Sunday, December 21, 2008

Mixed Nuts - Salted

On thursday, Pastor Andrew Staggs said to me, "sometimes you just see God in everything". This is true, and this blog entry is probably the most quirky so far. Today's blog is inspired by my afternoon snack. Mixed Nuts - salted.

Let me explain. About 2 years ago, I read the book by John Ortberg entitled 'Everyone is normal until you get to know them'. It significantly impacted me and challenged my concept of a 'normal' person. The reality is - none of us are normal. Everyone has warts and idiosyncrasies of some kind, it's just that some of us are better at hiding them than others (and some don't worry about hiding them whatsoever!). We are all a little nutty at some point or to someone.

Ortberg's point was that each person we encounter is like clothes on a 'clearance' rack - we accept them on an 'as is' basis. We can't take them back for a refund because they have imperfections that we weren't previously aware of.

I'm sitting here eating some Mixed Nuts - salted. I thought.. that's the Church!

We, like the world, are a collection of unique individuals who bring together our strengths, our weaknesses, our experiences, our shortcomings and our quirkiness. None of us are 'normal'.

We get offended, we get inspired, we have different likes and dislikes..

However, the difference between us and the world is our salt.

Matthew 5:13 says "You are the salt of the earth. "

Colossians 4:6 (NIV) says "Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. "

The message says it like this: "Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out. "

Having speech that is seasoned with salt means that we seek to bring out the best in each other, we encourage each other, we refrain from tearing down one another, gossiping about one another, and judging one another.

Luke 6:37 "Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults--unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don't condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you'll find life a lot easier. "

This is more than a good idea. It is very important. In John 17:23, Jesus prayed for the church. He prayed "May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me."

Unity is one of the ways we show the world God's love for us and for them. We can't have unity when we place on each other our unrealistic expectations for them to meet our view of 'normal' - which is reflected in our actions and our speech towards others and about others. There is favour and blessing when God's people are unified, and more significantly, there is influence and impact.

Affectionately speaking, the church is an assortment of mixed nuts! By letting our words and actions edify one another, we can make sure these nuts stay salted.

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