Note from the Pastor

03/17/2019

From the Pastor’s Desk:

“The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the foremost.” - I Timothy 1:15

One of the first things that I learned when I came to faith in Christ is that we are, all of us, gifted and called to do ministry in one way or another. I found this difficult to believe, in my own case, because I knew all of the bad things I had done. My sins were many and I figured that, while Jesus could save me, there was no way that God could actually use me - because I was, surely, the worst.

Then I read First Timothy, and before the first chapter is through, the Apostle Paul has claimed the title of worst sinner for himself. At the time I found great comfort in that because Paul, the “chief sinner,” was greatly used of God in the world. Perhaps, I thought, that meant there was more than a little hope for me.

These days when I read Paul’s claim to being the “foremost sinner,” I see it a little differently, but still find tremendous comfort. For certain, as we look down through history, other people come to mind as being the “worst sinner ever.” Even during Paul’s day, with a couple thousand years less of history, there were people worse than he. He followed God and the law from his youth. He followed Christ from young adulthood to old age. His biggest “sins” came as he, in accordance with his beliefs as a Pharisee, persecuted the Church. I am sure any number of Roman Centurions in the vicinity had far more blood on their hands than Paul did. So I don’t think Paul is claiming the sinners’ championship belt here. I think he is doing what we all do: he is being his own worst critic. We are our own harshest judges (for the most part). On some level, we recognize our potential for good, but we see how often we come up short and beat ourselves up about it. Introspection, confession, and repentance are good for the soul. They are good for us, and we need to engage in them often. The trap we get caught in, though, is believing that maybe we *are* the worst, and then believing that there is nothing we can do about it... so we stagnate and fester, and our faith rots from the inside out. In the season of Lent, we are suppose to take the time to reflect on our lives and how we are living them. As we do, undoubtedly, we come across sin and unpleasantness that will seek to trap us and keep us from the next steps. Don’t be fooled. Confess that sin to God. Accept the forgiveness God offers. Repent, and go on to do the ministry that God has called you to do.

Sure and worthy,

Pastor Mike

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