BY BEN LIPPERT |
1 Peter 5
An anxious pastor fresh out of seminary got his first phone call that a parishioner was in the hospital. He got in his car as quickly as possible to make the fifteen- minute trip across town. The only problem was that there was only a one- lane highway to get to the small town hospital and the old lady in front of him was driving 10-15 mph below the speed limit. This was intolerable to the young pastor. He started riding her bumper. That didn’t work. He tried honking his horn obnoxiously. She slowed down a couple of miles per hour. Finally, he started shaking his fist and offered gestures that would have made truckers blush.
The pastor was a little surprised when the car in front of him turned at the hospital. He was even more surprised when it turned into the same visitor’s lot he was headed for. There were only two spots available in the lot side-by-side, so the pastor had no choice but to park beside the woman. He saw her get out of her vehicle and he was horrified. It was Dolores, the wife of the man he was planning to visit. She was in tears because this was the first time in years that she drove instead of her husband and the antics of the driver behind her trampled over the tiny piece of thread that was keeping her composed.
The young pastor was beyond apologetic. He vowed from that day on to always drive his car as if there was a parishioner in the car in front of him and behind him. He learned the hard way what Peter was speaking about. 1 Peter 5:3, “Be an example to the flock.” Especially, when you think no one is watching.
Reflection question: When have you seen a Christian be a bad example in the world?
On Social Media
Judgmental comments in public
Athletes in front of the camera
How they talk about people when someone is not in the room
I know some basketball referees and some baseball/ softball umpires that will not officiate games at some Christian schools, because the parents there are so nasty and mean to them.
I always found that funny. Why bother to teach children the Gospel, if you are not going to be a good example and teach them how to live out the gospel with mercy and grace?
Moravians have always believed that Gospel application is more important than Gospel knowledge. A bible verse we memorize and refuse to live serves no benefit to us. We might as well memorize the phone book. We are called to live the words we memorize.
I think this is an important lesson to carry with us on Ascension Sunday. Just because Jesus physically left this earth that does not mean his teachings and his ministry should leave with him. Those lessons of compassion and mercy should be implemented seriously by his disciples.
Luke 24:51 said, “While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven.” I love that imagery. Jesus left the earth in the middle of blessing others. If you think about it, Jesus continues to bless his followers. He never stopped.
That means we should not store those blessings up. We should share them with the world around us.
Pastor Rick Warren said, “We are healed to help others. We are blessed to be a blessing. We are saved to serve, not to sit around and wait for heaven.”
This life we have been given is not a practice concert. It is our most important performance. One of the devil’s greatest victories is convincing millions of Christians that their focus should be on getting into heaven and that they should just survive the challenges of this earth.
We need to remember the most famous prayer that Jesus taught us to pray. “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done. On earth as it is in heaven.”
What we do on this earth to bring Christ’s vision of compassion into this world matters. It is one of our highest callings. That love is how the Holy Spirit is still felt on this earth.
Moravians do not obsess over the end of days. We do not quiver in fear about it either. We believe the Loving Savior that walked this earth will be the same loving Savior when he returns.
Until that day comes we roll up our sleeves and get to work in the mission field each and every one of us has been sent to. This earth in this moment in time. When our Savior descends to us again we don’t want him to find millions of Christians simply waiting for him to make the world a better place, but hopefully, Jesus will find a better place than he left it because the compassion of his disciples continues to bless the world in new and unique ways.
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Brothers and sisters, let us get to work. The time is now.
About the author
Ben Lippert is a seminary student at Moravian Theological Seminary in Bethlehem, PA. He is a freelance journalist that has had articles published by Huffington Post, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Inside Wisconsin Sports, and the Watertown Daily Times. He uses his blog as an outlet to share his passion for following the footsteps of Jesus. His spiritual philosophy is best summed up by the Reverend James Lawson, “God’s love is unconditional and excludes no one.”
He is a cochlear implant recipient and a sports addict. He believes laughter is a vastly underrated spiritual discipline. He is a Moravian. To him, being a Moravian means working to build a world where love of neighbor and God cannot be separated. Jan Hus said, “Live like Christ and you will know Christ well.”
His favorite Scripture passage is 1 John 3:16-18, “We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us- and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.” Visit his blog here: https://lippertslipservice.wordpress.com/
Republished by the CCD with permission. Please forward any republishing requests to the author.
Want to volunteer to write for us? Click here