I cut a friend's grass yesterday. The yard looks like it should have been located on the side of Mt. Everest (probably an exaggeration, there was no snow and ice). In total, there may have been about 2-3 percent of the yard on level ground, the rest was sloped and in some places really steep sloped! Now, I know why several other people declined to help my friend. No matter, the grass is cut and the friend is pleased. Oh, and I am beat. Along with the hillside yard were tree stumps, rocks, roots, and a few other obstacles.
(From the top looking down)
There were more than enough reasons to 'not' cut the grass. I've heard it said, "If you are going to be stubborn, you'd better be tough." As I read through some scripture this morning, I came across this:
On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” Aware that his
disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? What if you see the Son of
Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have
spoken to you are spirit and they are life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had
known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say,
“This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.” From this time
many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. “You do not want to leave too, do you?”
Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of
eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:60-69, NIV)
Jesus had been sharing some difficult teachings with His followers. He was asking them to do things and live outside their comfort zone. He was talking about a dangerous kind of faith. Sad to think that many followers of Jesus, those who had invested their time and energy into Him, suddenly decided another course of action was better (easier).
This journey of faith we are on is far from comfortable and cushy. In fact, I would challenge anyone who is in a comfortable faith to stop and reconsider their level of commitment and involvement. Many in the circle of friends that followed Jesus were walking only in the sunshine. Here when Jesus explained to those followers of a more stormy atmosphere, many deserted Him.
Faith is a strange animal in that sunny days are a given. We celebrate when things are going well. Hopefully, we are thanking God for these good days. Although, sometimes, we celebrate good times as though we were the ones responsible for them. Having an enduring faith when the storms of life are pounding us into the ground is a bit more challenging. During the dark times, we struggle with faith and wonder why God isn't swooping in to rescue us. We may even desert our God and think there is a better way in some other faith or no faith at all.
Faith then is an ongoing story that we live into. God uses the sunny and the stormy days to meld us into a witness of obedience, of trust, of steadfastness, and of dependence upon God's strength. In the scriptures from John 6, none of the disciples who stayed with Jesus could do what Jesus asked them to do apart from the power of God. Peter admitted as much.
If your day today is filled with sunshine, praise the Lord. No, seriously, stop and give God a praise offering. If on the other hand, your day is filled with storms of uncertainty and turmoil, praise the Lord. No, seriously, give the Lord a praise offering.
There is no other place to find the hope of eternal life than through Jesus Christ. Follow Him in good and bad times. He'll never waste your devotion.