Just a few housekeeping matters before I share a thought heading into the weekend. First, don't forget our move to the Ridgeview website (www.rccfranklin.com). Not only will you be able to check out my blog there but the blogs of all our staff members are available and you can check out some great information about things going on at our church. We'll stay here at this site until the subscription stuff is worked out but you might want to get in the habit of taking advantage of the other site now.
Speaking of what's happening at our church, this Sunday is "Legacy 2008". It's my annual "State of the Church" address, if you will. It's a good chance to look back at how God blessed us in 2007 but, more importantly, to re-cast and fine tune the vision for Ridgeview as we move into 2008. If you're in town, I hope you'll join us at 10:30 on Sunday for a great day of worship.
Finally, I want to clarify a "technical" matter. When I write these blogs, the notification for those on subscription does not go out until midnight. So, when you get a notice there's a new entry, it's actually written the day before. That caused some confusion for a lot of people yesterday when Harrison's birthday popped up (it was Wednesday). So, for future reference, keep in mind the subscription is a day behind. For those of you who come straight to the site (this one or the Ridgeview site) you'll get it as soon as it's posted.
Now, to the important stuff.
I was challenged a little the last two mornings about what is "mine." Matthew 5:38-42 says this:
38"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. NIV
Jesus was up to his old tricks--challenging the status quo and putting traditional thinking on its head. Basically, he was just "righting" the ship. In his unique way, Jesus was challenging us about our attitude towards others with this teaching on retaliation. But it also has a lot to say about what we really own.
Jesus' comment about turning the other cheek says, "You don't even own yourself. I paid for you. I created you. You respond with what's on loan to you in a way that is proper." The cloak was the most important garment a person could own in that day. Not just a covering, it was used as a blanket, a sack to carry things, a place to sit and a pledge for debt. It was one of the most expensive items that a Hebrew person had and they were lucky to have one. Jesus says, "Hey, if he asks for your shirt, give him the cloak." With one sentence, Jesus was saying don't retaliate, don't hoard, don't trust in material things and remember that I am your provider.
Josh wasn't mine. (my son who died in the accident) Neither was my Sarah. For that matter, neither is Lisa or Morgan or Landon or Abby or Harrison (don't worry, the name list stops there). Yes, God has entrusted them to me. He's given me the responsibility of caring for them and loving them and cherishing them. But (this may be the hardest part of all) he's also given me the responsibility of letting them go. For the kids, that day will come too soon when they'll become adults and I'll have to let them "go" and become independent.
For all of them, it means being grateful for the gift, treasuring their presence and knowing that I must give them back to God daily. The same is true with my material things--my home, my finances, my plans and dreams, even my time. What I have and what I am is not my own. In order to get "best value" I must (translated "you must") be willing to give it all away. Only then can you understand the value of "owning" anything.
I hope you have a blessed weekend with whatever God brings your way. And I hope you find a way to bless someone in some way with all that God has loaned to you. Till Monday...