Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. -Psalm 25:4-5
In considering takeaways from the life of Colon Washburn this month, I was impressed with the testimony of multiple of his friends that Colon was a lifelong learner who always had a stack of books he was working through. I am not a big reader. I like books and I enjoy the ones I read, but I tend to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of good material available. One of the things that I am going to try and do coming out of this month is build a short list of books I have been meaning to read, and purpose myself to replace some TV time with reading time. If I can get through three or four good books in the next year, I think that will be a worthwhile investment.
Books or otherwise, a humble heart that WANTS to learn is a prerequisite for gaining knowledge, especially when the learning is not related to some school- or work-related coursework I am required to complete.
Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. -Psalm 25:8-9
I am going to go out on a limb here and say a few words about an area where God may be trying to broaden my horizons. I recently made a trip to Seattle, Washington to see my youngest son graduate from Seattle Pacific University. There seems to be a lot of confusion in Seattle about gender and sexuality and a fair percentage of the population there seems quite proud of that fact. I attended a worship assembly last Sunday at the church my son attends and was somewhat taken aback when I saw in the bulletin an announcement inviting those who identified as LGBTQ to a potluck dinner after the service.
It made me uncomfortable - I'm not going to lie. I just wanted to worship, and I found myself very distracted. So I prayed (yeah, right there in church!). The invitation did not address the rightness or wrongness of the lifestyle. No endorsement or condemnation, no celebration, nor did it cast the lifestyle as being a permanent condition. It spoke of those "who identify as...". It made me consider who or what I have been identified as in my life, even in the time since I began my life as a Christian.
Who did Jesus minister to in His time on earth? The sinners, the outcasts, those who did not have a place at the religious or spiritual table. If I, as a Christ-follower, am unwilling to invite these people in and show them the love and acceptance of Christ, where will they ever see it? That's a large segment of the Seattle community to alienate, not just from a church, but potentially from Jesus. Then the Spirit reminded me of this:
...you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters. Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. AND THAT IS WHAT SOME OF YOU WERE. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. -1 Corinthians 6:8-11
With that, I was able to worship. I am just as broken as anyone, and thank God, Christ died for every stinkin' one of us! Sometimes learning is hard. But we have a good teacher.
Heads up, eyes open men!