The Chair and the Desk, 2/15/16

From the chair:

“When we had come in sight of Cyprus, leaving it on the left we sailed to Syria and landed at Tyre, for there the ship was to unload its cargo. and having sought out the disciples, we stayed there for seven days…

“When we had finished the voyage from Tyre, we arrived at Ptolemais, and we greeted the brothers and stayed with them for one day.

“On the next day we departed and came to Caesarea, and we entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. He had four unmarried daughters, who prophesied…

“Then Paul answered, ‘What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.’ And since he would not be persuaded, we ceased and said, ‘Let the will of the Lord be done.'”

-Acts 21:3-4, 7-9, 13-14

Paul’s on his way to Jerusalem, where dark things await him. Yet, in just 14 verses of journeying, he stops with at least three groups of friends, comrades. This week I FaceTimed my family, called my old co-worker, Kyle, in Slovenia, made some plans for a trip to Austin to see my old classmate, Jimmy, started working on a sermon for our old New England congregation, NSCBC. This is how it is, following Jesus, isn’t it? This is what it looks like to “receive a hundredfold–houses, and brothers, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands–in this life” (Mark 10).

Sometimes, it breaks our heart. In all of it we say, “Let the will of the Lord be done.” This is how it is, following Jesus, isn’t it? We are promised not just this “hundredfold,” but “in the age to come: Eternal life.”

From the desk:

“The seeds we sow are largely thoughts and deeds. Every time we allow our mind to harbor a grudge, nurse a grievance, entertain an impure fantasy, or wallow in self-pity, we are sowing to the flesh. Every time we linger in bad company whose insidious influence we know we cannot resist, every time we lie in bed when we ought to be up and praying, every time we read pornographic literature, every time we take a risk which strains our self-control, we are sowing, sowing, sowing to the flesh. Some Christians sow to the flesh every day and wonder why they do not reap holiness.”

-John Stott, The Message of Galatians, p.170

Now, there’s an opposite, positive side of this truth: Stott is commenting on Galatians 6:8, “For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” I found these to be very helpful illustrations of what “sowing to the flesh” might look like–but, thanks be to God, those in Christ have Christ’s Spirit, who can help us do the opposite and reap eternal life!

“The chair” is the one Annie aptly chose for the corner of our living room, and it’s where I am committed to daily hearing from God’s Word–the Word I above all else hope to speak to others. “The desk” is the one by my coffee grounds and spare charger (if I get to the library early enough); it’s where I have the privilege of reading and thinking all day, where I intend to learn for others’ sake.


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