My pastor said several things in his sermon today that will probably make their way into blogs this week. Here’s one of them:

God wants to do great things in us but we settle for peace!
Pastor Larry Klaiber

Ouch! When my pastor said this during his sermon this morning, he was stepping on my toes! How about you? If we asked everyone who chooses peace to raise their hand, would your hand be up? Mine would be. High. I want peace. I want an enjoyable life. I don’t want pain. I don’t want suffering. My pastor is right – I’ll settle for peace. But God wants greater for me. He wants more for you, too.

We’re not talking about peace instead of conflict necessarily. We are called to be peacemakers – that often means swallowing our pride (which God opposes, anyway) and going to others in humility and asking to be forgiven. What we’re talking about is a peaceful lifestyle instead of being stretched, molded and shaped into the person God wants us to become.

Scripture describes God as the potter and us as the clay. Do you know very much about pottery? It gets slapped around on the wheel, formed by firm and gentle pressure, and shaped into something of the potter’s own choosing. The final product is useful or beautiful (or both). But the process can be kind of messy and painful for the clay. When we choose to take ourselves off the wheel, we interrupt the process. We choose peace instead of God’s purposes.

11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. 14If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.
1 Corinthians 3:11-15

Wood, hay or straw will be burned in the fire. Gold, silver and costly stones on the other hand are refined by the fire.  In our pastor’s sermon last Sunday, he talked about the process of mining the gold, silver and costly stones. As he talked, I began thinking about how dirty and grimy miners are when they come up from the mines. Then I wrote the following in my notebook:

I will only get/find the best of God – the heart of God – by getting dirty and grimy.

And that means not settling for peace but volunteering for the dirty jobs God places in my path. Again, I say…ouch!

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