This coming week will see Threshold House full until we do more renovations or install bunk beds. We will have seven residents and one staff member. Earlier this week were considering expanding our mandate to include some folks who had not yet been through a treatment program. As we prayed about this God answered by filling our beds who those who fit our earlier criteria, so we had our answer!
These past two weeks, we have been looking at Paul’s letter to the Romans. Our goal is to see these guys grow in faith and Romans has much to say to us on this subject. Last week in our ‘Life’s Healing Choices’ we looked at chapter 7, which speaks to our inability to help ourselves. I am reminded of an old collect that says to God “As much as without thee we are not able to please thee.” This tells us that apart from God we cannot be successful in living the life God intends for us. In this seventh chapter Paul says that he knows what is the good and right thing, and he wholeheartedly agrees that it is good, and then he goes on to admit that he does not do this ‘right thing’ but rather chooses the wrong time and time again. This is a description of the life lived ‘under self-rule’.
I invited the guys to imagine themselves as shareholders in a business that continually made poor decisions squandering resources and losing money without ever meeting its goals. They agreed the manager should be fired and competent management engaged. Then I said that the poor manager in our analogy is them. They had managed to squander opportunity and fail to lead the successful lives for which they were designed. Romans seven asks the pertinent question, “Who can rescue me from this body of death?” and the answers “Jesus Christ Our Lord.” The word Lord clearly can substitute for ‘manager’. Choice number one is to fire our incompetent, unhealthy manager.
Choice number two then is to engage Jesus as our new manager and Lord. This is a choice to exercise faith and belief. To illustrate this, I drew my best stick-figure-like chair. As we looked at it we saw it had four legs, a seat, and a back. We agreed that it represented the concept of a chair. We believe in the concept of ‘a chair’. Then I pulled out a physical chair. We were no longer dealing with a concept but something much more substantial. We came to the place where we agreed that this indeed was a chair, with four legs, a seat, and a back. We still were a bit short of true trust and faith. Finally, I sat in the chair, and it held me! We talked about times that we may have encountered a chair that looked flimsy. One of the guys recalled a plastic lawn chair. We talked about how we might sit very gingerly in that chair but eventually relax into it as we experienced it supporting our weight.
This is what it is to trust Jesus! He invites us to come to Him and find rest. God invites us to ‘taste and see’ and so we may sit very gingerly. We grow in trust over time until God proves entirely faithful. He is the manager we need. We dare not trust ourselves. Our best thinking got us into the worst pickles!
To say I am happy to have these gentlemen living in the community of Threshold House is a tremendous understatement. I am over the moon! We will be quite diverse crowd, but we can find a sense of unity in our purposes, both individual and corporate to grow in faith and usefulness.
This morning was a busy time. Our local foodbank is very helpful to us, and we got a call to come pick up a large load of groceries before the predicted ice storm. Pastor Andrew dropped by with the third installment of his study on Colossians. The guys love Andrew! We had a time of prayer and then I had to run out and purchase two more dressers and pillows for our new residents. So it is not until midafternoon that I can get to my Friday morning blog.