I rattled off a list of all the pies baked that day and he order a piece of pecan pie. He drank his coffee, left me a nice tip, and left the pecan pie untouched. I found out later that he owned the chain and routinely liked to drop in unannounced to check on the service.

One of the greatest challenges God has placed before God’s people is recognizing the worth of every one of God’s children. Not only recognizing but working to assure that each person’s contribution to the Kingdom of God is actualized fully.  This lesson is taught by the example, of Jesus, a son of questionable birth, born to a carpenter, raised in a small unimportant village. He is the Christ, our Savior, Son of God.

Prayer: Lord teach me to respect all your children. Guide me as I work with others with whom I am in synch and with those who see the world differently than I do. Like good music unite us as one, in harmony and in dissonance, as we work together for the realization of your Kingdom here on earth.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.