Sunday, March 15, 2020

The Shredder

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit my 92 year-old aunt in Los Angeles.  She is a tough old bird, dealing with a myriad of health issues including Stage 4 lung cancer.  In the midst of it all, she hasn’t lost any of her personality and is still as bossy as ever!  While I was there, one of my chores was to shred a bunch of old documents – everything from electricity bills from 1987 to bank statements to insurance forms to receipts.  All these papers tell a story of how one’s life has been spent.  It occurred to me that one day, somebody will be shredding my stuff and what story will my life tell them?  Much of what we spend our time, talent, and treasure on won’t last.  The Apostle Paul instructs us in 1 Corinthians 13:13 that there are three things that won’t have a date with the Grim Shredder.

1 Corinthians 13:13 - And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Things to think about:
·      Have you ever had to clean out the belongings of a loved one?
o   What feelings did it evoke in you as you thought about the finiteness of our time on Earth?
o   Was the story their stuff told one of faith, hope, and love or something else?
·      You will probably recognize that our verse comes from the famous “Love” chapter in the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13.
o   In it Paul says that without love, many things we hold valuable like knowledge, spiritual gifts, even generosity will see the shredder if they aren’t motivated by love.
o   Why do you think that good qualities and actions like those listed above aren’t good enough on their own but must me attended by love?
·      Building on this notion of love being the ultimate asset, Jesus said in Matthew 22:37-40, “”Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
o   How do we know if our expenditures of time, talent, and treasure are motivated by love?  One sure test is are they bringing glory to God and/or serving others.
o   Philippians 2:3-4 – “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
o   Matthew 25:40 – “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
·      How does today’s study cause you to reflect on not just how you are spending your life but on whom?
o   On another day when someone is going through your boxes, what story do you hope they are reading?
o   How can we live a life of love to keep stuff away from the Shredder and safely in the hands of the Shepherd?

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