Lessons From the Past

It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look. 1 Peter 1:12

I hate to say it—I do not like to admit it—but honesty forces me to acknowledge it. What? We are spoiled. When I was a teenager, many men died of heart attacks from 50-60 years of age. Nobody liked it. Everybody accepted it. There was nothing you could do about it. We had no telephone of any kind until I was in the 8th grade. There were no telephone lines. Nobody in the community liked it. Everybody accepted it. There was nothing you could do about it. I could talk about TV and hot water in that same way.

In that time there was a high tolerance level for physical inconvenience. Yes, many were in the same situation. Yes, many things today considered necessities were unavailable. Yes, most did not gripe, because if you could eat, live dry, and survive, that was acceptable. Circumstances that could not be quickly “fixed” were accepted.

God had a goal. God’s goal—to reconcile with people (2 Corinthians 5:20, 21). Though God worked continuously, people kept hindering God by loving evil and hating His values. The result: our reaction to God’s efforts continued to prolong God’s timetable.

Godly people committed to God’s values knew God was doing something special. When they inquired as to WHEN God would do these unknown things, God said, “Not in your lifetime.” Though the human need was enormous, God would achieve His goal in the future. So God said, “Keep your commitment by understanding you are blessing people of the future. I am using your faithfulness for My will, but My ultimate goal is not for you now.”

Can you imagine God telling you that? “It is not about you or now.” Psst—a secret. What secret? Christianity is still not about us or now. The ultimate is not about forgiveness, nor the “correct” combination of forgiveness and physical indulgence. The ultimate is about living with God eternally. Would you suffer for others? Would you say, “God, what happens to me is unimportant—just use it for Your purposes”?

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 09 August, 2009


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