Thursday, November 20, 2008

Unprepared



"We are not called to proclaim philosophy and metaphysics, but the simple gospel. Man's fall, his need of a new birth, forgiveness through atonement, and salvation as the result of faith, these are our battle-ax and weapons of war."
C. H. Spurgeon


The first real snow of the season falls relentlessly. It transforms our world and we bend to its icy will; helpless.

On my way to work, at a red stoplight, in the cozy bubble of my old but trusty plum Honda Civic, I shiver at the sight of a woman hurrying across the street in front of me. She hunches her shoulders up to her neck and crosses her arms over the front of her short black jacket. Her feet, trudging through the sludgy snow deepening on the road, are bare except for flip flops. I think to myself, "Unprepared for the winter." On the morning news I hear of people scrambling at the last minute for snow tires; unprepared.

The words of Chris Tomlin's beautiful song, I will rise, play in the background and hit me with their poignant relevancy.

And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles' wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise

One day we will face the judge of all the earth and be brought to our knees in awe and worship. For some the encounter well bring dread. How many will be unprepared? What am I doing to make sure that the people whose paths I cross are prepared?

I recently read the compelling words of Ezekiel and then our pastor preached on the same passage on Sunday:

Ezekiel 33:7-9 (The Message)
The Message (MSG)
by Eugene H. Peterson
7-9 "You, son of man, are the watchman. I've made you a watchman for Israel. The minute you hear a message from me, warn them. If I say to the wicked, 'Wicked man, wicked woman, you're on the fast track to death!' and you don't speak up and warn the wicked to change their ways, the wicked will die unwarned in their sins and I'll hold you responsible for their bloodshed. But if you warn the wicked to change their ways and they don't do it, they'll die in their sins well-warned and at least you will have saved your own life.

And I thought back to some video clips I'd watched last week of the actor Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort, a preacher, talking to people on the street about the 10 Commandments. Most people only knew one or two of them, if that, but when told what they were, they had to admit they had broken many of them, if not all, especially when interpreted by Jesus' standard:

Matthew 5:22 (The Message)
The Message (MSG)
by Eugene H. Peterson
21-22"You're familiar with the command to the ancients, 'Do not murder.' I'm telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother 'idiot!' and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell 'stupid!' at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill.

Kirk and Ray used the law, not to condemn people, but to show them their need of a Saviour and then show them that the price for our sin has been paid by Jesus. The good news of the gospel is that if only we repent, turn away and choose to live the rest of our lives in relatonship with God, we need never dread facing him.

Galatians 3:24 (21st Century King James Version)
24Therefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

A woman crosses the street in flip-flops, bare feet in the snow; unprepared...and I shiver.

6 comments:

Susan said...

Sober words and compelling.

Meg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meg said...

Well said. Much to do.

Angcat said...

And your post made me shiver. We do have much to do. The Ezekiel scripture was compelling too...

Night Owl said...

:( words do kill... i hope more people figure out the immense power held in language soon. :(
sticks and stones break my bones but words may never hurt me really doesn't hold much truth at all... i mean, i suppose it does aim to put power into the "thinker" of this phrase and thus take the power out of the "bully"... but i don't really think it works, especially in cases when the words are so repeated and drilled into the listener... the shield eventually becomes worn out.
i'm just not sure how much of the choice is ours.

Belinda said...

Yes, Night Owl, words can be like deadly missiles, with power we don't realize. I agree that the responsibility is with the speaker, and they; we all; will be held responsible for how we use the wonderful gift of words.