The people of God are special: Handle with care

“I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14).

Before the mediator delivered his decision in a church lawsuit which had been kicked into his domain, the adjudicator said, “I am well aware that in rendering my decision, I am dealing with the fine china of people’s lives.”

We interpret that to mean he was taking great care to get it right, knowing that people could be hurt, lives could be shattered.

We appreciate those who exercise such caution and wish the crazy driver on the highway would be as thoughtful.

Every pastor who stands in the pulpit on the Lord’s Day to proclaim God’s word would do well to keep that in mind.  You are dealing with people destined for eternity, souls for whom Christ died, those who were loved from the foundation of the world.  People indwelt by the Holy Spirit, redeemed by the blood of Christ, commissioned by God to do His work in the world.

They are His children and we are to be careful.

“Give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your pepple… for who is able to govern this great people of Yours?” prayed Solomon as he ascended to the throne (I Kings 3:9).

We could wish Solomon were as considerate later in his reign as he had been at the beginning.

Our caution here is for the shepherd of the Lord’s flock.

Let us handle with care.   Let’s not run roughshod over anyone.

I sat in a courtroom recently and thought of these things.  The Mississippi State Supreme Court building is in downtown Jackson, two blocks from my church.  The Chief Justice, William Waller, Jr., is a friend of long standing.  Some 45 years ago, as a member of the First Baptist Church staff, I taught young Bill in the college Sunday School class.  He had invited me to sit in and observe his court in session.

My notes from that day contain this:

Atmosphere in  Supreme Courtroom. Quiet.  Protected.  Hallowed (in theory at least).  Why? Weighty subject matter and distinguished jurors.  Atmosphere in your church?  Like the courtroom, we get what we ask for.

Not long ago, while drawing in a local elementary school, I noticed the child sitting before me was named Amiracle.  The teacher said, “Tell Mr. McKeever how you got your name, honey.”  The little girl said, “My mother lost three babies before I was born.  When I lived, she said I was a miracle.”

We’re all miracles, aren’t we?  Made in the image of God, objects of the love of an eternal Father, destined for eternity.

Christ died for you.  You must be far more valuable you ever imagined even at your most egotistical moment. You might want to treat your eternal soul with care.

Many years ago, I heard of a young man on board an ocean liner who was playing carelessly with a diamond, tossing it around.  When the ship lurched, the youth slipped and the priceless gem dropped into the ocean.  He received a lesson of a lifetime, one he surely spent the rest of his days regretting.

“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul? And what shall he give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26)



1 thought on “The people of God are special: Handle with care

  1. Great thoughts, Joe. As always.

    Sometimes we shepherds err by saying the wrong things to the precious souls in our care. At other times we miss the opportunity to say just the right word for the moment that could have made a lifetime of difference in a parishioner’s journey.

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