Things that no longer bother me

“Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor my eyes lofty.  Neither do I concern myself with great matters, nor with things too profound for me” (Psalm 131:1).

At least, I hope that’s true of me.

A young minister texted to say he was studying the various explanations and interpretations about the day of the Lord’s actual crucifixion, the number of days/nights He was in the tomb, etc.  “What is your theory?” he wanted to know.

I replied that I don’t have a theory, that for a lot of reasons such questions do not bother me.

He did not say whether that was a satisfactory answer.  But it’s the truth.

A lot of things I used to obsess about and study and address in sermons no longer bother me.  Part of it–I would hope all of it–results from a mature perspective of the world and the call of God.  Some things just do not matter to me that much.  If you the reader disagree, that’s fine and it’s your privilege.  I’m not saying the Lord makes all His disciples the same. The variety of His gifts and calls seems endless.

I no longer worry about the place of the nation of Israel in God’s plan.  Most of the citizens of Israel seem not to be religious at all, and one gets the impression that Israel’s political leaders are playing America’s conservative Christians like a harp in order to keep the tourists coming and America’s government pro-Israel.

I read somewhere that there are more Jews in New York State than in the entire nation of Israel.

The Lord is going to do whatever He is going to do about all this Middle Eastern business, and He does not need my help or advice.  Nothing in the Word commands me to spend my time on that.  As has been said by better people than me concerning the Second Coming, “I’m not on the time and place committee, but on the preparation team.”

I no longer worry about whether this end-time prophecy is fulfilled or that one is.  When I was a young minister, I was caught up–to some degree–in such matters: the identity of the antichrist, the interpretation of Revelation, and the birth of Israel as a nation in 1948, with particular emphasis on what “this generation shall not pass away until all these things be fulfilled” means.  Since 71 years have come and gone since 1948 and no one’s definition of “one generation” includes that many years, clearly that was not the sign most expositors thought it was.

I don’t worry about prophecy fulfillment.  I believe God’s word, but there are many parts of it–mostly the prophetic parts–I do not understand.  And, if you will allow me, friend, neither do you.

The great Bible teacher Warren Wiersbe, on the program to speak on Bible prophecy, began his message with these ominous words: “I know a lot less about prophecy than I used to.”

Smart man.  One could wish a lot of prophecy experts had the same humility and caution.

I do not obsess about politics.  I keep informed and I vote conservative and frequently speak out, but I know one huge thing: Good people take different sides of issues like global warming, gun control, health care, and the like.  I am pro-life without a moment’s hesitation and I grieve over the drug culture and the ease with which people can buy guns in this country.  But after living through the administrations of FDR, Harry Truman, Eisenhower, JFK, LBJ, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama, and now Trump, I do not look to Washington for much in the way of integrity, virtue, or righteousness.  And in case you have not figured it out yet, I do not think President Trump is God’s answer for America.  I voted for him but mostly because I felt the alternative was worse.

I know that the king’s heart is like a channel of water in the Lord’s hands; He turns it wherever He wishes.  Proverbs 21:1.

I pray for our President.  Then, I leave him with the Father.

I don’t worry about denominational politics.  The Southern Baptist Convention–my group–mostly ignores whoever is in the driver’s seat.  We lived through the so-called moderates, endured a few nutty fundamentalistis,  and went through the administrations of some very good people whom I admired.  Some changes for the better were made but a lot of good people were left bleeding in the road as a result of those battles.  Frankly, I’m happy to be out of it. God bless those of you still on the front line.

When I was a young preacher, I felt I should have an answer for every question people asked.

Imagine that.

I grew out of that in time.  Eventually, I found great comfort in being able to say, “I honestly do not know.”  And then I stopped talking.

The shallow and superficial–the arrogant and ignorant, if you will–are never satisfied with that.  It reminds me of what the Apostle Peter said concerning those who misuse the teachings of the Apostle Paul.  “In them are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.”  (2 Peter 3:16).

Let’s not do that.

It’s not sacrilege to admit there are things in Scripture hard to understand.  As we note above, even Holy Scripture admits that.  How we handle such texts says much about our maturity, and how we relate to people who take opposite views probably says even more.

Let us love one another, beloved, for love is of God.  And love between fellow believers is the identifying characteristic of the redeemed.

 

9 thoughts on “Things that no longer bother me

  1. You are amazing, dear brother. I am only 61 and am right there with you on most everything you have said. You are a blessing thanks for blessing so many of us. Your friend, Tim Kunkel.

  2. Thank you Bro. Joe for your continued ministry, words of wisdom, and friendship. Appreciate your prayers too!

  3. So I guess I’m not “falling away” either! Hallelujah! Just continuing the maturing and sanctification process. Amen.

  4. Love your comments!!! Ever since I was saved I figured most of the stuff doesn’t matter. There was so much I didn’t understand but I knew that God made the world and everything in it. He sent His Son as a perfect sacrifice for each and every one of us I have repented of my sins and try to live as would be in accordance with the guidelines He has given us. I fail every day. The rest of the history doesn’t matter caus at my age I can’t remember it anyway. The current situation of the world…..I do what I can with God’s help and leave the rest to him. I am ready for Him to come today or whenever He knows it is time. My worrying or guessing doesn’t make any difference. Praise God He is in charge!!!!!!

  5. Great stuff, Joe. Maybe it’s age but I just don’t feel like any of these things are worth taking up brain space any more.

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