The following are some thoughts that have been burning on my heart for a while:
There is so much coming at us these days, issues and attacks all over the place. It never seems to end! Since our Leadership Conference in Kansas City in April, I have been pondering all of this. Where do I go? What do I do? Why am I tired? Where do I rest? How do we move forward? I acknowledge that we all grow weary and tired, no doubt! But I have also concluded that though we find our small moments of rest, this is no time to rest in our great nation. We have our hope in Christ and eternity, yet we are placed here for such a time as this! So we must put our hands on the plow and keep going! The temptation, however, is to get so hooked on issues, races and “Fox News talking points” that we have a hard time focusing.
Anyone else feel this way? Do I join the Tea Party, run for office, serve at the local Crisis Center, or stay in CWA? We are all activists, and we all see the needs ever so clearly.
What I have come up with is this: choose the hill you want to die on (meta-phorically, of course)! I, as some of you know, am a pro-life focus person, and I will never ever leave that stand! Been advised to leave it alone many times “if I ever want to go anywhere politically”; however, I will NOT! I will die on that “hill of truth.” Does not mean I do not get involved in other issues, – actually more so now than ever I am! So, what am I saying? As long as we are leaders for CWA, let’s do the dang best job we can. We can all wear more than one hat, and I think at such a time as this we must! Let me paraphrase what the former First Lady of North Dakota, Nancy Schafer once said, “When I get to the end of life, I do not want to arrive all well preserved, but rather drag myself that last mile of life, all scarred and beat up, only to crawl across the finish line and hopefully hear those precious words, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.'”
So, through all this above, what I mean to say is, keep on keeping on! Do not curse the darkness (i.e. chase every issue Beck, Hannity or Limbaugh bring up, however greatly I respect them all!), keep lighting that candle. Your work matters, for your state and for the nation! It is being seen, here and in heaven! So, let’s stay the course, listen clearly to the Lord, go where He calls us, not throw stones at anyone doing good, politically or otherwise, support our national staff and each other! We are on the winning side, and if you ever think we cannot restore this great nation, I suggest you ask the British who we defeated barefooted, or maybe the Nazis, the Communists, etc., etc! Yes, these are very, very serious times and the current president literally has taken a match to the Constitution itself. But we have hope in Christ, and a belief in American optimism!
Jesus’ words to the church at Laodicea must have hit some of them like a piercing arrow; still others may have thought that He was “intolerant” and “prejudiced.” His words sting His followers to this day. In a post-modern society; the worst thing anyone can be is dogmatic about their beliefs. The prevailing worldview is consensus-building; a description that meets with hearty approval in the policy-making circles. Those who hold to “traditional” values are mocked, derided and called “racists”, bigots or Neanderthal-types who are holding modern culture back from achieving its “tower of Babel” potential.
Tolerance and “toleration”
G.K. Chesterton, English author and Christian apologist said this about tolerance, “Tolerance is the virtue of the people who don’t believe in anything.” His words mirror what Jesus said to the church at Laodicea – a church professing to believe in Him, but whose actions revealed they believed in nothingat least nothing for which they were willing to take a stand. Josh McDowell stated this about tolerance, “Tolerance says, ‘You must approve of what I do,’ Love responds, ‘I must do something harder; I will love you, even when your behavior offends me.'” He further states, “Tolerance says, ‘You must agree with me.’ Love responds, ‘I must do something harder; I will tell you the truth, because I am convinced that the truth will set you free.'” In addition, he states, “Tolerance says, ‘You must allow me to have my way,’ Love responds, ‘I must do something harder; I will plead with you to follow the right way, because I believe you are worth the risk.'”
A harsh rebuke against moderates
Jesus rebuked the church at Laodicea because of their indifference – their lack of conviction that was born out of self-interest and comfort. This church saw the suffering that other churches were undergoing, and it decided to be a “moderate” in terms of conviction which, of course, by definition is not conviction at all but a narcissistically selfish and childish response to the call of truth. In later years when conquering armies, including Muslims, invaded this territory do you think they respected and cherished these “moderate” Christians? Moderate is not a Christian term. Think about it. What if Christ had said I am a Way, a Truth, and a Life instead of the Truth, the Way and the Life? What if He had said, I will go to the Cross, but not overcome death? What if Paul had said that it was not politically correct to evangelize the Gentilesthat he didn’t want to make the Jews mad at him? What if Daniel had said I will pray to the Lord behind my closed window instead of praying in full view of everyone, including those who plotted to destroy him because of his stand? What if our founding fathers had reached consensus with King George instead of fighting to the death for our fledgling country? What if we had continued to hide our heads in the sand when Hitler was exterminating the Jewish population? I could go on and on; those we remember as valiant warriors were NOT moderates.
Pick a hill to “die on”
One of CWA’s state directors stated it very well the other day: “You had better pick the hill you are willing to die onthen fight to your dying breath.” Jesus is not impressed with wealth, accomplishments or glib words. He does demand truth, fidelity and courage from His followers. He admonishes us to love others in the way He loved usa self-sacrificing love that demands we tell others the truth because we want the best for them. If they spit in our face, we remain in good company; the Lord endured that on the Cross. If the world hates us, it hated Him first. So the question is this, as followers of Christ do we love others enough to tell them the truth? Is the truth important enough to die for? Is the cause of Christ worth submitting our lives? When we hear that someone is “moderate” do we give hearty approval or do we worry about their integrity to the principles in which we believe? These are questions to ponder in our heart because it is our heart that the Lord examines. In Him, Judy Smith