Blessed… Mission Possible

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I assure you that it will be very hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven.  In fact, it’s easier for a camel to squeeze through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter God’s kingdom.” When his disciples heard this, they were stunned. “Then who can be saved?” they asked. Jesus looked at them carefully and said, “It’s impossible for human beings. But all things are possible for God.” Then Peter replied, “Look, we’ve left everything and followed you. What will we have?” Jesus said to them, “I assure you who have followed me that, when everything is made new, when the Human One sits on his magnificent throne, you also will sit on twelve thrones overseeing the twelve tribes of Israel. And all who have left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children, or farms because of my name will receive one hundred times more and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last. And many who are last will be first (Matthew 19:23-30, Common English Bible).

In the past few years I have tried my hand at a bit of song writing. I think it is safe to say my lyrics, much less my music probably won’t be winning any American Music Awards anytime soon. Still, I have enjoyed writing both. I started writing lyrics to other people’s music and more recently I have taken to writing the little black dots on the staff for my lyrics as well.

I am not very good at it. I struggle to read bass clef and you can forget being able to play it. I was a trumpet player as a kid. That means I read treble clef. I can figure out what notes are in the bass portion, but it doesn’t come naturally. It really does make the process a struggle.

Though far more gifted in such things than I, the late hymn writer, Eugene L. Clark, knew far more about struggle than I pray I will ever know. At one point in his life, Clark, the organist and music director for “Back to the Bible,” was known as one whose fingers danced across the keyboards of pianos and organs. Clark first became blind and then began to suffer from crippling arthritis. He reached a point where he was restricted to his bed and would never play again. The story is told that when he was limited to his bed he requested a dictating machine and with this machine Clark wrote several hymns, including his most famous, “Nothing is Impossible When You Put Your Trust in God.”

I remember singing this song, published in 1966, in youth when I was a kid. The song’s chorus reads:

Nothing is impossible
when you put your trust in God;
Nothing is impossible
when you’re trusting in His Word.
Hearken to the voice of God to thee:
“Is there anything too hard for Me?”
Then put your trust in God alone
and rest upon His Word–
For ev’rything, O ev’rything,
Yes, ev’rything is possible with God!

I thought about those lyrics when I read today’s lesson. When Jesus told the disciples it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to inherit the Kingdom, the disciples began to question Jesus. They had given up everything. Now was Jesus saying it would never be possible for them to enter the Kingdom?

I find it interesting that the disciples at this point saw themselves as rich but I digress.

Jesus then shares with the twelve, and us, that because they put Jesus ahead of the things of the world, a magnificent heavenly future awaits them.

We hold the same promise. Because, while we may have enough and then some when it comes to worldly stuff, if we put God first the future is bright because “nothing is impossible when you put your trust in God.”

How have you put your trust in God?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Thankfulness,
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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