Farm Faithfulness

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: Psalm 37-39; Acts 26

37 Don’t get upset over evildoers;
    don’t be jealous of those who do wrong,
    because they will fade fast, like grass;
    they will wither like green vegetables.
Trust the Lord and do good;
    live in the land, and farm faithfulness.
Enjoy the Lord,
    and he will give what your heart asks.
Commit your way to the Lord!
    Trust him! He will act
    and will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
    your justice like high noon.
Be still before the Lord,
    and wait for him.
Don’t get upset when someone gets ahead—
    someone who invents evil schemes.

Let go of anger and leave rage behind!
    Don’t get upset—it will only lead to evil.
Because evildoers will be eliminated,
    but those who hope in the Lord
    they will possess the land.
10 In just a little while the wicked won’t exist!
    If you go looking around their place,
    they won’t be there.
11 But the weak will inherit the land;
    they will enjoy a surplus of peace.
12 The wicked plot against the righteous,
    grinding their teeth at them.
13 But my Lord just laughs at them
    because he knows that their day is coming.
14 The wicked draw their swords and bend their bows
    to bring down the weak and the needy,
    to slaughter those whose way is right.
15 But the sword of the wicked will enter their own hearts!
    Their bows will be broken! (Psalm 37:1-15, Common English Bible)

Thus far in this year’s study, I don’t believe I have combined Scripture from the day’s Old Testament readings with the day’s New Testament readings. Today I will do just that.

In today’s reading from Acts (please read it if you have not) we find Paul still defending himself to King Agrippa as he was yesterday. In yesterday’s post, I talked about Paul being held on a technicality. He still is as, at the end of the chapter, King Agrippa and Festus both agree that had Paul not appealed to the Emperor, he could be released. So, he is still held in chains on that technicality.

As I was preparing for today’s post, the thought occurred to me, perhaps that is what Paul actually wanted. As Paul stood before first Felix (Acts 24), then Festus (Acts 25), and today Agrippa. Paul might have been a Roman citizen but he was also still a Jew. It seems to me that there is a good possibility that without being under arrest, he does not get to speak with these three powerful men. When he speaks to them, he tells his story.

In Psalm 37 David tells us to not get upset with evildoers and to farm faithfulness. Whenever a farmer plants a crop that farmer exhibits faith that the crop will make. In the days before crop insurance, such was, even more, the case. At times, a farmer might risk everything to make a crop.

Still, I don’t think that is what David means here. I think what David means is more like what Paul was doing. As Paul shared his story with the likes of Felix, Festus, and Agrippa, he was taking the faith that was in him, and he was sharing that faith not only with the three men of power but with anyone else who might be listening.

Over the last year or so, there have been a couple of memes on Facebook and other places that have said things like, “If you can be nothing else, be kind,” and “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.” I believe David would say, “When we are kind, we are farming faithfulness.

While faithfulness and kindness are not the same things, they are from the same family. They are also part of our calling. So go out there and farm faithfulness. I think you will find that at the same time, kindness is always at work.

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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