Blessed… Prepare the Way

When John’s disciples had gone, Jesus spoke to the crowds about John: “What did you go out to the wilderness to see? A stalk blowing in the wind? What did you go out to see? A man dressed up in refined clothes? Look, those who wear refined clothes are in royal palaces. What did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. He is the one of whom it is written: Look, I’m sending my messenger before you, who will prepare your way before you (Matthew 11:7-10, Common English Bible).

When I first read today’s lesson I kind of laughed a little at Jesus’ words. “What did you go out to see? A man dressed up in refined clothes?” When one thinks about John the Baptist, the last thing we should think of is refined clothing. John the Baptist, arguably is best known for his outlandish attire. His cloak alone was made from matted (at least as I picture it), shaggy camel’s hair. I often tell people, we are not talking about a camel-hair sports coat here. I feel certain John the Baptist was quite a sight to see.

Here is the real deal. John’s clothing really didn’t make any difference. It wasn’t about John’s clothes, it was about John’s mission. John’s mission was to be Jesus’ Elijah. He was to go ahead of Jesus, announcing Jesus’ arrival and preparing the way for him.

To me, John was a trail blazer for Jesus. He was to make a road where there was no road. For most of us, when we put a lot of time and effort into something, we want the credit. Such was never the case for John. From the very beginning, John the Baptist knew his role in the world. He was the prophet who announced the arrival of the Messiah. It was never about him. It was always about making a way for the one who was to come, Jesus, the Christ.

In yesterday’s lesson, John was asking Jesus if he was the one to come. Jesus gave his answer by telling the things that were happening, the things Jesus was doing. John the Baptist had put a lot of time and effort into preparing the way for Jesus. He wanted to make sure he was leading the way for the right person. He was. In the end, John the Baptist had done the job God had placed before him.

Not all of us can serve in the forefront. Not all of us want to do so. Still, God has something for all of us to do. Like John the Baptist, we have to find our way. We have to live out the work God has for us to do. It seems to me, that while we don’t make the way for Jesus himself, what we do as disciples is, make the way for others to find their way to the Messiah we already know. That, is a great place for our work in the world.

What do you do to make a way for others to find Jesus?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy, Peace and Thanksgiving,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

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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