Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘humility’

prayer

The people of God have just demanded new gods.  Aaron, their surrogate leader, has just fashioned an idol – a golden calf – out of the gold the true God had given to them from the oppressive enemies – the Egyptians – he had just delivered them from.  Moses is still up on the mountain getting instructions on how to serve and worship the living God as the leader of his chosen people.  Now, God informs Moses of their disobedience in his absence.  In Exodus 32:7-14, God and Moses have a conversation about what will become of these insubordinates.

God is angry.  He has just been sold out for the inanimate gifts he gave to his people.  He tells Moses about the conspiracy and idolatry.  He says he’s going to destroy the people, exalt Moses, and make a great nation out of Moses.

This is quite an offer.  Forget those infidels, Moses.  I’m going to give them what they deserve for their foolish, purposeful disobedience.  But you are my star.  I’m going to make you great.

Moses is not interested in his own glory.  Instead of accepting this self-serving (and, likely well-deserved) offer, Moses asks God why his is mad.  (Exodus 32:11)  Well, God had just told Moses exactly why he was angry – so angry, in fact, that he was willing to annihilate all of His own people save Moses.  Moses’ question was rhetorical.  He wasn’t literally asking the reason why God was mad.  The text tells us that he was “imploring” God.  He was desperately interceding on behalf of his people – people whom, at this point, God would not even own.  In Exodus 32:7, God refers to them as “your people” meaning Moses’ people, not his own.  In turn, in 32:11, Moses returns calling them “your people” meaning God’s.  Can’t you hear Moses’ desperate plea?  These ARE your people, God!  Save them!

Moses goes on.  He pleads with God to stop being angry; to save them.

Here is a lesson for us.  We cannot save people, but we can work to win souls.  However, we cannot work to win souls with whom we are actively angry.  It is a God-like attribute to be righteously angry when people sin.  But the only way to help sinners be saved from sure destruction – the rightful penalty for their/our sin – is to turn from our anger and to intercede on their behalf; to seek to save them from being lost.  This is what Moses does; it’s what he begs God to do.  He does it by denying the opportunity God gives him for his own glory and exaltation.  I believe this shows us that we cannot have it both ways.  We cannot desire self-promotion if our heart is truly set on bringing salvation to others.  We have to pick one or the other.  God exalts the humble in due time, but our agenda cannot have both self-promotion and others’ salvation written on it together.  They are mutually exclusive goals.  Pick one.

Moses uses God’s reputation as the catalyst for answering his prayers.  What will the Egyptians think, God? What will the world think, God?  When your people die because you have destroyed them?  That’s not who YOU are, God.

We ought to follow Moses’ example.  Because it’s not about those who are in need of mercy being deserving – none of us ever are.  It’s about the character, reputation, and integrity of the one giving mercy to the underserved.  We must turn from our own righteous anger over other men’s sins for the sake of our own good name.  We must intercede for them and implore God’s mercy on the unrighteous for the sake of his glory, not theirs.  And we, like Moses, must consider their salvation as of greater worth than our own advancement.  This is how a humble person leads.

Moses wasn’t looking out for number one.  Moses was always most concerned with God’s people and their welfare.  Matthew Henry says of him, “Had Moses been of a narrow, selfish spirit, he would have closed with this offer; but he prefers the salvation of Israel before the advancement of his own family.  Here was a man fit to be a governor.”

Because of Moses’ righteous actions in the face of others’ unrighteous actions, God had mercy on the unrighteous.  Let the same be said of us.

“And the Lord relented from the disaster that he had spoken of bringing on his people.” ~Exodus 32:14

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

altar

In Exodus 20:22-26, we find Moses meeting with God.  He has just walked into the darkness after God has given the 10 Commandments and all the people are afraid.  Moses is elected mediator and he enters God’s presence on Mt. Sinai.  Here, God begins to expound about the commands he just gave.  In this passage, we find God giving details as to how to carry out worship to him and how to avoid breaking the first two commandments he has just given.

22 And the Lord said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the people of Israel: ‘You have seen for yourselves that I have talked with you from heaven. 23 You shall not make gods of silver to be with me, nor shall you make for yourselves gods of gold. 24 An altar of earth you shall make for me and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen. In every place where I cause my name to be remembered I will come to you and bless you. 25 If you make me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn stones, for if you wield your tool on it you profane it. 26 And you shall not go up by steps to my altar, that your nakedness be not exposed on it.’ ~Exodus 20:22-26

In verse 22, God instructs Moses to tell His people that because they have seen for themselves that he has come down and condescended them from heaven – because they have personally witnessed God’s presence among them – that there should be no need to break command number one.  There should be no reasonable excuse for you to make images of God as if he were not present.  Not only that, but they had experienced God’s voice, not his form.  They had not seen any images of Him to even have the ability to make a proper representation even if they had been permitted to do so.  This served as a reminder to both they and we that we must keep close to God and his presence on account of his Word alone.

In verse 23, God forbids making gods out of fine materials.  He knew the people were apt to use their silver and gold to make images and set them up beside him in pretense of worship to him.  With these, they pretended to worship and honor God but actually became guilty of idolatry and worshipped them in place of or in addition to God.  In other words, they started out with the idea that they were going to use their best, most expensive materials to make the most elaborate things to worship god with, but ended up worshipping those things their hands had made as idols.  They stopped giving honor and glory to God and began giving it to the things their hands had made.

Next, verse 24-26 instructs the building of altars and promises a blessing where he is remembered.  The altars were to be made of earth or unhewn stone.  The altar was to be a place of honor and worship to God.  Therefore, God determined that it ought to be made from the unadulterated versions of what he created without man’s modifications.  The composition of the altar was to remind men that they cannot improve upon God’s building blocks for change. Furthermore, they may be tempted to make a graven image if they were permitted to finish the stones rather than using them as they found them.   Finally, the humble, base materials God called for here coupled with the lowness with which they were to be constructed were to help God’s people realize that worship to God ought to be humble and self-abasing rather than external, flashy, prideful, and pompous.

Matthew Henry says this in relation to God’s promise to meet with them and bless them anywhere his name is remembered: “In all places where I record my name, or where my name is recorded (that is, where I am worshipped in sincerity), I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee.  Afterwards, God chose one particular place wherein to record his name: but that being taken away now under the gospel, when men are encouraged to pray everywhere, this promise revives in its full extent, that wherever God’s people meet in his name to worship him, he will be in the midst of them, he will honor them with his presence, and reward them with the gifts of his grace; there he will come unto them, and will bless them, and more than this we need not desire for the beautifying of our solemn assemblies.” 

So, what does this mean for us today?  The practical applications are thus:

  1. God’s Word alone is to be sufficient evidence of his enduring presence with us.
  2. We must recognize and be on guard against the temptation that comes by setting out to build God’s kingdom starting with what we consider the best materials when we are actually building a kingdom for ourselves because we love those things and the praise and honor that comes with them more than we love God.  True worship and acceptable sacrifice is a result of what God gives, not what man makes.
  3. The place of change, worship, and sacrifice ought to be a place of noticeable humility and lowliness rather than extravagance and man-made showmanship.
  4. God honors the gathering together of his people no matter how humble and small the group is.  If he is being honored and his name is being lifted up and remembered among us, that is a place God is bound and determined to bless.

 

Read Full Post »

brat

My one year-old has begun to learn how to test her limits.  As she turns quickly into a full-fledged, card-carrying toddler, she has decided she wants to see just how much she can get away with and just how far she can go without suffering punishment or unfavorable consequences.

All babies do this.  All toddlers, children, and teenagers do this.  Young adults do this.  Even elderly people do this and many do it for the duration of their lives in relation to God.  It is not usually a good sign, but it can be a good indication of where a person is in maturity.

“Sonny, no, no!” I say firmly as she pulls my earring.

We’ve had this interaction before, many times.  I have taken out my earrings and showed her.  I have given language lessons on how to pronounce the word, “ear-ring.”  I have emphatically told her with as much clarity as humanly possible the word, “NO” on many occasions when her little fingers have purposely found these friends who take up residence in my ears.  Still, there is just something irresistible about giving a good yank and feeling the success and satisfaction of holding the shiny piece of metal in her tiny hand once she’s pulled it completely out of my ear.

Yesterday was no different.  All was well in the world of baby blanket peek-a-boo and near naptime nummies until Sonny saw the silver booty sparkling like a new stairwell to climb.  The promise of victory was simply too tempting.  How could she be expected to obey?

She pulled down and I, once again, calmly, but sternly, corrected.

“No, no, Sonny!  That is ouchy.”

She waited.  She played more blanket-boo.  Then, she decided she would see if anything bad really would happen if she deliberately disobeyed again.

This time she pulled much harder and it really was ouchy.  After my yelp of pain, I smacked her fingers and said, “No, no, Sonny!  That is bad!”

At that, she buried her face in the pillow.  She did not cry.  She hid.  She knew what she had done.  She knew better.  She was either ashamed or she was upset that she’d not gotten away with it this time.  She was embarrassed that she’d been harshly corrected because harsh correction, though sometimes very necessary, is never pleasant.  Nevertheless, when injury to another or potential injury to another or self is imminent and one has been repeatedly told and corrected calmly, there is no choice but to correct in a more severe way.  The goal is caution.  The purpose is to arrest repeated bad behavior lest it cause more severe injury and more severe punishment.

No one particularly likes to discipline their children.  It is not pleasant because the love we have for them causes us pain when they are hurt or upset, too.  Yet, we must be faithful to correct disobedience in order to protect and save them from future harm.

It is one thing when we correct our children.  It is quite another when someone else corrects them.

If I do not do my job in properly training, correcting, and disciplining my children – sometimes even if I do – others will find it necessary – other parents, other teachers, other law enforcement agents eventually.  If it is not pleasant for me to do so, consider how unpleasant it will be for me when someone else does it.  Now, not only is my child suffering for disobedience, I am as well, and both of us at the correction of a stranger.

We have all seen it.  A mother or a father pays no mind to the poor behavior of his or her child and then someone comes along and corrects that child for causing injury or chaos on the playground.  This is an unusually awkward situation.  Little Susie (AKA Captain Destructo) is under parental jurisdiction but the parent is AWOL.  It leaves no choice for the more mature and attentive parents in the vicinity of Captain Destructo Susie to step up and intervene before (or after!) their children become hurt or victimized by her bad behavior.

Often, this results in Susie’s parent becoming angry.  The reason Suzie’s parent is mad is the issue of pride.  They did not do their job so someone else had to.  They either thought Susie more valuable and important than all the other children she was hurting or they thought themselves more important than even their own child.  It is likely a little – or a lot – of both.  These things were proven true by their choosing to ignore her bad behavior and selfishly avoid conflict with the child and also failing to take personal responsibility for the correction and discipline of their own family member.

A humble parent, on the other hand, will be thankful and appreciative when their child is corrected by another concerned authority.  The reason is because we know that obedience to authority is protection for our beloved children and a training ground for God’s authority in their lives.  This is doubtless the reason the Word of God instructs us – His children – to exhort one another daily.  Daily!  Every.  Single.  Day.

Consider that next time someone exhorts you or a member of your family for pulling down and pain-making in someone else’s life.  It is not just children who need corrected.  It is not just children who repeatedly test limits, hurt others, and fail to listen to repeated warnings.  There is a time for alarm, caution, and increasing corrective severity when important warnings are not heeded.

Pride is angry when corrected.  Humility is thankful.

Read Full Post »

murdre

You shall not murder. ~Exodus 20:13

Most of us think we’ve got this command covered because we haven’t murdered anyone.  Unfortunately, Jesus’ clarification in Matthew 5:21-26 deems us all guilty.

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause[b] shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26 Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny. ~Matthew 5:21-26

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives us a clear picture of what it looks like to murder someone without causing physical death.  To hate someone in your heart, to be angry with someone unreasonably, or to curse them carelessly.

Jesus does not add anything new, he simply explains what the command really means for people who truly belong to him.  Interestingly, he speaks to those who already know well the law – who have these commands read and taught to them every week in the synagogue.  That’s why he begins, “You’ve heard it said…”

In other words, you know this stuff.  You constantly hear and teach it and have from your youth.  This is not new to you.  This has always been true and yet you repeatedly, continuously ignore the deeper truth that you should be teaching to others!

The Jews had a judgement for murder – even for accidental killing had a severe punishment!  So even if I didn’t mean to do it, I still had to pay a huge personal price because my brother’s life is extremely important and I am to treat it as such.  How careful we must be to avoid injuring him!

So even accidents had severe consequences, yet they failed to consider the underlying principles and foundation that this command was laid upon.  The outward emphasis that these religious men had placed upon this (and other) commandments was merely a gloss of piety meant to cover over their inward filth and pet sins against their brothers and sisters.  They therefore prohibited only the sinful act, not the sinful thought process that led up to it.  Jesus sets them straight.

When Jesus speaks of anger being sinful, he defines it as being, “without cause.” In other words, there are some real good reasons – right reasons to be angry.  Remember, this is a man who threw tables in the synagogue.  There is no doubt good reason to exhibit anger against willful rebellion and injurious, exclusive attitudes – especially if they are  continuously occurring within God’s house.

So then, anger is sinful if and when it is not valid.  Matthew Henry says it best:

“Anger is a natural passion; there are cases in which it is lawful and laudable; but it is then sinful, when we are angry without cause.  When is without any just provocation given; either for no cause, or no good cause, or not great and proportional cause; when we are angry upon groundless surmises, or for trivial affronts not worth speaking of; whereas if we are at any time angry, it should be to awaken the offender to repentance, and prevent his doing so again; to clear ourselves and to give warning to others.” 

Furthermore, when we are yelling at our brother calling him a fool as opposed to merely making him aware that he is indeed being foolish in order to convince him of his folly, that is wrong – the latter is right!  It is for his good!  Think of James, Paul, Christ – who speak to their hearers as, “O, vain man,” “You fools,” “O fools, slow of heart…”

Jesus goes on to teach a lesson in urgency.  In utter haste, we ought to be reconciled if another comes to us with a grievance for which we are responsible.  So important is this reconciliation with the one we’ve offended that Jesus forbids offering anything at all to Him until it is done.  We are utterly unfit to come to his altar in worship or sacrifice if we be not willing to reconcile with our brother or sister first.

“From all this it is here inferred, that we ought carefully to preserve Christian love and peace with all our brethren, and that if at any time a breach happens, we should labor for a reconciliation, by confessing our fault, humbling ourselves to our brother, begging his pardon, and making restitution, or offering satisfaction for wrong done in word or deed, according as the nature of the thing is; and that we should do this quickly for two reasons: 1. Because, till this be done, we are utterly unfit for communion with God in holy ordinances and 2. Because, till this be done, we lie exposed to much danger.  It is at our peril if we do not labor after an agreement, and that quickly…” Matthew Henry

Therefore, we see that, according to Our Lord, we are responsible not only to avoid causing physical injury and death to others, but emotional, spiritual, and all personal injury as well.

There is a time for everything – including anger, yet in it, we must not sin.

Read Full Post »

help

Moses’ father in-law had come to visit him in the wilderness.  He didn’t just come to drop off the wife and kids and go back home.  Much fruit came from Jethro’s presence in Moses’ camp.

Firstly, Jethro asked Moses how he was.  This may seem trite, but to a leader who is ever placed in the position of asking others how they fare, being asked of his welfare was likely refreshing and encouraging.

Secondly, Jethro listened to Moses.  Here is another seemingly small detail that may mean more to this man than meets the eye.  When you are a listener of all, sometimes listening is the last thing anyone thinks to do for you.

Thirdly, Jethro rejoices and praises God with Moses for what he has done.  It is always helpful to receive encouragement in the good things God has done through you.  Far too little encouragement is found among God’s people for the ways in which he uses each of us individually.

After this time of encouragement and becoming reacquainted, Moses goes back to business as usual.  Jethro watches in curious concern as he sees Moses’ daily schedule.  He says this:

” When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, “What is this that you are doing for the people? Why do you sit alone, and all the people stand around you from morning till evening?”… Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “What you are doing is not good. 18 You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone.” Exodus 18:14, 17-18

Jethro sees how Moses is conducting himself and he asks a question.  “Why do you sit alone?”  He makes an observation.  “What you are doing is not good.”

How faithful are the words of one who loves us when they say plainly what needs to be said; what no one else wants to say.  More faithful still is our willingness to hear and listen to those words of concern and love.

Jethro isn’t just there to criticize as some may think at first glance.  Moses did not take Jethro’s forthrightness and plain words of truth as harmful criticism because he knew Jethro loved him.  Moses trusted Jethro.  How much good advice do men forfeit out of mere fear, insecurity, and mistrust of the faithful friends who share it!  We must never mistake genuine concern for negative criticism lest we end up sitting alone and doing that which is not good.  Such is the lot of many leaders of old.  Paranoia has a prominent place of position among those who clutch to keep control with both hands.

No.  Jethro’s intent was never to offer his opinion in order to discourage or criticize.  Jethro had advice!  Good, wise, helpful advice for this man whom he loved, respected, and rejoiced over!  Jethro loved Moses so much that he was adamantly unwilling to turn a blind eye to things he knew would eventually destroy Moses – things that would lead to burn out, wearying of well-doing, and bury him in burden-bearing.

Jethro actually says, “Obey my voice…” Obey my voice?!  Wasn’t Moses supposed to be obeying God’s voice?  Moses, if he had been insecure, mistrusting, or prideful of the counsel of this man, may have been inclined to malign Jethro and tell him he was called to obey God alone.  But, could it be possible that God really does use men to instruct men—even when and if those men are not as gifted in the prophetic as those to whom they offer counsel?  Could it be possible that he uses more practical men to counsel his prophets and vice versa?  Yes and amen!!!  

Jethro’s advice was thus:

 Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. 22 And let them judge the people at all times. Every great matter they shall bring to you, but any small matter they shall decide themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. 23 If you do this, God will direct you, you will be able to endure, and all this people also will go to their place in peace.” ~Exodus 18:21-23

Hey, Moses.  Son, what you are doing is not good.  You cannot do it alone.  You need help.  Ask men to help you.

If Moses had been prideful, insecure, or less in tune with God, he would have turned on Jethro in a nanosecond upon hearing these words.  These are not, after all, easy words to hear when you’re the authority in all the land; when you are the God-ordained, called, confirmed and chosen leader who comes complete with past prophetic power plays as proof.  Can’t you just hear his thoughts?

And just who is Jethro anyway?  Some shepherd from nowhereland?  Who cares what he says anyway, right?  I’m the prophet.  He’s some worker ant with a pretty daughter.  He probably doesn’t even know God.  What does he even know?

No.  Moses does not think evil of the man who loves him when he is told the truth as many of us may tend to do in our fleshly weaknesses.  Instead, Moses listens.  Moses proves his humility by having the wisdom to listen to one who is bold enough to say hard words in efforts to help.

Jethro not only gives advice on what to do, but how to do it.  What kind of men is Moses to choose to help?  His buddies?  No.  Here, he is given criteria from a very practical man, again, ultimately for his own benefit.

The men he chooses must fear God.  These men cannot fear men.  They must be confident, courageous, and certainly not cowardly.  They are going to have to judge and confront many situations and disputes.  They cannot be cowards who duck and run at the first sign of trouble.

The men he chooses must be trustworthy.  Trust is not something a man magically gains simply by being amicable, educated, or even profoundly gifted.  Trust is something that must be proven, time and again, over a considerable period of time.

The men he chooses must hate a bribe.  These men must absolutely abhor partiality, favoritism, and pats on their own back.  These kind of men cannot be bought by accolades or personal advancement of any kind.  If they can be, they will be and the entire justice system will be completely compromised.

Matthew Henry describes them this way, “It was requisite that they should be men of the very best character.  For judgement and resolution – able men, men of good sense, that understood business, and bold men, that would not be daunted by frowns of clamors.  Clear heads and stout hearts make good judges.

Finally, Jethro concludes with the reason this must happen and a promise of sorts.  His reason: “So it will be easier for you.”  The promise: “If you do this, God will direct you, you will be able to endure, and all this people also will go to their place in peace.” 

If you do this, the fruit will be your ability to continue and peace among the people.  Inferred from that statement is, if you do not do this, you will not be able to continue and there will be division among the people.

Practical men who love prophetic men often advise them from a place of wisdom.  Prophetic men who love practical men often advise them from a place of wisdom.  Let us not despise the counsel of another based on either paranoia or a pit of hell presupposition that arrogantly assumes their gifting is inferior to our own.

Kyrie Eleison

Read Full Post »

humbleroots

“Here, in the middle of arguably the greatest sermon ever, Jesus talks about our daily worries, whatever they may be.  He talks about how we stress over food and clothing and how we obsess over our physical bodies.  At the same time, He doesn’t shame us for worrying about them.  He doesn’t tell us to just be grateful, to remember how much better we have it than other people.  He doesn’t tell us that we simply need to be more productive or to work harder.  Instead, He asks us whether our worry is actually accomplishing anything.” ~Hannah Anderson

Humble Roots is a book I found very personal, relatable, and real. Hannah uses a down to earth approach that kept me from wiggling out from under necessary confrontation by way of heady theology or intellectual disconnect. This book stopped me dead in my self-sufficient tracks, showed me that my britches are often far too big, and turned me back toward God before I even had a chance to argue with myself.

As I read Hannah’s stories of sowing, reaping, and harvesting I returned to my own bramble bushes of success, failure, blackberries, and tomatoes. Her everyday examples and honest transparency churned up the rocky and hard places in my heart by showing me a crystal clear picture of myself. As I read, I could feel my inconsistencies being challenged and corrected from the inside out. I felt her words changing me even before I was able to put my pride-soaked finger on why or how it happened. Humble Roots is truly a book I hope everyone I know has a chance to read.  If you plan to pick up this book, prepare to grow.

“And here is how humility brings rest to our internal life: Humility teaches us that ‘God is greater than our heart.’  Humility teaches us that we don’t have to obey our emotions because the only version of reality that matters is God’s.” ~Hannah Anderson

Read Full Post »

dennis

In Psalm 68 God is described as a father to the fatherless.  It says he sets the lonely in families.  Because my dad became ill when I was very young and my family was already quite broken even by that time, this has always been one of my favorite passages.  I’m writing tonight to tell you that God is faithful to his Word.  This passage is true and that, in addition to actually being Our Father who art in heaven, God does indeed provide both spiritual fathers and families to those in need of such things on earth.

What grace!

Some people think you have to be rich and famous to be great.  Some think you’ve got to have fame to be significant and fortune to make a real difference.  I know much better, though.  I know a man who has none of these things, yet has changed the world around him one person at a time through nothing more than a simple life coupled with great faithfulness.

Last Sunday we attended a reunion dinner for Covenant Baptist Church in Uniontown.  It marked 35 years for the lay pastor’s service.  For anyone who has not met Dennis Cox, I always describe him as the best man I’ve ever met.  Over the 8 years I’ve known him, he has been a spiritual father to both me and my husband.

When I first met Dennis, I had questions about life.  I had questions about the church.  I had questions about theology.  I had questions about the Bible.  I would call him every time I had a question.  He was never too busy to answer my questions with great patience and wisdom.  He began to meet with me and my husband every week in the morning while it was still dark outside to teach us one on one.  He shared his vast knowledge line by painstaking line this way with us for the better part of 6 years.  No praise.  No honor.  No glory.  Work and personal sacrifice was all there was in it for Dennis.  Still, he was always there, sitting with us; teaching us; loving us.  He and his wife invited us into their real lives despite our rough and ragged edges.  We had dinner together on numerous occasions.  He attended our children’s birthdays.  He let us drop in on him whenever we were in the neighborhood.  He counseled us on many occasions when we were lost, hurt, angry, or just plain wrong.  He prayed for us faithfully.  He corrected us in ways that never felt condescending.  He rescued our marriage more than once.  Even when we failed miserably and did all that he’d taught us not to do, he loved us like his very own.  Without even a hint of anger or disappointment to shame us, he gently and kindly led us back to the truth.

What grace!

This is a man who has done as much and more for countless others as well.  A man who has lived life well because he has lived life right by God.  Dennis is a great example to us all and there was a banquet room full of people to prove it.

As he was honored by that room full of grateful people, he spoke of nothing but his own undeservedness.  My husband mused that the amount of humility he displays is “almost unbelievable.”  That it is – especially for a man who has done so very much for so many.  This is a man who has truly changed the world for the good without fame or fortune.  This is a man who has truly changed the world for the good with his example of faithfulness and love.  It reminds me of another man I know – a man named Jesus.

We ran a race the day of the reunion and I realized something.  The moment I saw the first person ahead of me turn the corner toward the home stretch to the finish line, I felt a wave of relief; of encouragement; of inspiration.  Even though I was still quite a long way from the finish myself,  I began to run faster in anticipation and, as I did, I couldn’t help but think of Dennis.  He is so far ahead of us in wisdom, in experience, and in faith.  But we can see him turning the corner toward home and it inspires us to follow harder.  It encourages us to be better.  It relieves our fears.

Thank you for giving so many good things to us and so many others, Dennis.  You are the best man we know.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »