A Stroll At Leisure With God

The Church: A Distribution Center

Before I get into the topic for today, I want to thank all of you for your prayers and for the affirmations I received about the results of the CT scan. Please continue to pray because right now, I am concerned about my shoulder. It still bothers me, and I am praying that the Lord will heal it completely. I have no reason to believe He won’t, but somehow, Satan beat me up yesterday. He attacked me, trying to insert doubt. And I should have known it was going to happen.

Of all the days in these past five years that I have dealt with cancer, yesterday was one of the longest I have ever spent. The second I tried to get off this couch to do something, anything, I found myself bouncing back to it like a rubber ball. I would sit back down, and it was lights out for another couple of hours. I ended up sleeping most of the day.

Whenever I tell people about a day like yesterday, invariably, I get this type of response, “John, don’t fight it. Just go with it. You need the rest.” Of course, they are right on the physical level, but spiritually, it is often the worst thing to do, just because I found myself going back into the ring with the enemy for another “whuppin’.”

So, again, this is why I am asking for prayer. I need to learn how to rest without allowing myself to more vulnerable to enemy attack. THIS is the challenge.

Thanks again.

In Professor Horner’s plan, I read Matthew 14. It contains a description of the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand. As you probably know, the Gospels contain two such stories—the feeding of 5000 and the feeding of 4000. As I was reading this morning, something dawned on me that I have never really spent a whole lot of time meditating about.

Hang with me here. In one way, Jesus did NOT feed the five thousand or the four thousand—the disciples did! In each instance, Jesus received the very limited amount of food. In Matthew 14, it was five loaves and two fish. That’s it. Are you kidding me? Feed five thousand MEN (this is not counting the women and children; it is only a guess as to the real total—15,000, 20,000?) with a lunch for one!

When Jesus received that lunch, why didn’t He hand it out to the crowd HIMSELF? Well, on a practical level, it would have taken a lot longer, but I don’t think THAT is the real reason. I believe He wanted to teach His disciples a lesson they would never forget. We have no idea HOW He did it, but that lunch kept multiplying in His hands.

AND, here is the point: Jesus served the disciples and THEY handed out the food to the crowd. In effect, they were, long before Amazon, the first distribution center.

Let me see if I can explain. I love Amazon. What an awesome company, especially when it comes to books. I always go there first before I buy a book from any other source. But when I choose to buy a book from Amazon, somehow my order goes to someone else—a bookstore or individual or whatever—and THEY, having received my money (and too much of it, I have to admit), send me the book.

In other words, there is some type of middleman or business between the order and my receipt of a product.

God has the best PRODUCT ever. It is called the Gospel. Jesus, if I can say it this way, created it HIMSELF. He lived it. He IS it! And, the Lord wants it distributed to the ends of the earth. How does He choose to do it?

Well, the Lord could take care of it Himself. He could drop a neon sign out of heaven written in all the languages of the world and bright enough and prominent enough that everyone on the planet could see it and somehow get the message, but that is NOT how he chose to operate.

Like Amazon (but to a far greater and more significant degree), He chooses to use us as His distribution center.

All of that sounds well and good, but why isn’t this happening to a greater degree? Well, the problem is not with God or with the “product.” We FIGHT being distribution centers.

Like Peter, we have prejudices. Like Job, we have questions. Like the Jews to whom Paul preached in his missionary travels, we have hard hearts. Like the parable of the soils, we have two many “weeds” in the garden. ET CETERA.

I believe that part of what the Lord is doing in my life through this five-year period of having cancer and through long days like yesterday, is knocking off the rough edges so I can be part of a church who is distribution center!

I won’t go into detail about this, but I missed another opportunity to share the Gospel just the other day at the cancer center. I blew it!

How long would Amazon stay in business if this company failed to distribute products that customers paid money to receive? Ah, not very long.

This was Paul’s main concern. Here is another verse I read today: “Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified” (1 Corinthians
9:26-27 NASB).

Disqualified. Scary word.

Lord, help me through this difficult and long days to allow you to knock the rough edges off so that I can be and lead the church I serve to be a distribution center for the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Have mercy on me. Thanks for your patience with me. Amen.
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