The Last Thing He Told Me

I remember vividly the only two times my father spanked me. Luckily they were about 5 years apart and I had time to recover. My first fatherly beating was the result of “I don’t feel like it.” We were living in Asheville, NC and I was about 7. It was a Saturday and it was time to cut the grass.

                My job was the side yard. It wasn’t all that big, but things don’t have to be big to a seven year old to seem like a lot. I had carefully surveyed the land and determined that the side yard had just not grown enough to warrant being cut. I was seven and I knew how tall the grass needed to be before it got cut!

                After making my final decision I went inside to watch some television. I was not inside long before my father arose from his room to ask why I was not cutting the grass. I told him that I did not feel like cutting the grass, not to mention the fact that I didn’t feel the grass was tall enough to cut. He began in the living room and he spanked until I was in my bedroom where I stayed until I felt like mowing the grass.

                More recently, there was another time that I just didn’t feel like it. I just did not feel like exerting the necessary energy to fulfill an obligation. God was not pleased. God dealt with me in much the same way my earthly father dealt with me except worse. It wasn’t my rear-end that was hurting, it was my heart. 

                I have heard testimony after testimony of people that have tried to run from God.  Somehow we rationalize within ourselves that God isn’t really talking to us. “He really doesn’t mean to say that to me. It really doesn’t apply to my situation. God doesn’t really mean for me to take up His cross. He just wants me to be a good person. He just wants me to be kind and generous to my neighbors. He just wants me to help keep my community clean and not litter. He just wants me to donate $100 to my favorite charity. He doesn’t really mean it when he says to go and share the gospel with my neighbor or my coworker or my cousin. He doesn’t mean “me” when he says feed those who are hungry and give water to those who are thirsty, not just for food and water, but for righteousness. He doesn’t want me to have dinner with the tax collectors and the prostitutes. He doesn’t want me to hold and comfort those with leprosy or aids. He doesn’t really mean it that way.”

We are convinced God isn’t calling us to that kind of ministry. I know all about the thoughts that go through our heads. We all like to think we are different from everyone else. “Me and God, we have our own little agreement. I am heading in that direction and doing those things would require me to go in this direction.”

There is a story about a battleship on maneuvers: While on maneuvers, a battleship look-out notes a light in the dark, foggy night. After noting the light’s coordinates, the captain recognizes his ship is on a collision course with that other vessel.  “Signal the ship: We are on a collision course, advise you change course 20 degrees.”

                The return signal comes, “Advisable for you to change course 20 degrees.” The captain says “Send I’m a Captain, change course 20 degrees.” The reply, “I’m a seaman second class, you had better change your course 20 degrees.” By this time the captain is furious. He yells, “Send, I’m a  battleship…Change course 20 degrees.” The reply comes back… “I’m a lighthouse.”

                God’s authority is never changing, it is always constant. Whenever a change of course is required we are to make the correction from our end. When it comes right down to it, we do what we are told and all we have to go by is God’s word. But so often situations confront us that we don’t change our course. After all, our course is more comfortable and we are used to it. It is easy. It’s the way I have always done it.

                Let me kindly remind you that the right job or house or car isn’t worth loosing your soul over. The right relationship or social life or the right amount of rest and comfort aren’t worth losing your soul. When it comes down to it all those things are useless. The only thing that is going to matter in the end is the right relationship you have with the right God who has sent his right son to make us right before God.

                Everyone is calling out to their own gods. It seems few people want to listen to the truth. Everybody is trying to get into heaven by climbing over the fence instead of going through the gate. Jesus says in John 10:9 that, “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.”

We know the truth. We know what we should do. When things don’t go our way we cry out to God and ask why things are so wrong. We want a new message from God because we don’t like the one God has already spoken. And until we commit ourselves to the Will of God, to what God has already clearly spoken to us, then we are in for some troublesome days. If you can’t figure out what God is telling you at this moment, just go back to the last thing He told you, and do that.

About admin

I am currently serving as the Associate Minister at a Church in Earlham, Iowa, population about 1300. There are probably another 1300 folks who live outside the “city limits.” I am married to my lovely wife Heather. We moved from Mesa, AZ in January 2006. We have a dog (Sammy) and a cat (Daphne). We also have a 92 year old house the sucks the life out of me (Rex), and costs a whole lot of money to upgrade, and is generally a pain in my butt…but I am not bitter. So far I have set my arm on fire, broken my wrist, broken my toe, got tendonitis in my foot, fell out of the bucket of skid loader, captured and “removed” 13 bats from my attic, been to the chiropractor dozens of times and have more doctors on my payroll than I care to admit. I am not very handy! Iowa has been so life-changing for me, but I love the pace of life, pace of ministry and the quality of people. I went to college at Atlanta Christian College near Atlanta, GA where I recieved a Bachelors Degree in Christian Ministry/Preaching. I went to Seminary at Emmanuel School of Religion in Johnson City, TN., where I recieved a Master of Divinity degree with a specialization in Christian Care and Counseling. In addition, I have 2800 hours of post-graduate training as a Chaplain specializing in Crisis Care. I have served Churches in GA, KY, NC, AZ and now Iowa. I have also served as a Chaplain at hospitals in AL and AZ in addition to serving as a Corporate Chaplain with several companies in the metro Phoenix area for a short time. I was also blessed with the opportunity to serve as a Chaplain at the in-field hospital at a NASCAR race in Talladega, AL (once) and as a Chaplain to the Mesa Miners professional baseball team (six weeks). Rex L. Stancil Associate Minister Earlham Church of Christ www.earlhamchurch.org pastorex@gmail.com 515.867.8559 mobile 515.758.2020 home 515.758.2787 office
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