Sunday, February 26, 2017

Pain: Weakness Leaving the Body

Pastor Terry White welcomed us warmly and began with announcements that included a reminder that Ash Wednesday is this week. There will be a soup and bread supper at 6:00 and special service at 6:30 p.m. here in the sanctuary.

After reading from Psalm 57 we entered into a time of worship that ended with "My Jesus I Love Thee." Darlene then invited the ushers forward to take the offering and introduced her granddaughter who played a beautiful tune on the clarinet. We shared a time of prayer before Terry White preached the message.

Pain: Weakness Leaving the Body

Today's sermon was a continuation of our study of II Timothy. Today's passage was II Timothy 2:3-13. Pastor White began by showing us a photo of a breakwall that the Army Corps of Engineers built at Canal Park to help keep erosion from occurring.

The breakwall image was then contrasted with a photo of the abandoned building that sits askew in the water 100 yards from the beach, destroyed because its arrogant builders didn't think they needed the breakwall.

There's a sense in which God is our breakwall, helping shield us from the damage the storms of life can bring.

Today's passage begins, "Join with me in suffering." Not usually selected as a life verse. Here's the passage in its entirety.

"Join with me in suffering." This is an aspect of leadership. Then Paul uses three word pictures to illustrate some ideas for Timothy.

In verse four, Paul uses the illustration of a soldier to make a point: that soldiers must keep focused on their objectives, and we need to live the same way, undistracted. Keep your focus on what matters.

In verse five Paul uses the image of an athlete who can only receive a victor's crown by competing by the rules. Terry asked us what the rules of volley ball are and cited a number of them. Rules are part of basketball, tennis, baseball and all other sports. The focus of the game is on competing, not complaining about the rules. Rules are something everyone must abide by.

The rules are part of what make the game. Eliminate the rules and what do you have? Chaos.

Then Paul notes the farmer as a metaphor. The hardworking farmer is entitled to get the first of the crops. Paul encourages Timothy to reflect on these things.

Leadership is not always fair. All leaders are subject to criticism. Paul was in chains because of the Gospel. Sometimes we pay a price to do what is right.

Life isn't always easy. For each of us there are moments of crisis, moments when we need someone else to be the breakwall. Being part of the body of Christ gives opportunity to step back into the safe places where we're receiving the necessary nurturing, shelter from the storms.

The goal is for us to grow up and become that shield for others.

Everything involved balance, however. There are times when becoming a shield goes too far and we become enablers who keep others from being able to mature into fullness. This is where we need to exercise discernment.

Pastor White closed by reading once again from Psalm 57.

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