Wednesday, March 02, 2011
What you do tells the truth about what you believe
It’s going to hit the 80’s today. Nice warm day without a lot of wind. Soon I’ll have to get the evaporative air conditioner up and running. That will require replacing the fibrous filters, as I must do every year. The water is so hard and salty that these filters turn into rocks that must be chiseled out. We will have to wait till there is enough funds to spare to purchase the filters. They aren’t expensive, things are just tight.
I got a chance to earn some money. A Kairos brother knows we heat the house with firewood and mentioned a tree he was going to pay to have topped. I asked if I could bid on the job so went out there the other day. Unfortunately the tree in question requires more skill and ability than I have. Without a bucket truck to reach the high spots I would have to climb the tree and carry the chainsaw up with me. There was a time I did this for a living and would climb to the top, tie in with a rope and harness, and rappel around cutting it down. It was doing this type of work that I fell out of a tree in 1984 or so, broke my back and neck, and sustained the brain injury that resulted in Cherie and I getting divorced way back when. So I’m not in a hurry to risk my life and marriage again, no matter how bad we need the money. Plus the tree hangs over his house and fence so there was a great risk of damage to his property. Others would take the job and take his money, but I won’t so turned the job down. Gary showed me another tree that needs a lot of work and that one I can do. It’s much easier to climb, much of it can be reached from a ladder or even standing on his roof. Fifteen years ago this job would have cost him $600 bucks and probably would be double that these days so I offered to do it for $300. A fair price in my mind as I’m not greedy and can use the firewood collected. Besides that I’m not insured and plan on working slow and carefully. We can sure use the money and will use much of it to buy seeds, plants, and other necessary items to get this farm going this spring. I start this job tomorrow.
The widow called me Monday night. Her friend bought four tomato plants and brought them over for Geneva to plant and care for, saying they could split the crop. Her health has been shaky lately and the doctor just put her on some heavy medications, including a breathing treatment. The nerves in her legs are failing so she has been falling, not good considering the recent hairline fracture of her hip, so she called for help planting the tomatoes.
Yesterday was a real busy day but I was going into Midland anyway so that worked out. These days, with the price of gas, we don’t travel more than we have to. After attending the Kairos planning committee meeting I went over to Geneva’s. She was trembling terribly from the breathing treatment, and probably her low blood sugar contributed as well. My heart breaks when I see her suffering, and she goes through a lot. We spent more time talking than I did planting her tomatoes. She shared some frightening stories of people she knows. Her grandson is in trouble with the law again and his mother is bailing him out and trying to cover the wrongdoings. Geneva also spent about $600 to pay for bad checks he wrote. I advised her to not do that any more, that Jason needs to suffer the consequences of his actions. “Jail might be the best thing for him” I said, knowing from extensive experience the truth of that statement.
I’ll drop by the widow’s house today, after going to see the VA rep about our appeal of their seizing all our federal farm money and income tax refunds. The tomato plants were grown in a greenhouse and must be carefully introduced to full direct sunlight so I will move them out where they will receive more sun. Plus I want to check up on her and she certainly appreciates someone to talk with.
Recently a facebook friend, whom I have grown to love and respect as a fellow servant in the Lord, presented a post about being a pastor. My serving Geneva brought this to mind. I perceive many disturbing trends with these eyes that see so clearly, unstained by previous preconceived notions, a benefit of losing your memories. It seems to me, from what I read in the bible, that a pastor is a servant. Jesus, the son of God, who came down from heaven to die for our sins, showed that clearly by the example of His life. God, in the form of Jesus, washing His disciples feet, spending time eating and drinking with those the world considered trash, caring and being involved in their lives. The trend I’ve seen, that disturbs my spirit deep inside, is one where those who are the shepherds of God’s sheep (us) are separating themselves, standing off aloofly, and purposely not getting close to those under their care.
However, with that observation I must find balance, look at the whole picture. There is no way a pastor of a church, of say a thousand members, can spend quality time with them all. It’s just not practical. Moses went through this and you can find, (I think it’s in Exodus 18 off the top of my head but don’t quote me on that) where his father in law wisely instructed him to delegate that responsibility. This is a fallacy with the way our faith has evolved over the centuries into the system we see today. The original church was a much closer knit group of people, meeting at each others houses, sharing meals and concerns, and being much more involved with each other. Of course, the fact that in those days they were often hunted down, persecuted, and killed, created a bond that we only see in war and other extremes of life.
One of the problems many pastors face, is one of isolation. Often pastors end up being glorified babysitters, nurturing or caring for those who’s problems stem from a lack of maturity, and who have grown up having others fix all their problems for them and thus expect that, not taking responsibility for their own actions. Thus the pastors spend their days running too and fro, putting out all the personal fires these children continuously start, and at the end of the day go home drained and worn out. In the process of all this activity, they often do not get fed, having no one close to share the burden with. The rate of ministers who are burning out and leaving their calling, is quite high. Can’t remember exactly but heard the figure recently.
There are many factors that come into play here, and for each pastor it’s different, but spiritual pride is one of the most dangerous ingredients. It’s hard not to allow that to creep in, and it always creeps in unnoticed, when you have a whole congregation looking up to you as their spiritual leader. They come to you seeking answers to all their problems, they look to you to advise and teach them, and there are always those who place you on a pedestal, loving and adoring you along with getting angry and defending any perceived criticism of you. Our enemy is cunning, and crafty, able to take advantage of any flaw that is found, and patient too, taking a whole lifetime if necessary, to poison and destroy all that is good. In the process of isolation the pastor will often develop a close circle of friends, a small group from whom they draw advice and share personal thoughts. I’ve seen these small groups become isolated pockets and watched as their perception of those around them became judgmental and jaded. Here’s where the poison of gossip, the power of the tongue to corrupt, comes into play. It only takes one person in the group to lead all the rest astray, and as they wag their tongues and bob their heads in agreement with each other, they are unaware of how far astray they may have gone, confident in their righteousness, with each one patting the other on the back in support of each other.
Here's a picture of where I'm working on the drywall over the new bathtub. Someone asked "Do you know how to do that stuff?" and the answer was "I'm learning" Make lots of mistakes but keep on moving forward with it.
Thus they become blind, just as the Pharisees who plotted against Jesus did. One of the most amazing things to me, in my study of the bible, is how many times this blindness shows up, and how extreme it can be. It boggles my mind to even try and grasp the thought process that would lead religious leaders to justify in their minds plotting, and following through on the plot, to kill Jesus, who was doing wondrous things like healing the sick and raising the dead. But that’s what pride does, it blinds you to the truth of your self.
This is why I desire for openness and would like to see all Christians getting together and sharing their hearts. Darkness can only survive in the absence of light and lies only exist when not exposed by the truth. Gossip is done behind closed doors for the most part, and in closed circles of friends, who say what they say in secret, though with often hidden agendas in mind as well. To expose these things brings shame on the purveyors of gossip but this is how wrongs are made right and in the end makes things whole. Here’s a question, a question I want to ask so many I meet, “Do you really believe? Really?” I mean believe that God is and that God knows the deepest thoughts of your heart, that there are no secrets with Him and that we will all stand before God and give an account for every word we speak and that every thing done in secret will be brought to the light for all to see. Do you really believe that? Are you conscious of that every day? Your actions speak to what you truly believe. What you do tells the truth about what you believe.
Time to go.