“All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends.”
~Luke 15:29, NLT
“Serve the LORD with gladness.”
~ King David
It always bugs me when I leave a very important point out of a sermon. I preached at the MBA Pastor’s Conference yesterday and I got in a bit of a hurry and left out a vital point. The Elder brother did stay at home and he was a worker but his motives were impure. Like so many in the church, he worked from a sense of duty and for recognition. He had not learned what his younger brother had learned. The Prodigal came home broken and contrite: he was glad to serve his father. He could not wait for the father to give him a command. The Elder brother served but he did so resentfully. He became very angry when his father showed grace and mercy to his younger brother. The Elder brother felt like a slave instead of a son. He felt mistreated rather than privileged.
When I was a kid, I had to work but it wasn’t because I wanted to and it was not because I loved my father. My daddy was a hard worker and he wanted everyone else working also. I spent every summer in the cotton fields and falls as well. I worked but I had a slaves mentality. Like the elder brother, I resented my plight. When I grew up I realized that work was not a curse but a blessing. After daddy had several brain stem strokes, he was confined to a chair and the seven of us took a day a piece to take care of him. Daddy would beg me to go home: “Son, you have family to care for, you have children to look after, I do not want you coming up here and waiting on me.” I finally had to tell him the truth: “Daddy, I want to come on my day. I want to serve you, to take care of you as you took care of me when I was a child. You are not a burden to me, it is a pleasure to serve you.” I meant every word. What brought about such a radical change? The answer in short: the GRACE OF GOD. God changed me inside out. It was a pleasure to serve my earthly father and for the last 25 years, I have taken great pleasure in serving my heavenly Father. I don’t feel like a slave.
Serve the Lord with gladness, thankful all the while
For His tender mercies, for His loving smile.
Blessed truth enduring, always just the same.
We will serve with gladness and praise His name.
This Day in 2000
When I got this bright idea to go back and take something from my 2000 journal, I thought it would be interesting but the last few days has been uneventful. January 17, 2000 was on a Monday and I preached at the Pastor’s Conference just as I did yesterday. I was also trying to get a DIGEST out just as I am today and Chip Matthews was very sick.
I love this weather. God is good. We went from summer to winter so the LORD is giving us fall weather in the middle of winter: what a refreshing break. June is thrilled because it will help with the utility bill. Our central has not kicked on for a week. I almost finished the trim in my office building: I lack just a few small pieces. June will begin cleaning and moving books today. The devil is angry with the direction of the country. The radical left is planning disruptive activity for the TRUMP inauguration and ball. They are making a big to do about THE TRUMP INAUGURAL BALL. How could this selfish man spend this kind of money when we have so many poor? [They sound like Judas] Obama had nine different inaugural balls and spent millions. Isn’t it ironic, they didn’t complain about his celebrations. My friend Sam Wallace believes that God is going to bring spiritual renewal to America: he believes the TRUMP election is the first step. He credits intercessory prayer to the winning of the election. He is giving God all the glory. I don’t have a problem with that: do you!