Remember your aim
And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
We seek to be a faithful, local, simple church that confesses, is equipped, and goes out into the world.
Our aim at All Nations Baptist Church
Many of us, reflecting on our childhood, want to replicate things about our growing up experience in our kids’ lives. A similar thing is when parents are trying to give their kids what they missed out on. For some people this means doing a traveling sport, others raising chickens, and still others trying to find that sweet spot where God did a lot of work to grow you spiritually. None of these have to be bad things. But I wonder if we aren’t trying too hard. Your happy memories of youth sports might be monotonous to your children, your rigorous, classical education might burn their brains, and your search for spiritually enriching experiences might miss basic discipling and discipleship. It really feels unfortunate sometimes that we can’t just make everyone mature just like that.
But in all honesty, it really isn’t unfortunate. I think somehow we might be attempting to help our children avoid problems, to keep them from falling to hard. We forget that people are not machines to be programmed with all the right inputs. And we don’t take into account the fact that today is different from when we were growing up. So I’d suggest we always take a step back and think about what we’re aiming at, and what the scriptures teach us ought to be the case. Because in all honesty, God never said we had to have a wonderful experience with youth sports. And many if not most churches around the world have been more of a group of misfits than a massive cohort of devoted Christians. Even if you don’t have children, you are still hoping for a certain kind of experience in your life and from the church. Perhaps you want to be noticed, like the daughter in the movie, Incredibles, or you wish there were a group of more like-minded believers who would study scripture with you.
Many of our desires are valid, but we must do two things: first temper them with patience. And second, temper them with scripture. Joshua at the end of his life gives this sermon and what does he say? ‘Choose whom you’re gonna serve. But as for me and my house, we’ll serve Yahweh.’ This is the scriptural pattern that we as Christians can follow. Many in the early church were alone, most churches in the first century were a handful of families under off and on oppression and far away from the next church. Many of those solitary Christians in those solitary churches chose faithfulness no matter the cost or the situation. Maybe you’re the only one who had children that made it to adulthood: faithfulness. Maybe you’re the widow of a martyred elder: faithfulness. And today, we too must choose faithfulness in that small part of the world we inhabit. The cars and the internet have made us imagine we live hyper-extended lives. We feel like we can reach most parts of the world and most issues. We should ask the question how beneficial have these contraptions been in our lives? I think it makes us imagine we can do so much more than we were made to do. And we are blind to the things we ought to do.
So in the end, serve the Lord. Be faithful in your church gathering. Forgive as Christ has forgiven you. Walk in the light as he is in the light. Taste and see that the Lord, he is good. Cast your cares on him, for he cares for you. Encourage one another and build one another up. Let your love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Overflow in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
I could have ended with many places in the New Testament, but here, we have Paul overflowing with simple imperatives of faithfulness to the church in Rome. Although simple, it is a path that we will not be perfect on until our Lord returns. May we be faithful in the in between time.