Tag Archives: Matthew 5

194 The Just and the Unjust (Scripture 10)

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“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ 44But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:43-45 ESV)

photo © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

 

Veil of Tears 92: Indispensable

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And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black.”

Matthew 5:36

Oh my dear ones, you imagine your worth is above rubies, and so it is. But all is accomplished by God’s hands, not ours. We sometimes push ourselves beyond our own limits because we have made ourselves indispensable in our heads.

Do we not realise that God’s plans carry on regardless of our abilities? For just as our faults are nothing to him, so are our strengths merely gifts to be used. It is good to do the work set before us by the Lord, but there are also others able to do it. If I don’t write this blog which is fast becoming a book, the world has lost very little, and if it were God’s will, people would read something else far more edifying.

I am willing and I work hard when I am able. But there are lots of days in a sick person’s life, when that ability is just not there. There is no strength, no cognitive energy, the hands and head will not co-operate to bring the words to the paper or the paint to the canvas. And God knows this, and he is patient with me, and all is done according to his will, purpose and timing and not at my behest.

When we are sick or burdened or weary, the Lord promises us rest. He does not sell us a 24/7 work ethic where we must push through barriers of pain and fatigue in order to accomplish a task. Always we must build into our lives and careers the possibility of delegation and understudy. This is, I think, especially necessary in the church, where so many ministers push themselves into breakdowns and health problems. Other people can do the work, whatever it may be. Other people are willing to do it. Other people chosen by God to shine and help.

Let us then cultivate a kingdom where when the eye is weary, another eye can do the seeing. If we are truly all one body with many parts, then we can uphold and encourage one another. We can learn to shadow and mentor closely so that when there is a stepping down or a sabbatical or a time of ill health or of maternity, there are others trained and eager, not to take our place, but to give us the respite we need.

How I wish I had learnt this hard truth earlier in life, the value of rest and of play, the knowing of my own smallness and my identity as one of many in the kingdom. Let us not now be so foolish as to pay the price of Marthadom or misplaced humility, or even of disdainful pride, in breakdowns of heart, mind or body. Instead let us watch out for one another and offer help and support before it is asked for, before it becomes a last resort. And let us ask for it early too.

Always do your best, and always be replaceable. Plan for it, even, so that God’s kingdom, which is so precious, need not falter because you asked too much of yourself and set yourself up for a fall, or because you refused to allow yourself the time to breathe and to drink the living water you are always recommending other people need for life. Let us allow ourselves to be human and weak, and see how much more God can do with that truth, than with our illusions.

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Photo from Pixabay

Veil of Tears 84: Unfairness

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“..that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” Matthew 5:45 NIV

It’s not fair! We shout out more often than as adults would care to admit, albeit often silently and to ourselves. But a lot of our prayers, whilst they may be couched in other language, are about telling God how he isn’t treating us fairly. Lord, I really really want to be able to afford a holiday, we say whilst behind gritted teeth we are thinking, why can so and so have a holiday and not me, I’m just as good a person as them, why do they get all the good stuff. Am I doing something wrong? It’s so unfair.

And of course, we do the same with more serious problems too. I do it myself. I wonder why other people have been healed from M.E. and I haven’t yet. I wonder why other people have found a job after redundancy, and my husband hasn’t yet. I wonder why a family member has been diagnosed with an illness I can do nothing about, and everything in me screams, IT’S NOT FAIR!! But fairness is not a kingdom concept. We only have to look at the parable of the vineyard workers to see that God will have mercy on whom he will have mercy. God promises to be just, he does not promise to treat us all the same. And there are reasons for that, and the main one is that we aren’t all the same.

I read a book about counselling once, and the writer told an anecdote about a home for boys who had been expelled from (usually more than one) public school (my friends across the pond, read private school). These were kids used to privilege but often lacking in emotional support. The writer witnessed what seemed two strangely different encounters of boys with the very wise founder of the institution. One boy came to him distraught because his piano was not performing adequately, pleading for a new one. The request was granted. Then another boy came in asking for a new football because he’d lost the old one. The request was denied. When the boys had gone, the writer said something along the lines of, but that’s unfair, the cost of a football is so small, and you’ve said yes to ordering the other child a Steinway!

But the first boy was a musical prodigy whose whole life and future was centred around playing the piano, he practised diligently and he was genuinely distressed that his instrument was not pitch perfect, unlike his hearing. The headmaster recognised his request as a genuine need. The second boy had kicked about ten footballs over into the neighbour’s garden already, and was only asking for a replacement to get attention so he could do it again. No, said the master, the boy must learn that this is not acceptable behaviour.

When it comes to prayer requests, God deals with us likewise as individuals. Even when our request seems reasonable and for our own good, the timing of the answer must be entrusted to the one who knows us best. I believe God wants me well. But I have to trust that he wants to journey me to wellness in his timing and his way, and that this is also best for me. I want healing now, but I will never accuse God of withholding anything good from me, it is not his nature. Nor will I lay on myself the burden of the lies of unworthiness. It is simply that God know me best and he knows better. And I will trust him, and I will wait, and I will try my best to silence the voices that tell me it’s not fair, because I know my Lord is just and he is kind, and that in this temporal realm, we all have to deal with the weather, come rain or shine.

 

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Photo from Pixabay