March 20, 2017

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..."Zeal for Your house will consume me." John 2:17

His disciples remembered that it was written, “ZEAL FOR YOUR HOUSE WILL CONSUME ME.” John 2:17

By Mike Stickler

Remember the scene Jesus has just made a scourge or whip and cleaned out the temple of the self serving, and the sales guys peddling their wares to the congregation of the Temple? I can’t help but imagine these merchandisers being confused by such action. They had just set up their tables and displays, got their demonstration up and running, and were in full swing of hawking their wares when this spoil-sport comes in roughing up the place. After all, there was a system in place, there was a need for doves and lambs for sacrifice, and hadn’t the temple priests and the law demanded such animal sacrifice? And weren’t the sales guys just meeting a niche market? They had each identified a demand in the market and were just fulfilling it. And, just in case you forgot your own unblemished lamb, they would have one on-hand for sale at a premium for your convenience.

Then, I can see the disciples all bunched together looking at this melee of over-turned tables, loose animals and money spilled, wondering who does this guy think He is? I mean I realize He is The Christ and all. But to disrupt the system - the religious system of the time - could have some serious backlash. Then they remembered King David’s statement in Psalm 69:9 that even in his distress that zeal for Your house (still) consumes him!  That Jesus actually had that zeal and would not allow such selfish ambition to dwell in His house.  They all knew it was wrong, the sales guys knew it was wrong, the Priests knew it was wrong, but out of a lack of zeal, they turned a blind eye to what was happening right under their noses.  They became culturally captive to the norm of the times.

In this time in history, we still experience this lack of zeal. All we need to do is open the newspaper and see one church debacle after another, demonstration after demonstration of the cultural captivity that binds us all. How about you and me in the church? Do we have that zeal for the Bride of Christ that we are willing to sacrifice for her? Protect her? Love her? I’m not asking for some kind of blind devotion to a man-made or cultural institution, like the salesmen at the temple gates.  But show Christ’s zeal and devotion to the Body that Jesus established, His Church, and a love for Her that would drive us to our knees or to our feet in outrage. Okay, so here is how you can Life this out:

  1. Be part of the Solution, not the problem.
    1. If you don’t like the direction of your church, get involved.  Have coffee with your pastor and ask for a full vision of the church in his own words. Listen to understand, not to respond. Then ask how you can get involved or fit that vision.  Plug in with it, master it and influence it as the Holy Spirit would lead.
 
  1. Come alongside your leadership
    1. Find out who is in leadership, your upline at your church and make this person your mission. In prayer, service, support, friendship.  Go and have coffee together and ask two questions: What’s your vision for ministry? How can I serve you?
    2. Find one family to adopt.
      1. Not just the neediest (those are easy), but maybe a newlywed couple or a business owner, or a retired couple.
      2. When in doubt: Give.
        1. Make sure your first fruits are going in the offering plate, and then quietly give to those in the family that are faithful. Survey your excess and give it away. Kim and I have a rule in our house: If we have not used it in a year and a half, re-bless it - sell it or offer it to someone else. Use the proceeds (if sold) to pay off your own debt or give it away to someone in need. Be creative and ask your church leadership who might need it. Then give through your church benevolence program, remaining anonymous.
        2. Be a part of the Solution, not the problem.
          1. If you don’t like the direction of your church, get involved.  Have coffee with your pastor and ask for a full vision of the church in his own words. Listen to understand, not to respond. Then ask how you can get involved or fit that vision.  Plug in with it, master it and influence it as the Holy Spirit would lead.
          2. Get your family involved in the same process as above - spouse, children, and friends – and be the chief encouragers to them.


Mike Stickler
Mike Stickler

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