FRONT-PORCH GOSPEL: Don’t accept the gifts some offer
Good week to all. Welcome to the “front porch.”
This past Sunday we were blessed to worship and teach here with our friends in Red Oak, a rare occasion due to our travels. Since we have been journeying through the book of Revelation this year, we chose to take a look at one of the greatest scenes in God's Word – one over in the seventh chapter where a great multitude has gathered around the throne of God with “palms” in their hands (v. 9). Those palms John mentions look back to the Old Testament custom of God’s people waving palm leaves in the midst of their celebration at the Feast of Tabernacles. That feast was a joyous occasion, because it came at the end of the harvest. Heaven, of course, is the ultimate harvest.
Of the myriad lessons found in that section of Revelation, one that stands out is the need for us to possess and display a great joy in our lives – for us to “wave palm leaves” of our own as we go about. To have that kind of joy, though, will require one thing in particular. We have to ignore quite a few of the things that cross our paths day by day. Read on, and you’ll understand.
A friend of mine – the late Dr. Jack from “The Joint” in Red Oak – told me a story years ago of a king who went out throughout his kingdom to share his positive message and hope for the kingdom. But at every stop, the unappreciative crowd below would throw fruit, eggs, and rocks at the king. This act of disrespect went on for some time, but the king still went out to deliver his positive message, seemingly oblivious to the ill treatment he received in return.
At home after one trip, the queen, said to him,
“King, why is it that you do this? You go out there and preach a good message and try to give the people hope, and all they do is abuse you by slinging stones!”
“Oh,“ said the king with a grimace, “it’s something I have to do. It’s a message I have to deliver.”
Then, with a pause, he gave his good wife a soft smile, and added, “There’s something else, too, something my father taught me when I was just a boy. His words still help me every time someone slings something negative my way. He told me that just because people give you gifts doesn’t mean you have to receive them.”
I smiled when my friend told me that story, and I knew that it was something that you and I will have to learn if we are going to have the joy we should have as Christians. As you go about this week, remember that you will have to ignore some of the uninvited gifts some people give. Otherwise you won’t be able to walk down the street each day waving the palm leaves of rejoicing.
Coach Steven Bowen, a long-time Red Oak teacher and coach, now enjoys his time as a full-time writer and preacher of the gospel. In addition to his evangelistic travels, he works and writes for the Church of Christ of Red Oak at Uhl Road and Ovilla. Their worship times are 10 a.m. Sundays and 7:30 pm. Wednesdays. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call or text 972-824-5197.