I went to a “Bible study” Saturday with my son while my husband and daughter were at Sky Ranch Father/Daughter camp. I say “Bible study” in quotes because it wasn’t really what I consider a typical Bible study. It was instead, “How to study the Bible” taught by Mark Yarborough from Dallas Theological Seminar. If you’re interested in opening up the context of your Bible and really seeing words differently, I strongly encourage you to watch. You can find that seminar here.
It got me to thinking about a verse I’ve heard a few times about making the most of every opportunity. There’s a passage in Colossians 4:5 that reads, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.”
But, what does that mean? What is an outsider?
As a Christian, I take this to mean that someone that is not a Christian. However, just at first glance of this verse, I could have read it as (basically) “Make the best use of your time.” But, that’s not what it says.
I like to go to this website to look up the Hebrew words and try to learn more about what they mean. I find I can go to Blue Letter Bible and choose my translation and compare it to Hebrew. Then, I can zero in on one word and find more details when I look at the Strongs breakdown.
If you haven’t ever used this site, I would encourage you to check it. It’s really neat to read through it when you’re peeling apart words or one verse. (Not to mention that Bible study mentioned above!)
That brings me to another thought and something I’ve really been thinking a lot about. Not just since being diagnosed with this sweet little growth in my head that Jesus is going to take ahold of.
We (as in “The Church”) talk a lot about how craptastic this world is. I’ve heard more in the last 2 years, especially since our friendly little mutant virus, about how the enemy is just all over our world. I saw a post on social media today about The Grammy’s and some artists who danced around mocking/imitating the enemy himself. Then, this morning, I was watching a history documentary about the trial of the Nazi’s and the realization that Jewish people came to recognize as the Germans saw the war beginning. The phrase they used was “The Jewish realized as synagogues were burning that their ‘German neighbors’ were doing one of two things: ignoring what was happening and ashamed/turning a blind eye, or celebrating the success Hitler was bringing.”
Either way, no one was standing up. People were in shock. It kind of reminded me current day and how we as humans (not just Americans) are really turning a blind eye to so much. Where are we when our neighbor needs help? We are so quick to call out each others shortcomings or lay blame, but no one is helping. Even as Christians, we say “I’ll pray for you,” but it’s become such a quick comeback to make ourselves look mightier than thou. And shame on us, for that. We are no different than the Pharisees in that respect.
Our youth pastor was teaching the kids Sunday and used superhero models to teach the kids a lesson about Jesus performing miracles and he had a little Elmo rockstar as Jesus (Jesus = rockstar, after all!) and he had a few superheroes as the Pharisees (Batman and a few others). Anyway, it’s funny how sometimes a youth lesson really sticks with you. He chose Smurfs as the disciples, which I thought was fitting, too, because they’re tiny, right? The lesson was that when Jesus chose His disciples, He didn’t choose superheroes or big tough guys. He went after the broken, the sick, the smaller, the fisherman and tax collectors. He even chose Judas.
I’m not sure if you’ve seen The Chosen, but if not, you need to go watch it. It’s a free series. Just go to https://new.thechosen.tv and you can watch it there. You can also download the app on your phone.
The lesson we talked about in youth group that day was when Simon was on the water, fishing, and had just finished cleaning his nets when Jesus told him to throw back out his nets. Imagine Simon. Exhausted. Tired. Didn’t catch a single thing all night long and here was this guy telling him to try again.
Anyway, enter my favorite scene from The Chosen, because I can imagine it went just like this.
And y’all. I can’t watch this scene without straight up balling. Because it just reminds me how faithful God is. How even in the midst of being exhausted, tired, and knowing I’ve got a freaking tumor, God is in control.
Let that sink in for a minute.
The same God who created the universe, the earth, the moon, the stars, the fish in the sea, the humans on our planet, created me. He knew that one day, I’d have a car accident. He knew that 18 years ago, a teenager would be born that would alter the road my life traveled on forever. He knew the weather that day. He knew the words that I would write here before I wrote them. He knew I would attend that Bible study and He knew it would make me want to do more, read more, and understand more. He knew all of this.
When I watch that video about Simon catching the fish, I think for a brief moment about what it would have been like to be Simon for that moment. Could you imagine? Just for a moment. I probably would have responded the same way. To shoo Jesus away because I was sinful. To realize I was in the presence of Him.
See, that’s where I get back to Col 4:5 and outsiders. We are to make the most of every opportunity. So what does that mean? In my opinion…it means sometimes we are the only Bible someone reads. And if we’re acting like complete doofuses, what are we saying about God? If our tongue and hearts are filled with malice, gossip, and hatred, what is that saying to outsiders around us? WHY follow Christ? Why choose Christ if we act like Pharisees? Why choose Christ if our lives are a miserable example of the love He has for us? Why choose Christ if all we’re doing is slamming the door in people’s faces or pretending to do/say things that we aren’t following through with?
I challenge you, friend. As someone who is struggling with the reality of a brain tumor, I have spent the last few weeks really evaluating what that means. Are you loving enough? Are you serving enough? Are you disregarding the homeless? Are you buying someones coffee or are you pulling your kid away from someone who is pushing a shopping cart because you’re scared? What if you’re the only Bible that person reads? What if God intended for you to be that seed? Are your clothes too expensive to get dirty? Is your car too nice? Are you worried about being seen?
Friends, pray with them. Pray for them. Tell outsiders your name. Love one another. You never know how they got there. Maybe they too had cancer and they are homeless because they could not afford the medical bills. Maybe they lost their home because they came back from war and couldn’t deal with a normal job due to hallucinations. Maybe they take drugs to numb the pain. Friends, offer Jesus.
Love you all,
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