This week we reflect on Matthew 7:1-5. This text reminds us to "not judge others," but it also asks us to look honestly at ourselves. Jesus says, "do not judge," but he goes on to say we should first take the plank out of our own eye before trying to take the speck out of someone else's eye. This means, of course, we should examine our own lives to discover where they fall short instead of scrutinizing the lives of others. This is not easy. It is far easier point out what we believe someone else is doing wrong than it is to look inside ourselves and admit where our own lives of faith are found wanting.
What do you do to spend time reflecting on your life of faith? What do you do to discover the plank in your eye? What method do you use to be honest with yourself about who you are, how you behave and what your thoughts and actions truly tell you about yourself? How do you discover the truth of who you are?
The Gospel of Matthew was most likely named sometime in the 2nd century CE, some 100 years after it was actually written. It is likely the Gospel was given this name not because of the Apostle Matthew (who is mentioned only 2 times in the book), but because of what the name Matthew means. Matthew means "gift of God." The name Matthew also bears a striking resemblance to the Greek words "disciple" and "learn." It's possible the name Matthew was attached to this gospel because it is the ideal book for disciples' learning.
Please remember the good folks of Fourth in your prayers. Here's a list of those we been
Judy Harris - back pain
Connie Nutgrass - Recovering from surgery
Tara Parker - Recovering from broken arm
Glenn Orr - Recovering from broken arm
Dennis and Joan Little's friend Dennis Tomberlin
Dennis and Joan Little's friends and mission workers in Cameroon, Richard and Debbie
Dennis and Joan Little - family situations and concerns
Bill and Ruthie Brent ask for prayers for Debbie, Jeff and Loretta
Pat Gould ask for prayers for her friend Tammy's husband
Jan Merrick asks for prayers for friends Karen and Jim. Jim is battling health issues
Michaelle and Larry Steier's son John - health issues
Margaret Lewis - Health issues. Prayers, too, for Alex.
Peggy Garlinger's son who has been diagnosed with covid-19
The Great Stabilizer
In the "Somewhere in the Middle" segment of 4th TV, I point out that taken to the extreme, self-examination can lead to a preoccupation with oneself. If all we do is look inward at our own issues and fail to look up and see what others face, we could miss the needs of a hurting world around us. Our Christian faith encourages self-examination to be sure, but perhaps even more, it urges us to look around to discover and address the needs of those around us.
One of the great stabilizing forces in being a part of a church community is the way it reminds us to look at the needs of others with as much care and consideration as we look at our own needs. The mission of the church is to reach out to those in need. I find that when I'm preoccupied with my own concerns, the church and its mission get me outside of my own head to recognize the needs of those around me. If left to my own devices, I run the risk of getting self-absorbed. The church is a great stabilizer for me because it moves me outside my head and away from a preoccupation with my own issues in order to discover and address the needs of those around me. That is healthier for me and hopefully helpful to to others.
Landon and I went camping this past weekend. Check out some of the pix from the campground (which had an awesome lake) and from our 9 mile hike to Grey's Arch!