‘A Word from the Pastor’
By Clayton Adams
Do you cherry pick? What I mean by this question is do you select the best or most desirable while leaving the more undesirable or more difficult things alone? Many Christians read their Bible and cherry pick what they want to believe or practice in life. For example, the Old Testament clearly required ancient people to give at a minimum of 10% (and at times considerably more) of all their gain to support the work of God in temple operations. While Christians read the New Testament, I suspect many are tempted to believe they are not required to give 10% and thus give considerably less to support church operations and mission efforts. But giving is never about the amount, our giving reflects the attitude we have towards God. Another example of cherry picking is that of grace. Grace, may be defined simply as ‘giving favor to someone who does not deserve favor’ (think of the prodigal son in Luke chapter 15). In my own life and by casually observing the lives of others, I’ve concluded that in general, people afford more grace to themselves than to someone else as Christ desires. For instance, I sometimes judge others more harshly because I judge them based on results and I judge myself based on my intentions (this is wrong). Correcting this wrong in my life I very often think of what Jesus said in Matthew 7:1-2 “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” I’ve found my “standard” of judging, is often vastly different when comparing others to myself. This should be very scary – with whatever standard and level of vitriol a person uses to judge others, this will be the standard used to judge that same person. I don’t deserve the grace God gives but I am sure glad He gives His grace freely and abundantly to me! The words of Jesus found in Matthew 7:1-2 help me extend grace to others and enables me to treat others as I want to be treated. I am not always successful at giving grace but the longer I live the more I want to be generous in giving grace to others. In John 1:14 we read, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Because Christ is full of “grace”, we can be full of grace. It is easy to cherry pick what we like and enjoy and disregard the more unpleasant and laborious tasks of scripture and life. However, the grace we receive from Christ requires we extend grace to those who do not deserve the gift of grace. Ephesians 2:4-5 states, “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in sin, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved.) Remember, it is better to forgive and give grace too much than to condemn others too much. 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.