Contradictions

purple flowers

Contradiction…we all know and understand the meaning behind this word.  Two things that oppose each other.  In English class we call them antonyms.  The two words that mean the opposite of each other.  The usual purpose behind a debate is caused by two or more people that have different usually opposing ideas that they not only feel very strongly about but also think is the only correct way to think.  We see this in our government on a pretty consistent basis these days.  Contradictions are not usually our favorite thing to discuss at a party, and yet the Bible has some contradictions that when looked at on the surface make no sense but when put into practice make perfect sense.

 

Here are a few:

  1. Matthew 10:39 “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

How can we find our life if we lose it?  Usually when I lose something, like a sock in the wash, it is lost.  We do not try to lose things on purpose so that we can then find them.  What was Jesus’ original intent when He spoke these words?  If we deny Christ in hopes of saving our lives, we lose the hope of eternal life.  When we surrender our lives to Christ, we gain the hope of eternal life.  Living a life surrendered to the will of God the Father will find the true purpose and the true meaning of life.  True purpose in life is not found in doing my will, but rather surrendering my will to the Father and doing His will.  Yes, a contradiction.

  1. Proverbs 11:24 “One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give and only suffers want.”

This one is certainly an enigma.  When we give we grow richer and when we withhold we are in want.  So many in our culture strive to have the best house, the best car, the best clothes…Three generations from now or even at our funerals will our house and our car be the things that are remembered?  Rather, when we attend funerals no one usually talks about another’s possessions but their character.  When we are generous with our love, compassion, gentleness, kindness, encouragement, friendship, hospitality, joy, peace…we grow richer.  When we are stingy with our kindness being so focused on meeting our own needs, we suffer.  It seems when I notice the needs of another and freely give of my time and talents, my heart grows richer.  When I fail to notice the needs of others and am so focused on my own needs, I feel even needier.  Loving those that do not deserve it or encouraging those that may not reciprocate fills my heart with more joy than keeping that love for myself.  Notice the pain in someone’s eyes and love them.  Notice the loneliness in someone’s life and be their friend.  We should be giving so freely that when it seems the cup is empty, God has refilled it with more than we had to start with.

  1. Proverbs 11:25 “Whoever brings blessing will be enriched and one who waters will himself be watered.”
  2. Acts 20:35 “…It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

What is the conclusion of the whole matter?  Live a life of contradiction.  Give when it seems there is nothing left to give, and God will reward you.  “Moreover, it is required of stewards that a man be found faithful.” (I Corinthians 4:2).  Will we be found as a faithful giver or a faithful withholder?  God has so richly given to us, should we not follow His example and be faithful givers.  Generosity (giving freely) is not always money.  We all have an endless supply of love, compassion, gentleness, kindness, encouragement, friendship, hospitality, joy, peace…why not give it all away.  Live a life of contradiction.  Jesus did!

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Content

A state of peaceful happiness and satisfaction

 

This the fourteenth and final “word on the wall in our kitchen.”  There are many thoughts and emotions wrapped up in this word for me this morning as I sit here and write this.  Last Friday, I had to take all the words off the wall.  We are moving to Grand Rapids this summer and the realtor told me I needed to remove the words before putting our house up for sale.  We had our first showing last week, even though our house is not officially on the market, so I took the words down.

 

Everyone in our home has a range of emotions when we talk about the move.  Our youngest daughter is having the most trouble with it because it will affect her life more than her sister’s.  They both leave for college in August, but she stays home and has to find a new church, make new friends, adapt to a new skating coach, and the list could go on.  My husband is elated since he will not have to drive to Grand Rapids a few times every week.  The best label for my emotions is “content.”  I have a peace about this move, though I too will have to make new friends and find a new church to serve in.

 

I have found in this process that contentment is not something I can strive for, rather it is something that comes from my heart.  It is a steadfastness that God is orchestrating the details of my life and in the midst of change, I can trust that he will take care of the unknown.  Please know that I am going to miss my church family here in Rochester.  Since we have no family close by, they have become our family.  I am going to miss the familiarity of being in a place for 16 years, but I have moved in the past and know that the familiarity will return.  Since God is orchestrating this move, I know He has a church home for us with a new church family and a new ministry to be a part of.

 

Whenever details seem to bring worry into our home, I am quick to remember that this is God’s plan and He has the details figured out better than I.  When we moved here we looked at over 50 houses.  My poor realtor.  I was pregnant, so maybe that explains it.  With the advent of technology, we looked at many more than 50 houses online.  We only looked at five houses this time, but kept coming back to the same one in our minds.  The one that we bought has been on the market since September of 2014.  We feel like God was saving it for us.

 

When we first talked about moving 2 years ago, I held very tightly to the AWANA ministry I am a part of.  I am the director of the 3-6 grade girls and I love the interaction I have with them and the lessons I teach them each week.  I love this ministry and I love the young girls that are a part of it.  Slowly over time, God has given me a peace about leaving this ministry knowing He would have something else and someone else to minister to. One day I realized that the tight grip with which I had held onto this ministry had relaxed and I was now content with surrendering something so precious to my God.

 

There are verses of contentment in the Bible, but in my experience contentment is a by-product of faith.  The more I trust my God, the greater my contentment is.  Life is much more enjoyable when we trust God’s plan for our lives rather than try to orchestrate it ourselves.  “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)