Saturday, January 09, 2010

Eternal optimist

Today’s Reading: Acts 13:1 NIV

1 In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul.

Good morning!

While visiting The Holy Land Experience® in Orlando, Florida, I purchased a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle entitled, Approaching Storm. It is a picture of Jesus, Peter, James and John, on a fishing boat, gazing out over the Sea of Galilee. If I were headed into a life storm, I would definitely want to be in the boat with Jesus.

I love working puzzles! I enjoy looking at the various shapes and colors of each piece and dreaming of how they will one day all fit together to create one miraculous picture. When my friend, Samantha, came to visit earlier this week, I couldn’t wait to open this brand new puzzle and begin putting the pieces together with her. I told Sam that I thought the two of us could finish it in just a few hours. I saw the look of dismay creep across her face. Let’s just say she was not quite as optimistic as I was. If you know me well, then you know that I am and will always be an eternal optimist!

We probably started the puzzle too late in the day to give it our best effort. Earlier, we had spent several hours visiting with my mother, and my daughter’s family. We went shopping together at one of our favorite local discount stores, and enjoyed hot soup and sandwiches at a nearby deli. There was so much to do and so little time to do it! When we arrived home, it was dark and cold outside. It took an eternity just to find and finish the framing pieces of my new jigsaw. Neither of us could locate one missing piece in the frame, and it is still missing today. Samantha contends that Jesus must have stolen it! I insisted that Jesus doesn’t steal puzzle pieces; He steals our hearts. Who couldn’t help but fall totally in love with the Master puzzle maker, as He authors and perfects our very lives?

In the church at Antioch, we know there were five very unique men, who came from completely different backgrounds and life experiences. Together, they possessed a spiritual gift mix that created a beautiful picture of what the church of Jesus Christ should be around the world. It is imperative that we recognize the intrinsic spiritual beauty of each and every person who falls in love with the Lord Jesus Christ. It may seem a little like a disjointed jigsaw puzzle at first, when you look at the all the players clumped together in a huddle. We wonder how in the world our Lord could take this motley group of people, many with rough edges, and fashion a beautiful portrait of the Father’s love for all the world to see! Every person is vital to the spreading of Christ's Gospel message.

I need help finding that one missing piece! Just as this puzzle cannot be a finished picture until all pieces are on the table and accounted for, the Father longs for all people, everywhere, to give their whole hearts to the Lord Jesus Christ. What will you do to help reach your family, friends and neighbors, and lead them to the foot of the cross today?

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO


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