August 2, 2021

A Word about the Word

If the ax is dull, and one does not sharpen its edge, then one must exert more strength. [Ecclesiastes 10:10]

A dull axe requires more strength to get the job done, so sharpen the blade. The point? An overused life and tired mind will not get it done. God’s wisdom will help you live well.

I mowed a lot of lawns in my teen years. There’s nothing worse than a dull lawn mower blade. It simply bends the long grass or makes an utter mess while cutting it poorly. Ever feel like a dull lawn mower blade? You’re doing a good thing in a frustrating and unproductive way. You’re spending so much time and energy but yielding only messy and minor results. Is it time to sharpen your blade? What are some practical steps you can take to make tasks more productive? Where does wisdom fit in to the mix?

Close to Home

“Your fraternity [of pastors] are becoming a bunch of charlatans.” Words from a friend upon learning about another pastoral character failure. The Achilles’ heel used to be adultery with an occasional heresy; now, the prevailing sin(s) seem to be bullying and behemoth-sized egos. With some people no longer seeing the need for church these days, the manginess of some shepherds adds one more excuse for their absence. And, if you think about it, with other church “goers” now primarily choosing the livestream option and selecting the popular preacher du jour, the famous, bloated-ego-pastor machine is simply getting more fuel. Maybe I should have been a plumber.

Speaking of pastors, I have heard of not a few who are experiencing crises in confidence, bewilderment, and burnout during these COVID days. Some are running on emotional and creative fumes while trying to cope and adjust to the insanity of this season. I’m fine, thanks for asking. 🙂 Sue is a wise and fun partner in ministry and life; our staff is quite resilient and resourceful; and our elder team is very supportive and spiritually mature. I am grateful for all of them and for having taken the class “How to Avoid Adultery and Bullying While Pastoring Amid a Global Pandemic, Political Polarization, and Racial Divisions” years ago in seminary. 🙂

The World as It Is

Recently, Sue and I watched a Netflix documentary on the presidential run of Robert F. Kennedy. It reminded us of how similar 1968 was to our current day. Racial strife everywhere, culminating in the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. Political divisions defined the landscape with the Democratic Convention in Chicago marred by fighting in the convention hall and violent riots outside. In 1968, our country was in a dark, dangerous, and divided place, not unlike today. Want some hope? Church historians (and people that can remember that long ago) remind us that following the upheaval of ‘68 there was a spiritual movement of many, many people converting to Christ. We can pray for the similarities to continue.

Tokyo Drama

A lot of drama is coming out of the Olympics in Tokyo, from the men’s basketball team struggling to meet high expectations to Simone Biles surprisingly bowing out due to her mental health (had to smile at tennis player Novak Djokovic, who took a swipe at Simone’s mental toughness and then had a meltdown himself and skipped town before finishing his matches. Yikes!) to American runner Isaiah Jewett, who helped a fellow runner to his feet just after they both crashed and fell before the finish line. Sportsmanship at its finest.

I’ll catch you on the other side.