Handing on the mantle

Some people find it is difficult to step down and allow someone else to take over what you have been doing. Some make plans for this and there is an easy transition, while others seem to think they can go on forever.

Elijah had been the prophet in Israel for many years. Although there were other prophets, Elijah was the one God seems to have been primarily working through. Yet the time came for him to not only step down but also to leave this world.

Earlier Elijah had ‘recruited’ an assistant: Elisha (see 1 Kings 19). Although he isn’t mentioned for several chapters it would seem that he was travelling with and assisting Elijah. He was able to observe and learn from his mentor. Continue reading “Handing on the mantle”

See the light

Some may think Jesus and his disciples wandered around Palestine for three years without any aim or purpose. Nothing could be further from the truth.

When the Lord and his disciples found a man born blind, Jesus said the man was blind so “that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:3). Then, the Master said, “We must work the works of Him who sent me” (John 9:4). Continue reading “See the light”

Rest from hard work

To see the first and last times that a word occurs in the Bible can often produce interesting observations. This, of course, is pretty much an English exercise for most people. Also, since one will be looking at Hebrew and Greek in the original languages, the exercise doesn’t work so well.

Among the versions there will be variations. (I use the NET Bible.) Still, it’s sometimes a fascinating game, much more so than those that most people play.

This month’s theme and key word is work. In the U.S., at the moment, more people are employed (which we assume means they’re working) than ever before, although the coronavirus may change that. Continue reading “Rest from hard work”

Jesus’ Favorite Food

Jesus was urged to stop and eat, to which he replied, “I have food to eat that you do not know about” (John 4:32, NASB).

The disciples were befuddled. One can imagine them scratching their heads, looking around for Jesus’ secret stash of goodies: “No one brought Him anything to eat, did he?” (John 4:33).

Then he said, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work” (John 4:34). Continue reading “Jesus’ Favorite Food”

Labor of love

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If working in God’s Kingdom motivated by love seems vague or mysterious to you, let’s bring it down to earth a bit and put it in human terms.

So Jacob worked for seven years to acquire Rachel. But they seemed like only a few days to him because his love for her was so great, Genesis 29.20.

Set aside for the moment that Jacob “acquired” Laban’s daughter and that he had to work seven years to do it. Focus on the next statement. Seven years seemed like only a few days to him. Time was telescoped to almost nothing “because his love for her was so great.” Continue reading “Labor of love”

The sin of laziness

During our first months in Brazil, aeons ago, two of our Portuguese teachers discussed, rather heatedly, whether or not Brazilians were by nature lazy. One believed it zealously, while the other noted how much time Brazilians spent getting to and from work, as well as how long their work week was.

Years later, a Brazilian brother shared his dream of retirement: living on the beach and spending his days in a hammock. That sounds pretty lazy to me. But then it’s retirement, right? I doubt, however, that many people would buy into his dream. Continue reading “The sin of laziness”

The meaning of life

It would seem Song of Solomon was written when Solomon was a young man, Proverbs in his middle age, and many would see Ecclesiastes being written in his later life. That it was written by Solomon is seen in the opening verse: “The words of the Teacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem” (Ecclesiastes 1:1 NET). Although some question Solomon’s authorship, if we accept this as being from the Holy Spirit, then it must be a son of David who was king, and the internal evidence fits Solomon well.

Like many who reach an older age, Solomon seemed to be disillusioned with life. Notice what he says: “‘Futile! Futile!’ laments the Teacher. ‘Absolutely futile! Everything is futile!’” (Ecclesiastes 1:2). He had lived a long life and what was there to show for it? Everything continued as it always had: generations come and go, the sun rises and sets, streams flow into the sea but never fill it, there is nothing new that ever happens. Even what is done will be forgotten in future generations. Continue reading “The meaning of life”

Go, labor on!

“Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:38).

 

“Now it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, King of Judah, that this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying: ‘Take a scroll of a book and write on it all the words that I have spoken to you against Israel, against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spoke to you, from the days of Josiah even to this day” (Jeremiah 36:1-2 NKJV).

Work just isn’t what it used to be. At least that is often the case in the U.S. and other developed nations. We are used to machines and tools which make difficult tasks much simpler. Dirt is moved by tractor or back-hoe and dump trucks. Few jobs which require more than a few wheelbarrows full are done with shovels or man-power. Continue reading “Go, labor on!”

A Garden Carol

 

The garden was dead, to begin with. No doubt whatever about that. The bent black stalks of the Mexican Petunia stood up like crooked doornails, or like so many legs of a dozen giant spiders fallen on their backs. The icy shrouds of dead crinum leaves were draped gloomily across the ground.

Every chance to do something better in the garden was now dead, along with summer’s delicate  blooms.

This month I was visited in a real way by the ghost of gardens past. My ancient laptop’s operating system had to be updated, but there was not enough storage. That meant deleting the hundreds of garden photos. Continue reading “A Garden Carol”

Everybody wants shade, but nobody wants a tree

Our city’s newspaper published a recent report about the differences in temperature from one end of the city to another, because of trees and green areas. It’s much hotter in the south zone than the downtown area or the north zone, because of the lack of greenery there.

An environmentalist was quoted as saying, “There is a great need for green areas. Unfortunately, everybody wants shade, but nobody wants a tree in front of their house.” Continue reading “Everybody wants shade, but nobody wants a tree”