Time to Proceed with Care

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: Psalm 16-17; Acts 20:1-16

You, Lord, are my portion, my cup;
    you control my destiny.
The property lines have fallen beautifully for me;
    yes, I have a lovely home.

I will bless the Lord who advises me;
    even at night I am instructed
    in the depths of my mind.
I always put the Lord in front of me;
    I will not stumble because he is on my right side.
That’s why my heart celebrates and my mood is joyous;
    yes, my whole body will rest in safety
10     because you won’t abandon my life to the grave;
    you won’t let your faithful follower see the pit.

11 You teach me the way of life.
    In your presence is total celebration.
Beautiful things are always in your right hand.

Psalm 16:5-11, Common English Bible

As I read Psalm 16, the thought occurred to me, we need to proceed with great care when we find ourselves in David’s position. Two thoughts occurred to me. First, the lesson David is saying to God that he is the only righteous person. Second, and probably more important, David himself admits, he has things good saying, “Yes I have a beautiful home.” If David had things worse, if he were, say, Job, would David be the only righteous person then? Based on what we know of David’s life, I tend to doubt it would be true.

As to David’s first claim, that he alone is righteous, prior to the death of King Saul, Saul’s son, and David’s closest friend shows himself righteous again and again. When King Saul would attempt to take David’s life, Jonathan comes to David’s aid and rescue more than once. When we look at David’s later life, the Prophet Nathan is the person who had the courage and the righteousness to stand and face a king who, in David, had lost his way and could no longer be, in any way considered righteous.

In the book of Job, God brags on Job at the beginning of the story saying, “My servant Job is righteous, nothing will pull him away from me.” Job loses his home, his family, and ultimately his health and though he questions why God would be angry with him and he struggles with his experience, he does remain faithful.

God didn’t make the same claim about David. Of course, we know David was far from righteous. He committed adultery. He was a murderer. In addition to all that, he wasn’t a very good parent either. It is enough to convince us that David wasn’t as righteous as he might want you and me to think.

For David, or for any of us, we step into real spiritual danger when we make ourselves better than everyone else. When David thinks of himself as being the world’s lone righteous person, he has become far from faithful.

The second danger David shows us we face is, having it all and that being evidence of God’s blessing. There are many in the world that have great physical wealth and are living, by their own admission, outside the faith. And, would we remain as faithful if all we have were somehow taken away?

I hope we would but in truth, I don’t know that we can truly answer that question. We still remain, however, living in the grace of God and in the end, that is all we need.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, 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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