The Ten Commandments are still a shorthand for many people in our culture to talk about the Bible. ‘I believe in the Ten Commandments,’ usually means that the person believes in what the Bible teaches about being a good person, without getting too bogged down with the details. Church-going Christians would claim a higher standard, but I’m not sure that our approach is all that much better. Quick question: can you name the first commandment, without peaking? And could you give some quick examples of how it shapes the way you live? While most people do fairly well with at least the surface level of commands not to murder and steal, I’m not convinced that we score so high with the first commandment. Take a moment to consider it with me.
The church has often been accused of being all about families and not about singles. I think the criticism is well taken. “Focus on the Family” is not only the name of an organization but it could also be used to describe many churches. I remember a Japanese pastor seeking my advice as to whether a single man he was mentoring could be considered for the ministry even though he wasn’t married. I responded with a strong “Yes,” but instead of just pointing to Jesus and the apostle Paul as justification, I pointed to the growing number of single adults in our society and the unique challenges they face. In the early 2000’s, adult single people outnumbered married people for the first time in Canada. And the temptations are greater than ever. That’s why I was glad to see the article by Tyler Velin entitled “Don’t Waste Your Singleness.” While the title sounds a little preachy, the principles he highlights are important.
In the New Testament, next to Jesus, no one’s service stands out more than the apostle Paul. And yet he made a puzzling statement about serving God: The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. (Acts 17:24-25)
God doesn’t need anything and so there’s a sense in which no one could possibly serve Him. We don’t “help God out” by our service. If He could create the heavens with a word and part the Red Sea by His power, surely He doesn’t need our help to change diapers in the nursery. And yet the God who cannot be served, commands us to serve Him. What’s going on?
On Sunday we had a time of dedication for one of our church families. The couple dedicated themselves before God and the church family to train and love and seek their baby's salvation. And we dedicated ourselves before God to love and support their family in their commitments. For me it was an opportunity to think on some of the lessons God has taught me about parenting