Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sleepy

In the story of Rip Van Winkle, a well-loved, joyful, albeit lazy and unproductive villager literally sleeps through the American Revolution. He unwittingly follows the lead of a spirit and drinks from a keg that puts him into a deep sleep. He sleeps through the war. He sleeps through the growth of his children. He sleeps through the death of his wife and friends. Twenty years later, when he finally awakes, Rip Van Winkle is understandably disoriented. His proclamation of loyalty to the King gets him in trouble since America now bows not to King George III but recognizes George Washington as president. Rip walks around in a fog, unable to reorient himself to the new reality.

There are certainly things we wish we could sleep through. We would like to wake up and find that our situation had dramatically changed, hopefully for the better. The problems of life seem overwhelming from time to time. Unfortunately, we wake up to the same set of problems, in general, that we went to bed with, and this is true no matter how long we have slept. Sleep accomplishes little unless what we really need is rest.

The Scriptures themselves warn against idleness and laziness. Paul himself advises one church which seemed to be having problems with people eager to share in the distribution of free food to those in need, “if any shall not work, neither shall he eat” II Thessalonians 3:10. Paul certainly seems firm about getting people to take care of their own responsibilities.

The Scriptures repeatedly tell us to “Awake!” We are to be about the work of the Kingdom of God, feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, befriending the lonely, comforting the dying, bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ to a lost world in search of hope. That isn’t a task that is accomplished in a day, not in a year, not even in a single lifetime.  The Church (Yes, that is with a capital “C”) has been at it for centuries, and we are to be about that same work every day of our life. Living out the Christian faith involves making that vision our vision, about accepting not just the person of Jesus Christ, but also his priorities for living and our life. It is my hope for 2012 that we be used of God to move the Kingdom closer to reaching those people and that no person within our sphere of influence may be able to say that they have not felt the presence of Christ through our hearts and hands.

Pastor Craig