Most of you are aware that Joyce and I were involved in a car accident a week or so ago. It was very scary, and we are extremely grateful that we nor the other driver were not seriously injured. We are very appreciative of the concern and prayers and encouragement that have gone out for us.
Where I am right now in the wake of all of this is feeling very grateful that things did not turn out much, much worse. I have been reminded once again of how very precious life is; that each moment, each breath, is a gift.
It is to that last thought I’d like to call our attention. When we walk (or drive) “through the valley of the shadow of death” it causes us to take a deep breath and a step back and take a look at things. It moves us to once again ask the question, “What is truly important in my life?” Many times those things we think are important, when we are thrown into a crisis, fall far short of so much else.
As we begin this week looking into Romans 14:1-15:7, the apostle Paul is calling on us to do this very thing, to ask ourselves and remind ourselves of what truly are the most important things in this life. For many of us there are certain issues that we have disagreements over, sometimes disagreeing with those we love and respect very much. Paul tells us to be very careful about these things. He tells us to not “destroy your brother for whom Christ died” because of our actions regarding these issues. He tells us to not “destroy the work of God for the sake of” lesser things. He reminds us that “the kingdom of God” is not a matter of these lesser things that we will always have disagreements over, but rather of “righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
We will take two Sundays to cover this important passage. As you look at the rest of the book of Romans, one could argue that the whole purpose for Paul writing this epistle, including everything he has said up to this point, is to say these very things. Our tendency and failing is to downplay the importance some members of the church in Rome in the first century gave to their issues in comparison to the issues that are important to us today. Paul spoke the truth to the factions at Rome just as he did to those at Corinth (1 Corinthians 1:10-25; 3:1-9; chapters 8-10; 13). This same message is completely appropriate and absolutely needed by the church today, including our family at South Fork. Will we listen?
Don’t wait for a serious crisis in your life to place importance on what is truly important.