When a family in our church lost their home to a fire, fellow church members sprang into action with clothes, shelter and gift cards. Then they helped with the painful process of sifting through the ruins to salvage valuables and memories. Our church put into practice what the apostle Paul instructed: “Weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15).
Who we spend our time with matters. In middle school and early high school, some of my friends were a bad influence on me, and my desire to fit in was leading me to act like everyone but Jesus.
In a previous ministry position, I was responsible for directing pastoral care at a church. My job was to remind people of God’s presence through my presence and prayers as well as to oversee those offering care to others. When someone was sick or dying, a family was going through a crisis, or a newborn baby was brought home, I was there to offer care, as well as discover if and how our church family could help further.
Following a long season of loss, hardship, transition, and illness, my heart and mind were in a fragile place. Though my assurance that Jesus Christ is “our great God and Savior” (Titus 2:13) remained intact, I had many questions about what it meant to fully trust Him in the day-to-day aspects of life.
A pastor friend told my husband and me that he’s considering leaving the ministry because he feels as if his efforts haven’t resulted in heart change for any of his congregants—that their priorities remained out of step with God’s. After my husband and I prayed for him, he told us that we had encouraged him. Even so, I’m not confident that he’ll remain in fulltime pastoral ministry.
The honeymoon is over. Life is settling back to routine—a new one. Now you have a partner to live with. It’s no longer just about your preferences and habits. You need to learn to tango with him or her in a new paradigm. That’s where we start stepping on each other’s toes. And that’s where Song of Solomon 5:2-3 comes in.
Slate magazine’s William Saletan indicts our culture stating: “Every time you answer your cell phone in traffic, squander your workday on YouTube, text a colleague during dinner, or turn on the TV to escape your kids, you’re leaving this world. You’re neglecting the people around you, sometimes at the risk of killing them.”
Wow! And he didn’t even mention the addictive…
John Mark, a young man, had joined Paul and Barnabas in their first missionary journey (Acts 13:4-5).
For some unspecified reason(s), he abandoned the missions trip (v.13). Perhaps he was homesick. Perhaps he couldn’t take the tough life of the mission field. Paul was ticked because of John Mark’s lack of commitment and because he abandoned the mission.