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Bible Verses

I have two Bible verses I'd like to share with you today. Here's the first:

Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean,
but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.--Proverbs 14:4

Why this verse? I'd like you to think about this one for a minute. I'd like you to consider what areas of your life are you more worried about cleanliness than abundance?

Now, I'm not completely against cleanliness. I have gotten over the guy's dorm mentality of Conger Hall, Ouachita Baptist University. For example, I no longer leave pizza out overnight since it will be good for breakfast. I recognize that socks should hopefully be worn only one day before being washed.

And I think hospitals should be quite clean, as well as restaurant kitchens.

But I think we have an obsessiveness with cleanness in our Christian life. Let's think about it.

In our churches: We spend a lot of money to keep churches clean. To paint them when the walls get scuffed. To polish metal, to clean carpet. And we don't like to mess with that, do we? We establish cleanup crews for everything. VBS is coming, make sure we get plastic down. We'll have to have the youth event outside, it might get messy. We can't have people like that in here, they won't fit with our clean image.

In our family lives: Ever think about the fact that family life can be unclean if your actually accomplishing things? I'm reminded of the old quote that, since I've seen it attributed to many people, will get attributed to none: when the kids went out to play in the yard, the father worried they would mess up the grass. The mother gently reminded, "We're not raising grass. We're raising children." I've seen it that the father reminded the mother. Any way you slice it, your goal as a family isn't to be able to eat off the floor. It's to sometimes eat on the floor while having a picnic. It's not to have nice bookshelves neatly organized. It's to have a family that will pursue learning to follow God, even if they leave their Bibles on the couch.

In our personal lives: I like a nice, organized day. More than that, I should like a day that produces something, though. How many times do we miss our opportunities to live our faith because it doesn't match our schedule? I'm not talking about skipping work. I'm talking about our plan to be at the gym by 5:15, the movies by 7, and so we can't take time. That our 'personal time' is so sacred that nothing dare intrude. That we must keep ourselves perfectly ordered.

I'm just suggesting that we stop confusing useless cleanliness with a good thing. Buildings will survive, schedules can be reordered, homes can be cleaned later. Are we more concerned with keeping things outwardly clean that they are of no use whatsoever?

The next is Nehemiah 6:3 And I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?”

I do, sometimes excessively, involve myself in SBC politics, in ABSC situations, and in my local association. I get caught up in American politics, and pick on my Congressman fairly regularly. However, the Holy Spirit nudged me on this verse today. We have VBS this week at our church. (July 12-16). Beyond that, I have sermons to preach, a flock to feed and shepherd, and a family to be a parent and not a picture for.

So, there are more times I need to look at situations and remind myself, Nehemiah 6:3. How about you? How many times to do you get deflected onto trifles, when you have a great work to be doing?

I wrote this not to discourage or attack, but I have actually found them both encouraging today. Is the house clean? Are you involved with all levels of your denomination? Do you find that somethings just don't fit?

Such is life. Be productive, to bring in a crop to the Lord Jesus Christ. Be focused, and let yourself not be distracted. If we spend all of our time bickering with the world, we'll never do what we're supposed to be doing. Nehemiah could have decided he wanted to be relevant to the lost people around him, and gone, met, discussed. Instead, he saw the task God had for him. To rebuild the city. To strengthen the people of God. Fellow preachers especially, focus on the task of strengthening the people of God. Don't spend your time chasing after each meeting the world demands of you. Do the great work you have. Fellow believers, do the great work you have.

The world has enough of its own people. They don't want to see that Christians are just like them. They want to see Christians are like Christ.

related to this, I'll post the link over to Thom Rainer's blog. Brother Rainer shows in his life that not only can a child overcome a strangely spelled version of a common name, but that child can become president of Lifeway Christian Resources. He's written an article on "What the Unchurched Don't Like About Christians." Very eye opening, especially in the things not mentioned.



  1. Good words for your mom-readers :0)


  2. Thanks! You moms weren't intended to be singled out, though. Funny thing about that. The Word can speak to all of us, no matter who the 'intended target' may be!



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