Friday, October 15, 2004

Ministers and manatees...

have you ever seen a manatee?

Growing up on "Florida's Nature Coast" I have had the privilege of seeing many and even swimming with a few.

Also known as sea cows, these "evolutionary cousins" to the elephant are quite intersting mammals (not that I subscribe to evolution) . Very peaceful and graceful animals they are somewhat cute in an ugly sort of way.

But there is one thing every manatee has in common - other than their short wannabe trunk-like nose - and that is they all bear scars - multiple scars down their backs. These scars are inflicted when unobservant boaters pass over them, thus resulting in the propeller of the boat slashing their back repeatedly from head to tail.

At times, I think every minister - and probably every christian - bears these scars as well. Their scars occur when sometimes unobservant - often intentional - church members and do-gooders run them over repeatedly slashing and stabbing their back from head to tail...

and then I think about Jesus - the scars that he bore, the slashing that He received and I am reminded that it is "by His stripes we are healed." I am reminded of the words of Paul in 2 Timothy that state: "share in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began"

I am reminded that this life is not about me and my pains or my hurts or even my joy. But this life is about the Gospel, this life is about a grand sacrifice, this life is about serving others - even when it hurts, even when the ones we serve are inflicting the deepest wounds. I am reminded that Jesus said: "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."

I am reminded that "we wrestle not against flesh and blood."
I am reminded that I do not live my life, but "Christ lives in me."
I am reminded that I am to love unconditionally, even as I am loved unconditionally. "To love my enemy" and "pray for those who despitefully use me."
I am reminded that in the end, my life is not my own andthe choice is not mine to make, it is a call to respond to.
I am reminded that I serve a sovereign God who has never lost control and has my life in His hand.

I am reminded that God is good and faithful and loving.
posted by Rick and Christie
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