I live in a beautiful old house. A lot of work has been put into it over the last few years, and I am so thankful to call this place home. I can't say there's anything I would change. Well, there's just one thing. There's a threshold into one of the bedrooms upstairs that has a nail that sticks out of it about a half inch. I have stepped on it more times than I can count. I put a hole in a sock on that nail. I'm actually wearing that sock as I write. So you're probably thinking, "Why don't they hammer it in?" Good question. Chris did. Within a few days it came back up. It has been a thorn in our side.
Paul in the New Testament refers to having a thorn in his side. It wasn't a literal thorn. No one is sure what the thorn was, but many believe that it was a severe physical illness (such as migraine headaches). First Baptist's thorn came in the form of a fire. It would be easy to pack up and call it quits. The thing that keeps me going is what happens when Paul asks God to give him relief.
Paul writes, "Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians 12:8-10).
Our church has been made weak by destruction, and our church will be made strong by the power of Christ.
Love. It’s one word. It’s easy to say but harder to do. Last summer a whole bunch of teens invaded our church and community. It was awesome! They came all the way from Pennsylvania to show love. The picture below is of two of them doing work. They chose to give up a week to come here and do work. People around noticed. They wore red shirts that said “Love.” on the front, and they did projects all around the area. They showed love – a sacrificial love that Jesus had shown to them.
At one of the sites a group of teens were working on some outdoor projects. When given an opportunity to take a break and play a game, they chose to keep working. That’s just one example of how serious they were about love. Lives were changed.
Jesus was all about showing love, especially to those who were despised or neglected. A good question to ask ourselves each day is: what are we doing to show love?
This is written by Kathleen Blackey, follower of Jesus and co-pastor at First Baptist Church.