Thursday, January 29, 2009

My Yoke and Unconditional Love

This is an account of my efforts to put into action what I learn while reading the Bible, an account of my journey to become closer to God.

All went well in Chicago (although it was covered in snow and ice) during my meeting with Sourcebooks, the publisher who now has the license to my Cumberland House books. Great people with great ideas; I’m very excited to see how far they can take the message of my writing given their motto, “A book in every hand.”

If you visited this blog before you may know I have been struggling with witnessing not to strangers and the unchurched but to my own extended family who are not Believers. I’ve received many words of support from you reassuring me God will give me many opportunities to do his work and that my one failure does not doom me to fail all of the time. Indeed, that is good news and it helped to lift the heavy yoke I thought bore down on my shoulders.

Furthermore, during the membership seminar Jill and I attended at church last weekend, our Leader told us of his ease in talking about God with non-believers. To evangelize is his favorite thing to do, he said. However, he also confessed to his own discomfort dealing with others’ grief, weeping and emotional pain, and he is grateful God gives all his people different strengths so that they may minister to those in need according to their unique gifts for ministry.

This too, lightened the burden of my yoke; I am eager and well equipped to minister to the sad, the grieving, the tearful and the depressed. That is my gift. That is how I do God’s work. That is why I’ve been called to the Stephen Ministry, I realize now. While I also know that to spread the Gospel is my duty, it is not my only or most important calling. Today I understand that within my brotherhood of Christians I am blessed with people who have strength where I am weak, and working together we can take care of many according to their needs and our strengths.

Just putting that into words has lifted my yoke altogether. I feel better this morning than I have in nearly a week.

The other day I read Matthew 20:1-28 which recalls the wonderful story Jesus told of the landowner who hired men to work in his vineyard, paying each the same wage no matter how long or short a time he may have worked. Jesus ended the story with (verse 16) “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

What this tells me is that salvation is the same for all of us who work for God; none are more saved or less saved than others because of how much or how little work they do in God’s name, as long as each worked with a pure heart and according to the best of his ability. There is no ranking of men in Heaven; each is loved as much as the other in reward for having answered the call of the Lord.

That is unconditional love. It just doesn’t get any better than that.

Well, I guess that’s enough for today. Thanks so much for visiting my blog, and please pray for me and my family. Now go out and hug somebody!

1 comment:

Nana said...

You are really growing fast. It is amazing how God's Word can grow us. You have special gifts and God has given you a large platform to use those Gifts. Just keep trusting Him. You will have so many opportunities to use them. We are all called to do certain things for God, but we are also given special gifts that not everyone has. Those gifts make it easier.