First Follow the Directions


” Jesus said to the servants, ‘Fill the jars with water,’ and they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, ‘Now draw some from them and take it to the headwaiter,’ and they did. The headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine” (John 2:7-9a, Common English Bible).

Yes, I am one of THOSE guys. I am probably not as bad as some, in fact I feel pretty certain of that. I will usually pull the instructions out, glance at the pictures and if it appears to be something I THINK I can do without reading them or even looking at them further, they are thrown off to the side and not referred to again until indeed, I can’t quite get it to work. Then and only then it becomes the old adage, “When all else fails, read the directions.”

It is probably a good thing most adult Bibles don’t come with pictures. If they did, I probably wouldn’t attempt to follow those instructions very well either until I had messed up my life to the point that all else had obviously failed and I was forced to go back and read the instructions.

The lesson above was Jesus’ first known miracle, turning water into wine at “The Wedding at Cana.” There is a lot we could talk about in that story. We could start with the weird things that happen at weddings that leave all the guests with conversation starters for years to come. We could talk about the nature of miracles. We could talk about what appears to be a temptation on Jesus’ part to ignore the instructions of his mother. Well ignore probably isn’t the right word but you know what I mean. We could also talk about the way Jesus was so extravagant in both quality and quantity of the wine he provided.

We are going to set all that aside for today and focus on the poor lowly servant that Jesus told to take the water that had turned to wine to the headwaiter. What you first have to know is, servants, throughout history, as a group were not and still in many ways are not treated very well. Those over the servants were often abusive. Can you imagine being to poor guy who Jesus tells to dip out some water, oops, I mean wine, out of these jars, knowing at least in your mind you were about to take the boss water and try to pass it off as wine.

The servant would appear is in a no-win situation. He had just been told by this woman, who it would seem, we can imply she has something to do with the bride’s family. Why else would she bother to get involved. And then there was her son who talked in a pretty stern way to his mother and he is now telling you to take the wine to the headwaiter. And speaking of the headwaiter, that is his, “on the other hand.” He knows in his mind this isn’t wine and the headwaiter will become angry and since our poor servant is the one standing in front of him… He probably didn’t think he could say, “Please don’t shoot the messenger.”

If ever there was a guy who didn’t want to follow the directions, it was probably this servant. And remember, he didn’t have the Bible to tell him who Jesus was. He didn’t know from having studied Scripture the miracles Jesus could and would do. He was living the scene out, unlike us, who know or at least can read the stories of Jesus in our Bibles. And, to his credit, our young man followed the directions.

There is a lesson in that for us. For so many of us, even though we have the directions, we often fail to follow them. We don’t read our Bibles and in this failure, way too much of the time we fail to know what God is telling us to do. If we don’t know what the directions are, how in the world are we going to follow them?

We need to take a lesson from the servant. We may not know where God’s path will take us. As people of faith, what we do know is, God is for us. God loves us. God will see us through.

Just remember this, all else will probably fail, if we fail to read the directions.

Have a great day in the Lord.

Grace and Peace,

Copyright 2016, James “Keith” Broyles, All Rights Reserved


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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