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Sunday’s Monday

Many of those my age were taught growing up to be self-sufficient because it was not wise to depend on others to pick up our slack. We develop a sense of independence and adopted the attitude of “I got this”, forgoing all avenues for the sake of our own. My dad made the boy’s in our family learn how to cook, do housework, do laundry, iron, and all that good stuff so we would never be dependent on a woman. My takeaway from his teaching was, you don’t want to become dependent on anyone or anything or the world will own you. Ergo, I was prideful, stubborn, and very opinionated as a young man. After becoming a middle-aged adult, the truth I discovered in all this about myself, is that there’s a small amount of merit to be found in my takeaway however there’s an overwhelming amount of ignorance as well. Yes, it is wise to be self-sufficient in knowing how to do and deal with situations and yes, it is ignorant to think we will make it through this life on our own. We were not designed to not need each other. Look at Genesis 2:18 (NLT), Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”

It took me years to realize how hard I had made my life and how miserable I made those around me using the attitude of my way or the highway. I can’t count the opportunities I wasted, the failures I experienced, and the heartaches suffered because of my unbending attitude of self-reliance. One day after an epic failure in the midst of feeling sorry for and angry with myself because I simply ran out of people to blame for this disaster. This thought came to me, the mindset of my way or the highway only works for hobos! As I was pondering the subject, God showed me Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NLT), 9 Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. I have read this before and just now realized the author wrote this for people like me. The very simplicity of this scripture is absolutely unbelievable. Then in Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NLT), A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

My ignorance had grown so powerful that I actually believed that I was a wise man. I was so smart at being ignorant that it numbed the dumb I should have felt. Today I look back in amazement at how God loved me in spite of me, and today He loves me because I’m His! I received this thought in a recent meeting of the Catawba Valley Leadership Foundation, unity is not an invitation to compete but rather the opportunity to complete. For example, my life is enhanced and perfected when filtered through the wisdom of Jesus. Everything I do is carried to the next level when influenced by the presence and prayers of others who belong to God’s family. Our desire is to savor sweet success; however, the results are always more advantageous when realized in unity with others! Once we grasp Romans 12:6 (NLT), In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So, if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. My purpose found new meaning as I felt drawn into a new challenge to hone my giftings toward recognizing the gifts and talents within others and then hopefully encourage them to find empowerment in the God-given values they possess.

To better explain what’s being said here, don’t get so wise you can no longer see your own ignorance! Ecclesiastes 4:9 (NLT), Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If there is one thing, I’ve learned over the past 30 years, it takes a village to keep this old boy between the ditches. I need and enjoy being around people of God and when given the opportunity to work alongside them I find it an honor. I enjoy learning what makes them tick and I welcome them to know who I am. I desire to finish my race well and I need the family of God to hold me accountable for my lifestyle. I thrive on the encouraging wisdom they bear, and rest knowing that they are there only by the grace of God. Jesus has shown me, pride, solitude, and worry, make terrible bed companions. To truly rest in peace, your lifestyle must dwell within the peace of Jesus. As Pastor Joe repeated continuously, “A person cannot and will not act contrary to what they truly believe.” A thankful heart turned toward Jesus is much better than a contrite spirit-seeking self-will!

Father, I pray your word for all who read this today, Hebrews 10:24-25 (NLT), 24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. May we see each other through your eyes this week, searching for values we can adopt. Amen




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