Over the last few weeks we have been learning in our worship together that our relationships involve both a vertical and a horizontal element. At the center of which, and the hub that keeps them in proper perspective, is the work of Christ upon the cross. It is here that we understand that love always begins as an internal factor that manifests itself as an external result. It was just over the last couple of days, in reading from Francis Schaefer’s book, True Spirituality, that I was reminded that there are two practical tests of which our love for God and our love toward men is manifested in our lives in ways that are pure and acceptable to the Father. First, I am to love God enough to be contented; and second, I am to love men enough not to envy.
When you think about these two elements, I realize that unless I am willing to pick up my cross daily and follow Him, as a disciple of Christ and one who seeks true spirituality, I am not able walk a life of love neither toward God nor my fellow man. To un-package it a little further, without a proper contentment toward God I cease to be submissive toward Him. However, a quiet disposition and a heart of giving thanks continually toward the Father at any given moment is the real test and the extent to which I love God at any moment. It is in that place that I find the giving of my thanks toward God in all things; whatever may come my way is found in my circle of thanksgiving. Secondly, my love for my fellow man must not contain a hint of envy of any kind. If this mentality is upon me, in any way, then my natural desire becomes a form of coveting and with it a realization that I am not loving men as I should in Christ.
So, I write these thoughts as an expression of my own love and thankfulness toward our heavenly Father and the place and purposes for which He has called us as His Bride. I am thankful for the internal love that we as a fellowship have toward God and the moving of the Holy Spirit in our midst on a daily, moment by moment basis with the living Christ as our center. Secondly, I am thankful for the external expressions of love that the body here at Suncoast share with one another. Looking after the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of one another with sacrificial love. I trust this year will show even greater expressions of love and thankfulness. Thank you for allowing me to serve as your business pastor.
Serving together with you,
Paul Sheridon, Business Pastor