Thursday, December 11, 2003

Faith and Freefalling

Mirabeau was a French Revolutionary Statesman who the first time he ever heard Robespierre speak said to the person next to him, “That man will go far; he believes everything he says.” Sincerity is important isn’t it. But, sincerity is not enough.

My brother was second base umpire in softball game I was watching one Saturday afternoon. He made what appeared even to me a really pitiful call. The person next to me thought so, too, and began to verbalize his disapproval in a nice way to my mother who was beside me. My mother responded to the complaints saying, “He might have been wrong with the call, but he was sincere.” Sincerity doesn’t make you right!

Paul the Apostle was describing for the Philippians his “reason to boast” if anybody had reason. He wrote about his zeal for what he believed God wanted him to do (Philippians 3:5-6). When he wrote to the Galatian Christians he reminded them how intensely he persecuted the church (Galatians 1:13-14). He was sure that he was doing the right thing! But he was wrong!

In April 1988 the evening news reported on a photographer who was a skydiver. He had jumped from a plane along with numerous other skydivers and filmed the group as they fell and opened their parachutes. On the film shown on the telecast, as the final skydiver opened his chute, the picture went berserk. The announcer reported that the cameraman had fallen to his death, having jumped out of the plane without his parachute. It wasn't until he reached for the absent ripcord that he realized he was free falling without a parachute. Until that point, the jump probably seemed exciting and fun. But tragically, he had acted with thoughtless haste and deadly foolishness. Nothing could save him, for his faith was in a parachute never buckled on. Faith in anything but an all-sufficient God can be just as tragic spiritually.

Sincerity is extremely important. You will not go to heaven unless you are zealous for God. But sincerity without knowledge will get you nowhere. Only with faith in Jesus Christ dare we step into the dangerous excitement of life.
When You Are the Boss

Ferdinand I, emperor of Austria in the mid 1800’s, was insane; and according to historical accounts, wasn’t too smart even in his more controlled moments. He knew, however, that his position was one of authority, and he could demand whatever he wished. His one recorded demand that is worthy of note reflects his poor leadership quality. He said, “I am the emperor, and I want dumplings.”
You would hope that a man with an emperor’s authority would at least leave a legacy of notable anecdotes. Ferdinand wanted dumplings.
Jesus said that “all authority in heaven and earth” was his. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Did he know that his position was one of authority? Yes, he did; and he did leave a legacy of notable sayings. We call them the New Testament. Some of the more famous ones are: “Do to others what you would have them do to you” and “Blessed are the merciful because they will be shown mercy.”
Did Jesus do anything significant with his authority? Of course he did! He conquered sin and death! He set the captives free! He’s gone to prepare a place for people of faith, and we will rule with him. Jesus knew what to do with his authority. He is worthy of our trust and discipleship. Have you submitted to his authority? That’s Life at Work!