The following text is slightly modified from a recent prayer letter I sent out to our supporters, uniquely qualified to fill a space here:
A few weeks ago on a Wednesday afternoon a local pastor came down for an afternoon training. He walked in to our little office and took his pants off. Just laid them over the chair like it was nothing and sat down in his boxers to study. I've been walking him through one of the materials our team offers, hoping he can learn it well enough to offer the training in his church. But this is the first time I've been in the presence of a pant-less pastor while teaching.
While we've been here a while now, and less and less seems to surprise me, I suppose there are still a number of cultural things I just simply wont ever understand.
The next week I had the opportunity to preach at the same pastor's house church. This isn't actually something I've done very often. While I teach a lot, I seldom have opportunity to preach. One of the things I love about teaching the Bible is the way it requires me to really dive in to it for a while and pull out something that works on my heart. So that morning I spoke on Psalm 1.
I cant share everything I spoke about in this little of a space, but the part the Lord really used to work in my heart is related to the righteous person being planted by streams of water. While I've read this chapter many times, it had never sunk in just how significant it is that we as believers receive our life from a completely different source than the world.
Most people around us depend on themselves for everything. They're taught that this isn't just the way things are, but that it's also inherently good to not need others. Some people call religion, or even Jesus, a crutch. Something to lean on so you don't have to support yourself. It's such an apt description.
The beauty of this passage is that we are the righteous ones. We are not planted by the stream of water because we're awesome, but rather because Christ is awesome. We are righteous despite our unrighteousness because of the work of Christ (praise the Lord for the Gospel). And as a result this whole Psalm is not a burden-giving directive, but rather is a burden-relieving promise. We will bear fruit, because our life source is constant. We could attempt to live on our own strength, but it would be pretty foolish when our life source is the stream we were graciously planted beside.
The Holy Spirit lives in us, empowers us, strengthens us, and communes with us. And feeding us we have the Word of God; the life-breathing, liberty-giving, good news of our God's great love for His people. All because Christ is awesome.
I've been chewing on this truth for some time now. How the Lord uses us despite our foolishness, sometimes in hilarious pant-less situations. How He feeds us from His word despite our ignorance. How He gives us the strength to live, love others, and minister despite our constant weakness and baseless fear the stream will dry up.
Anyhow, I've been blessed recently as I've dwelled on my source of life being the Lord and His Word. I hope it's a blessing to you as well.
And if ever I find myself teaching a 60 year old man who has pastored a church for 33 years while he lounges around in his boxers again, I hope I'm just as humbled by it as I was the first time. I also hope the Lord continues to bless us with such ridiculous opportunity because of His grace, mercy, and willingness to bear fruit through such a strange looking tree planted by His stream of life.