Robert's Ruminations

The thoughts of Revd. Robert, Minister for Emmanuel, Ilfracombe

Measuring up!

Anyone who has been on a team building course may well recall that one of the exercises that always seems to be on the agenda is when the group is asked to stand on a suspended plank and organise themselves in order of height.  The tallest and shortest stand out straight away but its funny how everyone jostles for position and how someone always thinks of themselves as being taller than the next person!  Whether we like it or not, from a young age we care a lot about how we measure up.  That’s why we always take off our shoes before we get on the weighing scales, or always try to stretch our backs when our height is measured.  We seem to spend a lot of our time wishing we were taller, shorter, slimmer or broader.

 It’s also true that God is just as concerned on how we measure up - not our physical size and shape, but how we measure up spiritually.  To him, it’s not how we look but it’s about how we live our lives that’s important.

After all the emotional roller-coaster of Easter – the highs of the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, followed by the terrible events of Good Friday, the day of his crucifixion – the events that followed on the Sunday we now call Easter Sunday must have given the disciples a real quandary.  What were they to do?  Their Christ had been crucified, but now he was raised back to life.  But where did that leave them?  Many were frightened at what was to happen next.  Would they be arrested and suffer the same fate as Jesus?  Should they just disappear back to their homes and try to forget about all that had happened?  Should they go out and declare Christ was alive?  There was no one there to tell them what to do and they just sat and wondered.  It wasn’t until much later that they felt able to resume some kind of normal life.  They had had the stuffing knocked out of them and they just floundered!!  Their spiritual life had taken a real blow and they didn’t realise that they needed to do something about it.  They needed to ‘measure up’ to Jesus’ expectations of them.

Just as we exercise (well some do!!) to ensure our physical well-being, so we must exercise to develop our spiritual well-being.  How do we do that?  Easier said than done!!  God expects a lot of his people; the main requirement being that we strive to live out the gospel of Christ and follow his example in our lives.  So for most of us, that means struggling to make sure that in our relationships with others and with God we live out Jesus’ command to ‘love others’. 

Love is hard - it requires sacrifice and often doing things that are not always the things we want to do or find easy to do.  Sometimes we are required to love people who aren’t particularly nice or who have hurt or offended us.  But Jesus never told his disciples it would be easy and he has never said to us that we would get an easy ride - but he does give us help.  We have his many teachings and stories of the gospels that point us towards the true nature of God.  We have the understanding of his death, resurrection and kingship of Jesus, the Son of God.  And we have the wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit – given to the world to be our guide in all things.  All of these gifts enable us to live our lives in the way Jesus intends us to live.

So how did the disciples measure up to their responsibilities?  In time, they took the initiative and came through for their Risen Christ and Saviour.  How do we measure up to our responsibilities to our Risen Christ?

Robert.

Overlooking Sin
Choices, choices!
 

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Thursday, 24 May 2018

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