‘A Word from the Pastor’
By Clayton Adams
If you woke to see the sun shine this morning you are not guaranteed to see the sun set. So it is with life everyday. We cannot change the past neither can we tell the future. In the New Testament we are given glimpses into eternity and the very real spiritual battles we fight. For example, there is the letter written to the Hebrew Christians; “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2). The Bible teaches, I believe, that we each have a “race” or a course that has been “set before” us by God. I cannot run your race, neither can you run my race in life. How can one know why someone was tragically killed in an automobile accident and another was not? Why cancer strikes one family hard and not another? The randomness of life seem to be fickle, deceptive and misleading with some believing life is random but the Bible states all life is specific, purposeful, significant no matter the length. The writer of Hebrews encouraged his readers to live free of things that weighed them down, entangled them and to set their sight not on the present difficulties but looking to Jesus. It is Jesus who walks and runs beside us to the finish line, cheering us on. Stephen, one of the first deacons selected to serve and lead the new church, at the conclusion of preaching his first (and only) sermon, was falsely accused and illegally stoned to death (Acts 6&7). Both biblical accounts give the same key insight into how we should face life everyday. In Hebrews we are told to follow Jesus’ example, who, while on the Cross, looked at the destination and not the troubles of the journey. Christ saw the “joy” that was to become His. It was seeing this “joy” that enabled Him to run the race that was “set” before Him. That joy will be yours and mine one day soon! In Stephen’s situation — he was given a glimpse into the “glory of God and the Son of Man (Jesus) standing at the right hand of God.” It was this glimpse of God’s glory that empowered Stephen to endure, to run and to finish his “race.” What is entangling you? What is keeping you from finishing well? I urge you, despite the difficulties, frustrations and the wounds and hurts of life to continue on with your “race” for the “perfecter of faith” shall strengthen and empower you. Don’t give in, don’t give up and don’t give out! Clayton Adams is pastor at Earle First Assembly of God. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or find Earle First Assembly on Facebook.