Monday, October 24, 2011

Ignoring The Grapes

Just as the Israelite people were about to enter the Promised Land, God had Moses send out 12 spies to do a bit of reconnaissance. They were to check things out. It was a smart move. They were about to take over the land that God had promised and it made sense for the people to have an idea of the task that was in front of them. When the spies came back they gave a mixed review. "The land is flowing with milk and honey (it sounds sticky). There were plenty of fruit like pomegranates and figs. And the grapes were as big as soccer balls."


"The people there are huge and strong. We look like grasshoppers in their eyes. They will squash us like those soccer ball sized grapes."

This past Sunday at my church, Pastor Chris' sermon did an excellent example of pointing out how we can tend to do the same thing that the Israelite people did in ignoring the positive report and focusing on the negative.

I have to admit that I am guilty as charged. Right after listening to his sermon I proceeded to be an excellent example of this. I was leading the singing at church and we had a guest play during the offering. This guest is a very good pianist and singer. Right after the offering the pastor gives a blessing to the people and then we play our last song. I turned to the guest pianist and gave him the music for the last song. My initial thought was that he was sitting there at the piano and it might be good to have him play along.

I am an intermediate guitarist and singer. Not great but good enough to lead the singing at our church. This guest is really good. Intimidatingly good. For a variety of reasons we switched drummers for the last couple of songs. So now I am leading a song in church with a pianist that I have never played with and a drummer that I had not practiced with. All of this struck me in the brief moment that it took to turn around after handing him the music. And I was intimidated. Very intimidated. So I proceeded to announce to the people that this might not go well because we had not practiced. 

I made this announcement hoping that the church would give me a bit of grace if things didn't go well. And in making that announcement I ignored the fact that this church has grace in abundance. If the normal grace that people have is a grape then my church has grapes the size of soccer balls. 

Part of being human is that it can be far to easy to look at the negative or the intimidating. In a certain sense it is only natural. It is part of our built-in self-defense mechanism. Courage is not the absence of fear. It is when we do something in spite of having fear.

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 5:6-8: 

So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

He is saying that we can have courage because the intimidating things that we can see are absolutely no match for the promises of God. Our courage comes from the fact that no matter what happens in this life, when we place our trust in God, that in the next life we will be in heaven with him where every tear will be wiped away and every ill will be healed. 

“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

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