Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Overseer of your souls

1 Peter 2:13-25

13 Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority,

14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.

15 For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.

16 Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.

17 Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.

18 Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.

19 For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God.

20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.

21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

22 "He committed no sin,
and no deceit was found in his mouth."

23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.

24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.

25 For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

The idea that we would suffer for doing good is foreign to me. How would one do that? I can understand the suffering one might experience by living a Christian life in a society that doesn't accept Christianity, but just ordinary, everyday, doing good? How could one suffer for doing that? The more I thought about suffering for doing good and trying to think of examples in my own life, the more examples I found. Yes, you can suffer for doing good. I've been on both sides of this equation.

When I worked in the corporate world I had a co-worker who was always cheerful but really, really, REALLY, cheerful each morning when she came in the back door to our building which lead her right by my office. I always arrived early to work so I could settle in and get organized for the day, so I was always the first recipient of her cheer. I've always valued and protected my morning rituals as my special time, not to be interrupted by unimportant things and other annoyances. I like to ease into my morning and not be jerked into any action. This cheerful person had become an annoyance to me. She interrupted my quiet ritual and demanded I pay attention to her song each and every morning and there was no getting around it. She had her routine and I had mine. She was doing “good” but I didn't appreciate the thought. One morning, in my desperation, I lashed out and asked her if she could be just a little quite when she came in. She was crushed. She thought she was bring cheer to what she perceived as an office that was much too serious and sadly quiet. I still think about this from time to time and am disappointed in myself for lashing out to such a sweet spirit of a girl. I apologized but still, there was no undoing my action.

This morning I am thankful to the small blessings of life and for the not so small sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for all of us. I am thankful that even when we stray, He is there seeking and waiting for us. I am thankful that He is the overseer of our souls and we have His example to follow in all things.

Enjoy your day.


Just Joni said...

It is commendable to be punished while being good, I believe, partly because to endure it and remain silent means our focus is 100 percent on God and not on the worldly politics of retaliation where sinful thoughts, gestures and language might surface...Jesus never complained and His heart still had love in it for those who were against Him (He even asks God to forgive them!)
Focusing on this perfection is not difficult, but carrying it out is another story...thankfully God knows what is truly in our hearts and we are subjects of His Grace.

beautiful and meaningful scripture to meditate on this morning ~

may a joyful song be in your heart today ~

Nonnie said...

wonderful thoughts, phyllis....and you said it so well.....i too am so thankful!

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