Asbury United Methodist Church
Love - Share - Tell - Serve

January 26, 2018

Have you ever considered that if we are true Followers of Christ, there are just certain things that should not be part of our lives?  Yes, indeed we are called to be example setters, but it’s far more than this.

          To be a true Follower of Christ means also to refuse to engage in activities or events that would do damage to the soul.  A soul is a terrible thing to harm.

          I will give you an example.  Earlier this week I shared with you my frustration with the cable company.  I lost!

          I lost my battle with the cable company!  It is difficult to admit but my best course of action for now is to be still in the Lord, wait things out and accept for now that this is the way things are.

          My darling son keeps telling me that we are in an odd time of living in-between technologies.  Old infrastructure cannot hand the rapid advancements in technology so for now, this is just the way things are.

          When the cable guy came to my house last month, he inferred that I should go to their office and yell at somebody.  I did…go to their office; and, I do believe that my wife was concerned that I would in fact, yell at somebody.

          But, I didn’t!  I have in the past…yelled at people.  But, I hope and pray that part of this whole moving on to perfection thing is the realization that there is always a more excellent way of living that does not do damage to my soul.

          No, I didn’t yell at anyone that worked in the cable company office.  Instead, I told the truth in a holy and diplomatic way; and, I got absolutely nowhere.

          Even so, upon leaving I did a mental inventory and found that my soul was unharmed in any way.  I considered that an encounter with the cable company where my soul emerged undamaged was an incredible victory.

          To put a finer point on things, I have always tried to be aware that as a pastor I really need to monitor my responses to dysfunctions out in the world.  You know the old adage: You may be the only part of Christ that someone may see today!

          In addition, the employees at the cable company, those on the front desk, those in the trenches, those on the firing line each and every day are just trying to earn a living.  Policy decisions are made far up the food chain from them!

          Even though it may be fruitless to take it out on these employees, and it would be improper to ruin their day by having an altercation, there is a higher calling.  We can be right all day long but what if…what if being right wounds or bruises our souls?

          I say again, if we are true Followers of Christ, there are just certain things that should not be part of our lives?  And, anything that puts our souls in peril makes this list.

          Sometimes, we can be very mad at someone.  It is natural to hunt up some other confederate in misery and lament together.  Usually this only serves to fan the flames. 

          Telling our story of being wronged over and over again only serves to keep the misery alive.  In the process our souls can take a beating.

          Today may be a good day to take some kind of inventory that would give us the status of our souls.  If we feel turmoil or if we feel that we are living in struggle mode, there’s our sign.

          What to do?  What to do?

          There is always someone who is standing by us, ready to offer healing when we confess to him.  Martin Luther called him Lord Sabaoth, his name, from age to age the same.

          And, the end of this verse spells it out: “…and he must win the battle.”  You and I are in a war that we cannot win.  The systematic injustices of life and the cable companies of life are beyond our skill-sets to master.

          But, with the right man on our side, the man of God’s own choosing, he alone will go into battle on our behalf.  (A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, UMH # 110 vs 2).

          Oh, what a savior!  “But if from there you seek the Lordyour God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul (Deuteronomy 4:29 NIV).”

          “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 (Matthew 11:29 NIV).”

          “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul (Matthew 16:26 NIV).”

          Jesus was really big on soul work.  Maybe we should take his attention to this matter seriously.  Who knows, maybe when we’re strong enough, we can take on the Division of Motor Vehicles!

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