Blown away by God’s grace
2 Samuel 7: You’ve done all this not because of who I am but because of who you are.
The promise God makes to David through the prophet Nathan is an enormous one. His offspring will rule Israel forever. When I see how Saul’s sad story plays out then compare it to this promise of “forever” made to David I find it to be breathtaking. All this blows David away too. He goes into the presence of the Lord to express his thanks. Along with that is a real sense of unworthiness on his part. While David’s done a lot of the right things, this isn’t God responding to David’s deeds. Instead, this is God acting out of his goodness and David responding as he ought to respond. It’s true of me too. Oh how blessed I am! God is good to me in wonderful ways. He’s blessed me, not because I’m more spiritual, or more obedient than others. He’s blessed me because of his goodness. Like David, I’m blown away by all the Lord has done and is doing for me. And, like him, I want to express my thanksgiving to the Lord.
Take Away: How can I say thanks for all the good things the Lord has done for me?
Finding the middle road
3John : Model the good.
Second John is written to a congregation and one of the primary themes there is a warning concerning false teachers who take advantage of well-meaning Christians. Third John is written to an individual named Gaius and one of the primary themes concerns this otherwise unknown believer’s good heart and hospitality to traveling Christian teachers. One letter then provides balance to the other. Christians aren’t to be gullible and stupid as we live in a world that has more than its share of wicked, predatory people. At the same time we aren’t to be so afraid or so calloused that we lose sight of what it means to be people of God who model our lives after one who “went about doing good.” Apparently that’s what’s happened to one man who’s mentioned by John in this letter. Diotrephes, who “loves being in charge” learned the don’t-be-gullible lesson so well that he forgot the practice-hospitality lesson. In Gaius, then, we meet a man who’s found the middle way and his hospitality to God’s people prompts the writing of this short letter. One of the challenges of the Christian life is avoiding the extremes mentioned in this letter and finding the balance where we “model the good.”
Take Away: Christians have to find the balance between being easy targets of those who take unfair advantage of others and, at the same time, being caring, compassionate people.