Sunday, March 22, 2015

Not my true home

1 Peter 2:11-25

The first thing we saw when we walked in was the fireplace flanked on each side with beautiful wooden bookcases. It was love at first sight and we bought it. Almost 30 years later this remains my favorite place in our house. Al and I love to sit in front of the fireplace in cozy Queen Ann chairs, a cup of tea on the nearby table and a good book in our laps.

As much as we love our house and have tried to make it comfortable for us and welcoming to family and friends, Peter reminds us, this is not our true home.

I love how The Message says it: Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Even better is the ERV: Dear friends, you are like visitors and strangers in this world. So I beg you to keep your lives free from the evil things you want to do, those desires that fight against your true selves.

When we forget that this is not our home, we feel angry when things aren’t fair. When government officials overtax us or the local municipality over-regulates us we grow indignant. By getting caught up in where we live, in trying to make it pleasant for our family, we get distracted from our primary goal as followers of Christ: His Kingdom come. We complain, blame, and sometime cheat, because after all, this is OUR home so we should be able to do as we please.

Peter tells us: For the Lord’s sake, submit to all human authority—whether the king as head of state, or the officials He has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right. It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you.

I think this is easier to do when we remember we are just passing through; it’s not our home anyway. We must respect authority for Christ’s sake, not for the person who is making the laws.

Recently we moved our office and my boss encouraged me to make my mark on the barren dusty desk that greeted me on my first day. So I placed my beloved family photos around and settled in. But don’t be deceived, Peter reminds me, it is not the man in the corner office who I am serving. I am serving Jesus. Like my home, I can get too involved in my work, becoming possessive about it, forcing my ways on others because “my way is better.” I can feel entitled to slander my boss or gossip about co-workers because, after all, this is my job, they are messing up my work and therefore they deserve it.

Even when the boss and co-workers act foolishly or our clients treat us badly, we do not have to act in kind. No matter what the other person does, our response is our responsibility. We can still submit to authority, be respectful and kind even when the other person does not deserve it. Like Jesus we can trust God to work things together for good.

It is not about the person in authority at all! It is all about me and Jesus. I serve, submit and do right for Jesus, because I trust Him. It has nothing to do with what others are doing.

Father, help me take the time to pause and pray before I react, gathering wisdom and strength from You. Allow me to see the other person’s perspective. Free me to serve because You are worthy, You can be trusted and You love me. And I will give You all the glory.

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