THE NEW EWE

"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"

Luke 15:4-6

July 30, 2014

LIFE IN THE FOLD:

In John 2:1-11(NLT) we read this story:

"The next day there was a wedding celebration in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there, and Jesus and His disciples were also invited to the celebration. The wine supply ran out during the festivities, so Jesus' mother told Him, 'They have no more wine.' 'Dear woman, that's not our problem,' Jesus replied, 'My time has not yet come.' But his mother told the servants, 'Do whatever He tells you.' Standing nearby were six stone water jars, used for Jewish ceremonial washing. Each could hold twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told the servants, 'Fill the jars with water.' When the jars had been filled, He said, 'Now dip some out, and take it to the master of ceremonies.' So the servants followed His instructions. When the master of ceremonies tasted the water that was now wine, not knowing where it had come from (though, of course, the servants knew), he called the bridegroom over. 'A host always serves the best wine first,' he said. 'Then, when everyone has had a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine. But you have kept the best until now!' This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed His glory. And His disciples believed in Him."

This past Sunday, the church we attend had a guest speaker from Nigeria. She used this passage of scripture as the basis for her sermon. I'm not necessarily going the same direction that she took, but there is one point that she made that stood out to me. She said, "Not only was Jesus invited to the wedding; He was also involved."

She also shared a custom from her home country that helped me to have a better understanding of this story. In her country of Nigeria, when a couple decides to get married, they don't send out invitations to the wedding. They make an announcement in church or wherever. Although there may be two hundred people who hear the announcement, on the day of the wedding there may be seven hundred people show up. The wedding is not just for family and close friends, but everyone is invited to attend. At the wedding, it is a huge embarrassment if you don't have enough food for everyone. If that should happen, it would make the groom look bad and his new bride would think that he didn't have the resources to take care of her. They also have a custom that you are to send a gift home with every guest that attends. It can be something really small, but you must give each guest some type of gift. If not, the guest will say negative things about you and you will look really bad.

Knowing that custom from Nigeria is a good illustration of what a huge embarrassment this would have been for the bride and groom to run out of wine at their wedding celebration. Their custom, at that time, may have been along the same lines of those in Nigeria today, where you made an announcement of the time and place for the wedding, but everyone in your village and the surrounding area is invited to come. This couple may have made the announcement to two hundred people, but on the day of the wedding there were seven hundred that showed up. Running out of wine was a big deal and would have made them look bad.

Jesus was there in attendance as an invited guest. He and His disciples had been asked to attend the wedding. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was also present. Perhaps she was a relative or good friends with the groom or bride, and wanted to save them from embarrassment. When she heard that the wine had run out, she told Jesus. Up to that point, Jesus had not yet performed any miracles. His response was, "This is not our problem! My time has not yet come." But knowing that her son was the promised Messiah, Mary told the servants to do whatever Jesus told them to do.

When the bride and groom invited Jesus to the wedding, they fully intended that He attend as their guest. I'm sure their desire was for Him to sit back and relax and enjoy the celebration. They had no way of knowing in advance that they would be in need of this miracle. And having never seen Jesus perform miracles beforehand, they wouldn't have invited Him thinking, "We'll have Jesus in attendance so if we have a lot of guest show up and run out of wine, He can do a miracle and get more for us." But when Jesus saw the need and the faith of His earthly mother, He got involved.

There are many people who are willing to invite Jesus into their life, but they don't particularly want Him to be involved. He is welcome as a guest, as long as He stays out of the way and lets them do what they want without bringing about conviction. They just want to know that He's there to keep them from hell or that He's there if they run into trouble; but don't want His daily involvement.

But each of us will face a crisis at some point in our life, and we will then have to decide if we want Jesus to remain an invited guest of if we are willing to allow Him to become involved.

Had Jesus not become involved in the wedding celebration, it would have caused a lot of hardship and embarrassment for the bride and groom and their families. But His involvement brought about a wonderful miracle that helped them save face and look good in front of their many guests.

When the master of ceremonies tasted the wine, his response was, "The host always serves the best wine first, then brings out the cheap wine later after everyone has had a lot to drink. But you saved the best until now!"

When Jesus becomes involved in our life, the result will be better than anything we could ever do on our own. He made the best wine out of pure water. He can take a plain life and make it into something spectacular.

Lastly, allowing Jesus to be involved in our life doesn't mean that we can just sit around and do nothing. His involvement means that we have to respond in some way, which will mean our involvement. The servants had to obey what Jesus asked them to do. Jesus didn't go get the water pots, fill them with water, take the glass of wine to the master of ceremonies for tasting, then distribute it to all the guests. The miracle happened when the servants obeyed His command and did everything He told them to do. They went and got the pots, filled them with water, took the glass to the master of ceremonies to taste, then distributed it to all the guests. Jesus' involvement required a response from the servants; just as His involvement will require a response on our part.

JON'S PERSPECTIVE:

I was once told about the pots the servants had at the wedding. The purifying process the Jews used was fairly long and involved. It involved drawing water from the well, and letting dirt settle to the bottom and debris float to the top, then moving the water to another pot to clear more. The custom was that water wasn't drinkable till it had gone through the whole process. I hadn't noticed that the 6 containers were 20-30 gallons. That would hold about 160-240 pounds of water. And made of stone, they were probably very heavy even empty. So when Jesus asked the servants to fill them all, then immediately draw from them, it was a big job, and probably seemed very offensive. They were told to serve honored guests water that wasn't properly purified. But they did as they were told. And they were blessed to be part of a wonderful miracle.

I am generally a reserved person. I'm even more reserved if I think there is some risk of offending someone. But sometimes we might be called on to serve the unpurified water. Would I miss out on taking part in some wonderful miracle just because I'm reluctant to serve what I think is dirty water?

ON THE MENEWE:

Aunt Ruth's Homemade Banana Ice Cream

6 eggs

2 Tablespoons vanilla

2-1/2 cups sugar

1 quart half-n-half

Pinch of salt

3-4 ripe bananas

Beat eggs, sugar, and salt well; add vanilla and half-n-half. Mash bananas and add; mix well. Pour into gallon freezer bucket and add whole milk to fill line. Freeze according to ice cream freezer instructions.

THIS, THAT AND THE OTHER:

For many years I worked indoors at a bank, so never had much time to be outside in the sunshine. My skin was extremely white and I honestly didn't think I could tan. To give you an idea of just how white my legs were, my sister shared this story with me recently:

One time, many years ago, during the summer our family was together. This was back in the 1980's when wearing white hose was the "in" thing. Two of my sisters were looking at my legs and trying to figure out if I had on white hose or if I was bare-legged and didn't have on any hose. That's pretty bad when someone can't tell the difference!

I had a guy tell me one time that I needed to stick my legs out the drive-through window at the bank and get some sun on them. A cousin told me that he had never seen legs as white as mine and didn't know that legs could be that white.

Thankfully, I get to spend more time in the sun nowadays and get a little color on my legs during the summer so they're not quite so blinding and white!! That's a good thing, because I refuse to wear pantyhose nowadays!

THOUGHT TO PONDER:

Life is like a piano. White keys are happy moments. Black keys are sad moments.

Remember.... both keys are played together to give sweet music. - unknown

OUR HEARTFELT THANKS TO YOU:

We love you!

Loretta & Jon

http://www.graysheep.org