If you are like me, you have been flooded with messages over the past few days about the COVID – 19 and its impact on so many different areas of our lives. I have been told to stay home, to wash my hands and so keep my distance from other people. I have talked with care givers who are on the front lines and felt a little of the pressure that they are going through as they care for people who have been infected. I have wrestled with the dilemma of how I do my job as a pastor when I’m not supposed to leave my house.
In this blog entry I don’t want to convey even the smallest little bit that I don’t take this seriously but I thought that you probably could use a positive message not related to the virus in any way. When I am going through a tough time, I will spend some time thinking about the positive things in my life. I was doing that this morning and began to think about people who have said or written things that have changed my life. While I take full credit for all the things that still need changing, these people deserve a lot of the credit for whatever growth there has been.
As I write this, I am thankful for each and everyone of them. Here they are along with the statement that impacted me and made me a better person because they were there.
John Stott (Your Mind Matters p. 10)
“I am not pleading for a dry, humourless, academic Christianity, but for a warm devotion set on fire by truth.”
While I was still in my twenties, Stott gave me a definition for my life. I want that “warm devotion set on fire by truth” to characterize my worship and my life.
Dr. Henry Cloud (Integrity, p. 18)
Dr. Cloud talks about the fact that just as a boat leaves a wake behind it when it is going through the water, so we too leave a wake that shows the impact that we have had on other people’s lives.
“Are a lot of people out there water-skiing on the wake, smiling, having a good time for our having moved through their lives? Or are they out there bobbing for air, bleeding, and left wounded as shark bait? In other words, would they say that their experience with us has left them better off for our having “moved through their lives,” or would they say that it has left them worse off? Did they consider it a blessing that they were associated with you, or a curse? What is the nature of the wake? Are they smiling or reeling?”
Dr. Brice Martin (Part of a conversation during my Bible College days)
“Ron, if you are not living with tension in your understanding of the Bible, you aren’t interpreting it properly.”
I like to think that down through the years I have allowed scripture to shape my theological understanding rather than allowing my theological understanding to shape my understanding of scripture. If that has been true then I own much of the credit for it to Dr. Martin.
Charles Spurgeon (Quoted in Knowing God by J.I. Packer, p. 13)
“It has been said by someone that ‘the proper study of mankind is man’. I will not oppose the idea, but I believe it is equally true that the proper study of God’s elect is God; the proper study of a Christian is the Godhead. The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings, and the existence of the great God whom he calls his Father.”
Michelle Crotts (Missionary in Honduras who has positively impacted my life in many ways)
I thought that I would end this entry by returning to the COVID – 19 and its impact on our lives. Michelle is a dear friend who has had a positive impact on me both through what she has said and what she has written. She is currently under a week long 24/7 curfew. I thought that I would share with you her wish as she moves through the uncertainty of this period.
“The whole corona virus thing is perplexing to me. I don’t fear it, and the precautions seem extreme, but I do want to respect the authorities and keep people safe. More than anything I want to be a person of faith and not of fear. And walk day by day, confident of His provisions for me. ”
I am thankful for these lives and so many others who have touched my life and inspired me in my walk with God.