December 29, 2020

 

Craig's Comments 

 
“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.” Matthew 7:24-25

I have read so many newsletters from ministries talking about the relief of surviving this year and the promise of a new year. Quite honestly, I really don’t care to write another one of those. Don’t get me wrong, when asked about my take on this year I have quoted A Tale of Two Cities by saying “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Most of us do not remember what the rest of that passage says, “…it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” Charles Dickens was not only a master story teller, but a wordsmith! How can we have so many vast experiences in a single year? In the midst of some global challenges, many of us have still been blessed immensely. Some of us may have even taken pride in how we had weathered the storms only to realize that we had not remained unscathed.

However we find ourselves in this new year, I am resolved that storms are a very real part of life. This may come as no surprise as many of us have seen our share, but the way in which we face them and weather them can make all of the difference. So many of us find ourselves easily falling into a routine without ever wondering if we are truly standing firmly upon the rock of Jesus Christ. When the torrents and floodwaters arrive, we realize where our foundation truly lies.

While I trust that these words may resound with you personally, now imagine what it has been like for those who are not walking with Christ or connected with a church family. This reality is at the heart of missions as we seek to make a difference in our community. From toy stores to food pantries and everything in between, the good news of Christ is crucial. Without it, we are using a band-aid to treat cancer. The deep seated needs of people are much more profound in the world that we live in. People are desperately grabbing everything that they can to fill the void that all of humanity experiences.

Stu Weber in his book Tender Warrior noted, "I love the story of an American shoe company who sent one its salesmen to a remote country on another continent. The guy had barely arrived before he wanted a ticket home. He wired the home office, 'Get me out of here! This country is so backward they don't even wear shoes here.' Sometime later the company sent a different salesman to the same country. He wired immediately, 'Send me all of the shoes you can manufacture. This place is a goldmine! No one here has any shoes!'

So why don't we stop trying to buy a ticket back to 2019 and get busy in 2021 selling shoes! (Or serving Jesus if you know what I mean.)

Craig Clayton