Saturday, February 7, 2015


Do you have a purpose in your life?  A direction that you choose to go? Is there one over-arching goal, or are you currently pursuing other goals that will eventually lead you to where you want to be?

Sit for a moment, and think about your purpose or your current goal.  When did you first discover it or decide on it?  Did you set up a plan to pursue it?  What was your first week like in that pursuit?

What was the first major distraction from your purpose?  Were there others involved in assisting in distracting you?  Were there any there to help you refocus on your task?  How did you handle it?

Paul's focus in his letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 9:16-23) is, in his words, to be "all things to all men, that I might by all means save some."  In this, he is indicating that he emulates the characteristics of the people he's preaching to, that they may be able to identify with him, and hear the truth of the Gospel.  He has to know where they're coming from before he can help guide them to salvation.  His words could easily be taken as hubris and arrogant pride, but that goes against what we know about Paul, the man.  He wants to be able to reach the widest audience possible, and to do that, he has to expand his own wisdom, knowledge and abilities so that he can start people off in a comfortable, familiar place.

So going back to the Old Testament reading (Isaiah 40:21-31) and the Psalm (147:1-11, 20c), we are reminded, repeatedly, of the strength of God, that all things come from God, that we can rely on God - that
"they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint."  Perhaps this is where Christ's mind went after His day at Simon and Andrew's house.

Hour after hour of healing the sick, driving out demons, performing miracle after miracle - and seeing his purpose on Earth being driven further and further away.
35 And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, He went out and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.  36 And Simon and those who were with Him followed after Him.  37 And when they had found Him, they said unto Him, “All men seek for Thee.”  38 And He said unto them, “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also; for therefore came I forth.”  (Mark 1)
Long ago, I lived in Hawai'i, and for the first month or so, I was enchanted by the fact that we would see at least one rainbow a day, and a double rainbow about once a week.  The sign of God's covenant in the sky was a blessing.  After a while, though, it became commonplace, not so special anymore - just another day and more than that - normal.  I didn't have any idea that I was taking that sign for granted, and didn't think about the meaning of the rainbow as something holy, a gift from God.

It wasn't until I moved back to the mainland and didn't see them every day, that I noticed a rainbow in the sky - and traffic slowed down to appreciate its beauty - perhaps even to remember the covenant sign promised by God to His children.  And here in Montana, I was startled one day to hear a knock at the door - my neighbor was telling me to come out and see the very clear double rainbow in the sky.  All the neighbors came out of their houses to watch and appreciate the truly unusual occurrence.  It was actually the main topic of conversation in town for a couple of days.

Performing miracles on a daily basis was a distraction from Christ's true purpose.  Christ made His purpose on Earth very clear in John 6:38-40:
" For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me; 39 and this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up at the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
And while miracles are certainly tools that can help convince people of the truth of God and constant signs provided tangible proof while Christ was here - they would do nothing to help lead those who later found the truth of God through faith.  "Everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him" means more than just those who physically saw Christ.  Christianity would not be where it is today if that were the case.

Christ knew that the miracles would become legend in time, but His preaching, His Word would live eternally.  

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