Now as an elder myself and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as one who shares in the glory to be revealed, I exhort the elders among you to tend the flock of God that is in your charge, exercising the oversight, not under compulsion but willingly, as God would have you do it — not for sordid gain but eagerly. Do not lord it over those in your charge, but be examples to the flock. And when the chief shepherd appears, you will win the crown of glory that never fades away. In the same way, you who are younger must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you must clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for
“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering. And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the power forever and ever. Amen.
~ 1 Peter 5:1 - 11
Just recently I spent time talking with a dear friend and colleague in ministry who is in the process of moving into the family home that was built back in the 1830's in Kentucky. For the last twenty years, it has been home to her stepmother who just recently died.
The home was originally a log cabin structure, and over the years, more rooms were added and updates completed.
One of the first things she did when she returned to the home was opened all the drapes to allow the sunshine to enter. She shared that when growing up that there was a warmth in the house, that was completed with sunlight. She went on to say that the house has been a place of hospitality and sanctuary. Often family members would visit the homestead at the invitation of others, and around the table there would always be enough.
She shared that there was a "code" when the food was being passed. If there possibly wasn't going to be enough, she said her father had developed a code called, "FHB."
It stood for "Family Hold Back" and then he would quietly share what to hold back. For instance, he might say, "FHB green beans." That would serve as gesture for family members to take less green beans so that guests might be able to have plenty.
What a wonderful memory, and lesson on discipline and hospitality.
While there is great abundance when we gather around the table of God, it should be approached with humility. While the invitation is open to all, the cost for the invitation has been filtered through many circumstances, including the giving of Christ.
Our invitation and participation to come and gather should always have a sense of humility, even though there will always be an abundance. It is the blessing awaiting us all. Come and taste the goodness of the Lord...
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2017
Today Lord, no matter where I sit to eat and to enjoy the blessings You have given, may I realize the presence of great abundance and be humbled by the love You have for me. Amen.
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain and ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.