“Taking care of your body is a spiritual discipline, like prayer, worship, or Bible study… When you take care of your body, you worship God.” (RW) We talked about this the other day, but it bears repeating. After all, God made it, Jesus paid for it, and the Holy Spirit lives in it! “Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.” (Romans 12:1)
Sometimes taking care of your body and getting healthy can be a looooong journey though, and you have to remind yourself that God is always working during the waiting time–and even during those desert experiences when he seems far away. This is what we were reminded of by a missionary at church yesterday, who waited for 10 years before finally starting med school in 2006, and only now is he preparing to begin his mission work.
Yesterday’s service would sure erase any doubt’s that newcomers might have about whether or not that church is involved in missions! We heard testimonies from two different missionaries. After all, the (new) pastor was a missionary, the assistant pastor spent the first 16 years of her life on the mission field (MK, of course), and the organization IS called “Christian Missionary Alliance”. They also have a once-a-month prayer evening focused on missions.
The sermon is for everyone though. ;) Although, the title “The Call of the Shepherd” could remind one of a “missionary call”–which the Perspectives course carefully spoke against, because we ALL are “called”. This is part of a series the church has begun however, called “The Shepherd’s Heart”.
The passage was from John 21, where Jesus meets the disciples on the beach after his resurrection, and asks Peter three times “Do you love me?” Peter was probably remembering all the times he had boasted about following Jesus, compared to what he had actually done in the end: denied him three times. This was a process of cleansing for Peter. We are called to be washed again and again, by Jesus’ sacrificial love.
One of my favourite things about this passage, is how Peter answers so honestly. Jesus’ question involves sacrificial, agape love, and Peter answers with brotherly, close friend-type love. He seems to have learned his lesson! This is how I feel when we sing songs like “I love you more than life itself”. Would I really choose Christ over life? I always pray that God would help me to love better.
In any case, Jesus responds all three times with “feed my sheep”, which he expects Peter to do no matter how strong his love is. As we learned in Perspectives, and as Pastor Tim reminded us, we cannot sustain love for people–we have to act out of our love for God FIRST. Everything is done for the glory of God.
Another of my favourite aspects of Jesus’ call here, is that it involves “the Spirit-given capacity to recognize his resurrection presence”, in our lives. (John 21:4-8) Not just God’s presence, but his resurrection presence. Which means the kind of power/enablement that can rise from the dead! This is why Peter was able to go from leading to being led, as Jesus predicted (John 21:18-23). In that “being led”, Peter glorified God.
I should never be the one leading in my life, because MY plans are not HIS plans… (my word! :D )