“Safe” or Sound?

Ecclesiastes 11:1-4 ESV

Cast your bread upon the waters,
for you will find it after many days.
Give a portion to seven, or even to eight,
for you know not what disaster may happen on earth.
If the clouds are full of rain,
they empty themselves on the earth,
and if a tree falls to the south or to the north,
in the place where the tree falls, there it will lie.
He who observes the wind will not sow,
and he who regards the clouds will not reap.

When I first read this, I had no clue what it was saying. The second and third time I read it, I still didn’t grasp its meaning. So, if you are where I was when you read this, just know you are not alone. For, its meaning escaped me.

So, I prayed for understanding, and I read several old commentators, and it was still like muddy water to me. Yet, I felt the Lord had a message for me here that he wanted me to grasp, so although in the flesh I wanted to throw in the towel, so to speak, I persevered, and kept praying for understanding.

Then, I felt led to read some commentary that was a little more current, and as I read these more up-to-date commentaries, all of a sudden what I sensed the Lord wanted to show me through this began to plug in.

Summary

Fundamentally, this is saying, “Do something with your life. Don’t just sit back and wait for life to happen to you. Don’t just sit on your bottom and do nothing while you watch the world go by. Don’t wait around for some big opportunity to present itself to you. Take those little opportunities that are there every day, and seize them for the good of others.

“Take risks, but the good kind, not the bad kind. Faith involves risks. Make a difference in this world. Produce something. Impact people’s lives for the good. Help the needy. Share the gospel of salvation so that people can be saved from their sins. Follow the Lord in obedience to his will. Do what he has called you to do. Serve the Lord and others, and you will reap a harvest.

“Yes, life has its uncertainties. Yes, disaster could await us just around the corner, yet all the more reason we should now, not tomorrow, and not sometime in the future, be answering the call of God and doing what he says, and sharing our faith, and ministering to people’s needs, etc.

“For, if all we do is just sit back and watch life happen, or if all we do is just read the scriptures, and if all we do is expound the scriptures, but we don’t do what they say, then we are not going to reap a harvest of righteousness, but of death and decay” (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 6:7-8).

Playing it “Safe”

So many people want to “play it safe.” They don’t want to be “too religious” or people might think they are odd, strange and weird. Or, they fear they might have to give up some things they don’t want to let go of. Or, it might mean they have to change their lifestyle and give up control of their own lives and life choices, and they are not willing to do that. They want their “religion,” but they just don’t want to be what some people call “extreme.”

So, they are neither passionate about (on fire for) God/Jesus, nor are they entirely chilled (indifferent) to him. They are what we call “lukewarm.” They aren’t willing to go all the way with Jesus, so they go halfway. They don’t want to surrender all to Jesus, so they give up just some things. They don’t want to cut all the bad stuff out of their lives, so they cut out only a few things, at least to give an appearance that they are doing something.

Yet, halfway is not acceptable to God. Not saying here that we have to be absolutely perfect, but that halfhearted obedience to God/Jesus is not really obedience. It is still us controlling our own lives and destiny, deciding what we will “do for Jesus” and what we won’t. So, it is still flesh on the throne of our lives, not God/Jesus on the throne. It is us still being lord over our own lives instead of us surrendering to the Lordship of Christ over our lives.

So, the picture is this: Here you are in hot water, in trouble, drowning in your sin. Yet, instead of repenting of your sin, and surrendering your life to Jesus, you basically conceal the fact that you are still drowning in your sin by giving a halfhearted attempt at learning obedience, and so you try to apply this halfhearted obedience to your sin nature, to your flesh.

In this way, you are appeasing your flesh, not eradicating it from your life; not putting it to death, by the Spirit. And, so it gives the appearance of righteousness, or the appearance that you are moving in a forward direction. It gives the appearance that you are making headway with working through your sin issues, and that you are on the right course, but this is in order to tone down the reality that your life is still not yielded to Jesus, and that you are still operating in the flesh, and that you are doing so in order that you can still maintain the control over your own life.

So, the Lord is saying, if you are not willing to accept the cost of following Jesus, and if you are not willing to let go and to let God, to make him truly Lord (master) of your life, then don’t bother. Don’t make a pretense of following the Lord if you are not willing to surrender to his will for your life, and if you still intend on maintaining the authority over your own life (See: Rev. 3:14-22; Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).

Middle Ground

Many shepherds of the people today within our churches, or within the institutional church, and in the government, too, want Christians to maintain that lukewarm status. They don’t want us out there sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ, turning people from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so they can receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those sanctified by faith in Jesus Christ (See: Acts 26:18; Rom. 6:1-23).

They want us on “middle ground,” or on “common ground” with one another, and so they have reduced the gospel of Jesus Christ to a mere acceptance of Jesus’ forgiveness of our sins, or merely to an acceptance of his grace to us and of his blessings which will be poured upon us if we merely say “Yes” to Jesus, although that “Yes” is either not specified, or it is generalized to mean nothing more than acknowledgment of him and what he did for us.

So, according to them, no surrender to Jesus/God is required. Turning away from our lives of sin and following Jesus in obedience is also not required, or it is flat out discouraged and demonized as “works-based” salvation. For, what they want is for us all to still live in our sins, and they want nothing more than to provide hundreds of ways for us to engage in the wickedness of the flesh and to distract us, too, from holy living.

So, we want to reject this! This is not the kind of fruit we want in our lives. Following these false shepherds will provide us with no spiritual benefit whatsoever, but it will lead us straight to hell. For, scripture teaches that if we sow to the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction (decay, death). But, if we sow to the Spirit of God, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life.

So, we need to be those who are sowing to the Spirit, who are spreading the Word of God and God’s love and grace to others, who are setting the right kind of example for others to follow, and who are walking (conducting our lives) according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh.

Instead of just doing what we want while we wait for the day when we think we are going to get to go to heaven, we need to be practicing what we say we believe. We need to be doers of the Word and not hearers only. And, then we will reap a harvest of righteousness for the glory of God. Amen!

For Our Nation

An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: we’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

3 thoughts on ““Safe” or Sound?

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