From Your Pastor, March 11

From Your Pastor, March 11

Life is a lot more vivid as you live it as opposed to just imagining it. Case in point, I knew having a baby would change my life quite a bit, but now I’m seeing just how many things are different (like what a “good” night’s sleep is). One difference is that I now have a lot more responsibility. Beneath every “ought” of Scripture there is an “is.” But, in meeting responsibility, there sure is a lot of blessing. And that’s what I’d like to meditate on with you for this devotion.
 
I didn’t know what it would be like to go into the hospital and meet the little baby boy we were adopting. Maybe angels would start singing? Maybe a spotlight would shine on the bassinet? … But, it was actually nothing like that. A distracted nurse led us into a busy room with maybe six or seven babies and said, “that one’s yours,” as she gestured towards a bassinet in the corner.  We were so uncertain as to whether we’d gotten the right bassinet that it was hard to focus on the full weight of the moment. But, that was when we went from being a family of two to a family of three. 
 
The funny thing about responsibility is that it’s there whether you feel it or not.  The most important thing about Eli coming into our lives is that he did. Responsibility is an objective thing. Even if we ignore it, it’s still there. If we don’t feel like being responsible we still are.  But, in having him and caring for him there’s so much reward.  Those parents who have friendships with their adult children know from experience that those blessings continue to come. Psalm 127:4 points to that when it says, “Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.”
 
A negative biblical illustration of this is King Saul in 1 Samuel 15, who doesn’t obey God’s command to destroy the spoils of war. Instead, he allows the people to keep what is valuable (vv. 1–15). When the prophet Samuel challenges him, Saul protests that the people didn’t obey, but he had! But Samuel responds, “Though you are little in your own eyes, are you not the head of the tribes of Israel? The LORD anointed you king over Israel. And the LORD sent you on a mission… Why then did you not obey the voice of the LORD?” (vv. 17­–19). Saul wanted to blame the people under him. But Samuel retorts that Saul was the king. He was responsible. Nothing else mattered.  No matter what Saul felt, no matter how insecure he was (“little in his own eyes”), no matter whether he consciously ignored them or unconsciously, he failed in his responsibility.  And that allowed the people under him to sin.  Saul should have led because he was king. If he had led, he would have been blessed, but instead he forfeited that blessing.  
 
What about us?  What responsibilities has God given us?
 
Beneath every “ought” of Scripture there is an “is.” We are Christians, mothers, fathers, students, elders, deacons. Each facet of our identities, each thing we “are” will bring some responsibilities along with it. But faithfulness in them will also bring privilege and blessing and reward.
 
I wonder how many blessings we leave on God’s shelf un-poured out simply because we haven’t looked closely enough at our responsibilities.
 
–Pastor Barry