SIFTING THROUGH THE ASHES
6 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. 7 I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. Haggai 2:6-7
It never surprises me to watch God pulling beauty from ashes. What really blows my mind is my inability to see the beauty in the first place. Many times we realize that if we really want to find the truth, we must be willing to dig deep and work hard. The things in this world are truly worth fighting for, but if we are unwilling to put in the work, then we cannot be surprised if we totally miss the full blessing of God. It means that we have to get our hands dirty. It means that we have to put aside some things to really navigate boldly in times of uncertainty. It means that we really have to search deep and not be willing to stop when the going gets tough. I know that means for many of us that we have to do a self-check. It means that before we can truly take the step to the next level in our spiritual journey, we have to sift through the trash to find the treasure.
As I write this today I am truly perplexed. I know that my whole life I have been taught to do the best that I can to live a life that is solely for the purpose of giving God the glory. I know that in my life there have been times when tough conversations have to be had and there are times when we realize the pure power of silence. If we really want to find the treasure that God intends for us, then we have to be willing to sift through the mess until we see the blessing that God has intended not just fro us but for the world. See we are on a mission for the world. I know that I have said that a lot on this blog, but is that not the true goal. I have
served in many churches and led a lot of people to fully rely on God as we fulfill HIS great COMMISSION. We are called to "go and make disciples and baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. In the United Methodist Church we are called to go and make disciples for the transformation of the WORLD. And yes I know that the place that we live and serve is the piece God has called us to transform, but I think that many times I find myself only hitting the service when we really could all really dig deeper and sift through the trash to find God's real calling for our lives.
See it doesn't mean that we are going to receive the great accolades. If we are in it for the accolades, then we don't need to be in it at all. We are in this battle to fight against evil, injustice, hurt, pain, struggle, racism, sin, death, hunger, poverty, etc... We are in this because there are people that are hurting in the world and feel as though they have no place to turn. They have no answer for the questions that they are raising and we find ourselves just stuck in the mud with no way to get out. See today, God is using Haggai'a story once again to encourage us to realize that change has to occur. We have to have a change of heart towards the world. We have to have an attitude adjustment in how we respond to the world. We have to have our vision checked to see how we really see the world if we are truly going to proclaim that our mission is to the WORLD. It is not to our block or to just our community. It is preparing people to go and dig and find the ONE who has been lost among the many. It is the ability that we have to be an ear for those who have been crying out for so long but even in their screams many of us only hear silence. I struggle I really struggle. Because I love God and I love people. I love the grace that has been extended to me in my life and I pray that I live a life that helps others to see the power of God's grace and mercy. I pray that I am helping to equip and raise the next generation to be able to see how hard it really is to create change and how anything we truly desire takes hard work to accomplish. The problems will never just go away. They just wait for another opportune time to catch us not ready and pounce.
The true gift that we are able to hopefully find after all of the reflection is not Gold or Silver. Even though God uses those phrases to represent the people of God that have been sifted. But the true gift that will be revealed is peace. It is the ability to be tried and tested in our lives and know that we have done all that we can for God to truly find peace. We will be able to live a life filled with the character of God and even when tried and tested, God's glory will shine through. It does not mean that we will be perfect. Know perfection only comes through the sanctification of our souls through the blood of Jesus when our lives are over. The journey and calling to go into the world comes when God brings us home and says,
"Well done, good and faithful servant." Until then, we are still on the clock to dig deeper and sift through all of the mess to find the treasures that God has created. It is only over when we truly find peace by looking ourselves in the mirror and realizing the reflection that we see is not our own, but a reflection of Christ that lives in us. It is not going to be easy. As I mentioned in the beginning today, God is able to find beauty from ashes, and right now there is a lot of ash that surrounds us. But GOD NEVER GIVES UP, and neither should we. It will continue to take time and effort. It will continue to test us beyond our limits. But that is exactly what God is calling us to do as the people of God. We are called to sift through the mess of this world and realize the difference God can still make through our willingness to be a part of the solution and not a part of the problem. In case we didn't know, we were all once in the ash, and God was willing to do everything to show us just how beautiful he created us to be, and we should be willing to do the same for the WORLD that is hurting right outside our doors.