"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!'"
August 7, 2019
The golden rule is a scripture that most people know; both those who know the bible and those who don't. In fact, some may think that it is just a good saying, not realizing that the words were actually spoken by Jesus.
Matthew 7:12 says, "Do unto others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets."
Honestly, people tend to think that this means be nice to others so that they will be nice to you; or help others when they are in need so that others will help you when you have a need. We think this means that we need to have good behavior, and we should never bully, mistreat, or gossip about others. Those are all good things and how we should live.
But there is a lot more depth to this scripture than this. It goes way beyond just being nice and good to others, hoping that they will be nice and good to us in return.
In Galatians 6:2 we are told to, "Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ." Bearing one another's burdens mean to "share" or "carry" the troubles or cares of each other. Perhaps that is how we fulfill the command to do unto others as we would have them do unto us on a much deeper, spiritual level.
A while back, when Jon was lying in our bedroom floor with back spasms so painful that he couldn't get up or move, he didn't need me to be nice to him and say, "Bless your heart! I'm so sorry that you are in pain and can't get up," as I bent down and gave him a hug or pat him on the shoulder; then get into bed and turn the light out, leaving him there.
Yet that is our response to hurting people more times than not. "Oh, I'm so sorry that you're sick." "I really hate it that you're going through a tough time right now and struggling." "I wish there was something I could do for you." "Feel better soon!" We may pat them on the shoulder or give a hug or send them a text, then go on our way feeling better about ourself that we were sympathetic and nice to them.
What Jon needed in that moment was for me to pray, with faith, for the pain to leave his body and for him to be healed. He didn't need me to quote some cliché or show him a little sympathy. That wasn't going to get him off the floor and into bed, or help him sleep for the night. Kind words weren't going to relieve his pain. He needed me to pray and believe that he would be healed and that the pain would be gone; so that's what I did. Jesus immediately answered, the pain left, and Jon was able to get up off the floor on his own; and he slept pain free that night.
Yay me, right?! But the truth is, more times than not, I fail to respond in this manner. I tend to offer platitudes and sympathetic words. I may feel bad for the person and how they feel or what they are going through, but I fail to pray with complete faith for their healing or deliverance or whatever miracle they are in need of at that moment.
Recently I was driving in the car, alone, when Jesus gave me great insight. This is the example He showed me from my own life:
I started playing piano when I was a little girl of maybe 4-5 years old. I didn't take lessons, but began teaching myself how to play by singing and picking out the song with one finger. My sister, Janie, said that she remembers me listening to songs on the radio, then I would sit down at the piano and figure out how to play it. Trust me, it wasn't pretty and I'm sure it had to have driven my parents and sisters crazy listening to me! My older sisters and a cousin showed me how to play chords and what the different notes and keys were. I began playing and singing special songs at church, and had very encouraging pastors and congregations that allowed me to practice on them. I made a lot of mistakes. But then when I was a young teenager, I began playing for the congregational singing at church; along with an organist, guitarist, and other instruments, which gave me a lot of good practice. I started singing in a trio with two of my sisters and played piano for the three of us. The more I played, the more confident and better I became, and I went from pounding the piano with one finger to being able to smoothly play songs.
I have played piano for many, many years now. When I sit down at the piano, I never question my abilities or whether or not I'm going to make mistakes or be able to play. I have proven that I can play, and am confident that each and every time I play, it is going to sound good and I will be able to play whichever song it is that I want to play. I have conditioned those muscles so that I have no doubt that I can play the piano by ear. Even when I hit an occasional wrong note, I don't panic and think, "Oh no! Maybe I shouldn't play anymore! I hit a wrong note, so maybe I'm not supposed to play the piano and should quit. Maybe God doesn't want me to have this talent anymore." No, absolutely not!! But I keep playing, am confident, and know what I know.... and what I know is that I have the ability and talent of playing the piano by ear!! I'm not going to give up or quit or be embarrassed if I hit a wrong note from time to time. I've played for so many years that if I hit a wrong note or mess up, it doesn't bother me whatsoever and I really don't care what other people think. I am secure in my skills and will play the piano for the rest of my life.
That is how we should be when it comes to obeying the scriptures and doing what Jesus commanded us to do. We should be confident in who Jesus is, confident in our faith and relationship with Him, and be secure in doing whatever He asks us to do; without embarrassment or fear of failure or what someone may think.
In Mark 16:17-18 Jesus says, "These signs will accompany those who believe: in My name they will drive out demons; they will speak new languages; they will handle snakes [hope I don't ever have to do this one!]; and if they drink anything deadly, it will not harm them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will get well."
For too long, the church has pushed this aside, thinking, "Oh, this meant the disciples.... or only special chosen ones!" But that's not what these verses say! They say that the signs that are listed will accompany those who believe. Do you believe? Then in the name of Jesus we have the authority to drive out demons and lay hands on the sick, and they will be healed.
So when you are sick, what do you need most? You need someone to lay hands on you and pray for your healing. When others are sick, what do they need most? They need you to lay hands on them and pray for their healing. Thus, do unto others as you would have them do unto you!
How does our faith build and increase so that we are more bold in doing this? We practice, and practice, and practice some more. We don't meditate on it or think about it or watch others pray; but we, ourselves, pray and believe! We do something ourselves. If the person we pray for doesn't receive their healing, then the next time we have the opportunity to pray for someone, we do so.... and on and on.... and there will come that time when we see results and our faith is increased and we pray with more boldness and enthusiasm. We keep going and never stop!
I didn't learn to play piano by thinking about it or watching others play or listening to music; although I did do those things. But to really learn, I had to sit down and make mistakes and practice and listen and practice some more and hit wrong notes and practice some more...... There was no other way for me to learn; just as there is no other way to learn how to be obedient to Jesus, how to pray for the sick with faith that they will be healed, and how to do unto others as you would like them to do to you.
Regarding this command, we don't have to know the person or have a relationship with them in order to obey. It's not do unto others, if they can reciprocate for you. But we love, just as Jesus did, and respond accordingly.
Recently, I had a doctor appointment with a specialist. I was the only one sitting in the waiting room, waiting for my name to be called. Another lady walked in and sat across the room from me, after checking in. She immediately called someone on her cell phone and was horribly upset and crying. She didn't know that she had a co-pay with her insurance and it seemed as if she didn't have the money to pay it; and had no more money for another week. From listening to her end of the conversation, it seemed as if she has been having issues for quite some time without her doctor being able to figure it out. I could hear the frustration in her voice and she seemed to have finally reached the end of her rope and felt hopeless.
I felt nudged to pay her co-pay for her. I got the $40 cash out of my purse and walked to the window where she had checked in and asked the receptionist if she would let me pay the woman's co-pay. She said that the lady had been able to pay part of it, so they were going to go ahead and see her. I asked if she was sure that I couldn't pay it, and she said that it was taken care of; but it was so nice of me to offer.
I never had an opportunity to talk to the woman who was hurting, because she was on the phone in the middle of a conversation and then I got called back to see the doctor. When I left, she was apparently in the back, so our path never crossed again. I've wondered if perhaps I should have done more.... maybe I should have gone over and handed her the cash.... I just don't know. Perhaps she overheard me and knew that I had offered to pay her co-pay and it gave her hope that someone cared. Regardless, as I sat in the exam room waiting for the doctor, I prayed for the woman and know that Jesus can touch her and bring healing and hope.
Let's begin practicing these scriptures more and more and more! Let's do unto others whatever we would want them do for us. And let us practice praying for deliverance and healing for others until we are confident and skilled and have built those muscles up and are strong in those areas.
Sometimes, we seem to think the golden rule is "do unto others so they will do unto you". We expect reciprocation. Or we at least expect some gratitude. And, there's no point being nice to someone we will never see again.
And sometimes we think the rule is "do unto others a few times, but if they aren't grateful, you can quit." We try and try to be nice to someone, and if they don't act nice to us (or others), we give up. I admit, I feel like this in traffic. If I try to let someone in, and they don't respond quickly, I give up, and go. I don't think that's so bad, but I have to stop myself later, when someone else needs in and I hesitate because I tried again and again with bad results. Never mind that this is someone who never did me any wrong, even hesitating too long.
Sometimes, we act as if the rule is "do unto others what they would do to us." If we know someone else would keep that dollar we lost, then we can justify keeping a dollar we found, even if we know who lost it. It's easy to develop as a habit with tiny things like a little lost money. Then when it's a habit, it can be applied to much bigger things, like rumors or snide comments.
But the rule is "do unto others as you would have them do to you." No time limits, no specific group of others, no conditions.
1 pound hamburger
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pound Velveeta Cheese, chunked
8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 package taco seasoning mix
1 can Ranch-Style beans
1 can Rotel
Brown hamburger and onions; drain. Mix all ingredients together and heat until the cheese melts.
Serve over tortilla chips or Fritos; or use as a dip. Can also be used as burrito filling.
Church Bulletin Bloopers:
Lent is the period for preparing for Holy Weed and Easter.
Hymn: I am Thin, O Lord.
I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, even though he diets, yet shall he live.
When parking on the north side of the church, please remember to park on an angel.
Jean will be leading a weight-management series Wednesday nights. She's used the program herself and has been growing like crazy!
When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don't throw away the ticket and jump off...
you sit still and trust the engineer. - Corrie ten Boom
We love you!
Loretta & Jon