Monday, November 29, 2010

Keep Your Nose Clean

"Therefore also we have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him." (2 Corinthians 5:9)

Death - the final frontier. That is Paul's topic in the first ten verses of 2 Corinthians chapter five. It is a passage brimming with hope. Paul likens our physical bodies here on earth to being like tents. There are two facts about tents. First, they are only temporary dwelling places. You don't live in a tent your whole life. Our physical bodies are not designed to be our permanent dwelling - they are like a tent. And second, tents wear out. So do our bodies. And as a result, Paul tells us that we groan for that day when we shall take off these earthly tents - these bodies - and put on our eternal bodies in heaven. And the pathway to this new home will be death. Paul describes the joy of this coming day with the words...

"...absent from the body and at home with the Lord."

As a result of this certainty Paul tells us to make one thing our ambition, whether in life or in death, and that is to...

" pleasing to God!"

Let me remind you that as a follower of Jesus Christ and a child of the living God, the best is yet to come for you! You may be hurting right now. You may feel like a failure. Your character may be under assault. You may be feeling the agonizing sting of betrayal and disloyalty. You may even be seeing the proverbial "handwriting on the wall" showing you that your time at your current ministry is coming to an end - but I can assure you of this - THE BEST IS YET TO COME!

Because that is true, make it your number one ambition, even in the midst of your uncertainty and pain, to be pleasing to God. When I was going through one of the most difficult times of my ministry career I called up my mentor in ministry on the phone. This was the man who taught me everything I know about being a pastor. And his biggest piece of advice for me was along the same lines, only he put it this way - "Keep your nose clean!"

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