Our doing flows out of our being, and our being comes from God's doing, not our own. Who are we now that God has brought us out of darkness and into light? Now that we who were once dead have been made alive? Now that Christ has given us a new identity? We have been made a family of servant missionaries, continually learning to follow Jesus in all of life.
Is all of life meaningless? Is all our work just endless toil, sweat and weariness? What do we gain from all we do day in and day out? Have you ever asked these questions? The Preacher of Ecclesiastes did! Faced with the seemingly vanity of life, the Preacher invites us to examine our own existence under the weight of weary work and selfish gain. Is there any hope for us living here “under the sun?”
If we are going to live out of our true identity as a family of missionary servants, then we must steward the children God has blessed us with to take up their role in the Missio Dei. Imagine what would it look like for us and our kids to embrace a Story for their lives in Who is God, What has God done, Who are we, How are we to live.
The book of Psalms records every emotion that has ever struck the human heart. Love; anger; fear; hurt; sadness; depression; joy--it's all there. We turn to the psalms because it address the full spectrum of human needs. In these one hundred and fifty songs we find direction for our lives and comfort for dark times. This ancient hymnal of praise speaks to us in ways that affect us beyond words. We take this week to dig into Psalm 139 to see that we find our significance when we see how significant we are to God.
From testing in the desert to the agonizing plea in Gethsemane, Jesus demonstrated obedience to the Father's will in the face of evil. It's no wonder that now Jesus teaches his followers to pray that God would deliver them from the power of Evil. And we can pray this prayer with confidence because Jesus has met that power and has defeated it once and for all. To pray this prayer is to ask God to enable us to be his kingdom-people who realize the reality of evil and pain in this world, yet live knowing that Jesus has won the victory over it all.
After James addresses the wealthy and powerful, he turns his attention to the poor and powerless. What is his call to the poor and oppressed? To be patient. This is a message for all of us; no matter how much money you have in your bank account, we have all experienced areas of need or brokenness. How do we patiently endure those times? What is it we are patiently enduring for?
We live in a world of economic injustice. It seems as if the 'rich get richer and the poor get poorer.' The love of money is the downfall of many in our culture, and James is quite aware of this. Money has the potential to cause us to ignore God and to become indifferent to the needs of the least, lost and left-out. The question the Christian community must wrestle with is this: has our wealth blinded us to the things of God? The wealth we are given is to be shared with those in need. As we live in this way, we reflect the kingdom of God that exalts the poor and humble.