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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Is Jesus Still in a Stable?

The Magi gave Jesus their best. They didn't find Jesus is a stable. Sometimes I wonder if Christians want to keep Him in a stable when they give Him their leftovers.

Matthew 2:11 (ESV)
11 And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

I have to watch what is given to the church. People will wear out furniture, upgrade something or simply wish to get rid of something at home and bring it as a gift to the church. There have so many old artificial Christmas trees given to the church that we had to get rid of seven or eight of them a few years ago. There have been so many pianos which need repair, so many pieces of furniture with broken legs, so many junked up cars and so many old computers given to the church that I have lost count. People clean out their garages and attics or upgrade their furniture or electronics and bring their refuse to the church. Somehow, what is no longer good enough for them is still good enough for Jesus.

 I'll see a lot of these things coming in after Christmas. Here it comes right after they have gotten the new stuff.

Jesus was born in a stable. He was placed in a manger for a bed. There wasn't enough room for Him to be born inside. Other people and other things occupied that space. The stable was good enough for his birthplace. The manger was good enough for His bed.

Yes, He was born in humble circumstances but is that where He should be kept? Do people think that He lived in a stable all of His life? Why aren't people giving Jesus their best and accepting something less for themselves? Why aren't people giving Him the best and accepting less for their own lives? Could it be there isn't enough room for Him because of other people and other things?

Yet people are very happy with their gifts. They think they have "sacrificed" for the Lord when they have really just gotten rid of their old junk. They take pride in gifts which cost them nothing.

Many people do not realize that we are inviting a very important person to come to our church this next week. They use the sanctuary for storage. They leave collections of old literature in the hallways. They stuff worship bulletins in hymnals. If I tell them that we need to keep the place tidy because of this VIP, many would ask me, "Who is it?" They don't even recognize the presence of the Lord and, therefore, do not really know He is there.

The Bible says that we will all stand before Him to be judged one day. I wonder how many people will hear Him say, "You gave Me your junk." I wonder how many people will recognize how wrong that is. They will say that it was still perfectly good. (So, why did they upgrade?)

A friend of mine had an old organ given to his little church a few years ago. A deacon went with him to pick it up. Both the deacon and the pastor saw that this organ was a piece of junk. The deacon said, "Pastor, you go on. I can load up this organ and get it to the church." So, after thanking the donor the pastor reluctantly headed back to the church. He didn't know what he was going to do with this organ and he didn't want to upset the donor.

The deacon arrived soon after the pastor had gone back to his study. He came in and said, "Pastor, I don't know what I was thinking but I failed to latch the gate on my pickup and on that bumpy old road that organ just fell right out on the road. It must have busted into a million pieces!"

"That's okay," the pastor said, "I just appreciate your service to the Lord."

Both of them looked at each other and knew what had really happened. Neither of them thought that Jesus should stay in a stable.


Craig Godfrey said...

He He the cynicism, I love it!

Does bear thinking about, though...


Anonymous said...

I like your story of the organ that went into a million pieces! But seriously, though, you are bold enough (hallelujah) to put this entry up; I wonder how many of your "guilty"charge read your blog! Of course, when it is the right thing to do, even when the action is unpopular, we have to be bold and courageous.

Although I am not sure if the scenario painted is also the case for churches in my country, I can tell you that, that "throw them away, and change to new ones" is just as prevalent here. Men are wasting resources too readily, an abuse of Mother Earth. But, it is off-theme, as the focus is that our Lord deserves the best, but we just do not give Him the honor due His name.

We are all guilty; I am guilty. It is NOT just things we give the church as giving to The Lord that is included in this lack of honoring God. I don't leave any worn-out stuff at the church, but I did not give Him the best of my resources in tithes and offerings; I did not give Him the best of my time; I did not give Him the best of my attention; and I did not often enough, put in my best performance in serving Him, in worshipping, and in coming into His presence.

But of course, all of these are more worse when it stumbles others, or it burdens others, like the case described by Ps Prentis; servants of God have to use up time and resource to get rid of the junk.

I am not trying to make everyone looks bad; I will have to do the first pointing at myself! Actually, it is almost impossible, if not impossible, to be perfectly honoring The Lord all the time. But we have grow in godliness. It will help ourselves a lot, if we would constantly remind ourselves that God is more deserving than ourselves, that He, be given priority over ourselves.

Oh, how I am speaking to myself!

Anthony Chia, high.expressions

sirnorm1 said...

Thank you pastor
A word in The Season:)