Lesson 10 -- Fourth Quarter 1992
November 8, 1992
© Copyright 1992, Christian Light Publications
Maybe you think you are off the hook since God "obviously" isn't calling you to a dramatic confrontation with the heathen apostates like He did Elijah. Very well, then. How about Amos? He courageously called sin "sin" to a spiritually smug people. In the previous lesson we noted a few sins we are inclined to tolerate and accept in our own spiritual smugness. Likely others came to your mind. Whether you are an Elijah or an Amos or a you, precisely what do you propose to do about it?
Just remember that your conduct is of equal importance to and should harmonize with your profession. Before you go about calling sin by its proper name, deal with it in your own life (Matthew 7:3-5). Hook a come-along to that beam and yank it out. Then, when you go out with your message, take a splinter of it along. It will serve as a reminder to yourself (Galatians 6:1) as well as an excellent conversation piece. "See what I have here? Did you know that you have something exactly like this in your eye, that it is hampering your vision, and that it may eventually totally destroy your ability to perceive reality? I'd like to help you remove it, if you would allow me. I know how. This splinter is an itty bitty piece off the beam I dislodged from my own eye!"
As Mennonites we can become quite smug in our distinctiveness and in our faithful adherence to some neglected biblical doctrines. We may become inflated when we read non-Mennonite publications that say, "[The Anabaptists] re-created a remarkably close replica of the early church." We can even become denominationally egotistical and aloof.
Without a doubt, we have been spiritually gifted and blessed beyond measure. But let's not lose sight of the fact that it has nothing to do with our own merits. Our rich heritage should humble us and awe us. You see, the more privileged a position, the greater the responsibility. What special responsibilities have we received? As you ponder these next three areas, remember that careful stewardship of our current resources results in an increase in resources. In other words, God is able to further enrich our Anabaptists heritage.
Faithfulness. We are prone to despise and squander the knowledge our heritage gives us. God is not pleased with shelved knowledge; He wants it invested. He wants our lives to flesh out the skeleton of our knowledge. For example, we have a strong evangelistic heritage and we know how important it is. If we are not communicating the message of a saving Gospel, we have failed in our responsibility in our privileged position. Another example? Our heritage is stalwart on the "strangers and pilgrims" doctrine. Then why are our bank accounts so important, diverse, and over-loaded? Why are we status hunters? Why must we have the best and the latest? Why all the extras in our rooms and vehicles? Our smugness here may be without foundation!!
Helpfulness. This responsibility is generally overlooked. God has not blessed us so that we can become indifferent and ingrown! Just as Aquila and Priscilla shared their knowledge with Apollos, so we are called upon to help other Christians about us. Anybody can judge and criticize those who don't believe and live as we know they ought; few have the vision, desire, and opportunity to help.
Openness. Conservative Mennonites are notoriously weak here. We have a dismal track record when it comes to assimilating new members from "the outside." What can you do to facilitate the process?
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