Category Archives: Bulletin Articles

Words of wisdom from our weekly bulletin

USED

Have you ever been used? Have you ever been treated as a means to an end? Have you ever been taken advantage of? It happens all the time. In order to gain an advantage there are people who will look you straight in the eye, tell you what they want you to hear, and then take what they want at your expense. Being used is painful.

Let’s put the shoe on the other foot. Have you ever used someone? Have you ever treated another person as a means to an end? Have you ever taken advantage of someone? Ummm . . . ouch. It happens all the time. In order to gain an advantage we . . . yes, we . . . will look a person straight in the eye, tell them what we want them to hear, and then take what we want at their expense. Using people like this hurts them.

We live in a culture of objectification. People are often no more important to us than a tool. Too often people are little more than a utility. We are a culture asking, “What’s in it for me?” and “What can I get out of this?” In a sense, we have cheapened the value of human life and turned it into a commodity. When this happens life becomes a series of exchanges rather than rich and meaningful relationships.

This does not simply cause trivial damage. This shift strikes at the core of our existence as those who are created in the image of God. Objectification determines value based on what we have to offer rather than from our being. It alienates us from one another and from the One who gave us life.

In a culture of objectification, how do we recover what we have lost? Well, we need new eyes to see and new ears to hear.

Jesus knew what it was like to be used. People did it to Jesus all the time. They wanted healing, food, signs, power, honor, and money. They saw Jesus as a means to that end over and over and over. And Jesus knew it. I don’t mean that Jesus suspected it. Jesus knew it. (See John 13:11 where John points out that Jesus knew He had washed the feet of the one who would betray Him.) He wasn’t deceived or misled or confused or surprised about being used as a means to an end..

So, how did Jesus confront a culture of objectification when He was seen as an object to be used?

Jesus took a towel, a washbasin, and some water and got down on His knees and washed feet. After some resistance and some foot washing Jesus asked the disciples a question, “Do you know what I have done to you?” And then Jesus taught them, “You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.” (John 13:12-15)

With a simple act of foot washing Jesus revolutionizes what it means to connect with people. With a little water and a towel Jesus changes the disciples identity from objects to be used to people to be served. In this act of humble service Jesus isn’t asking, “What’s in it for me?” or “What can I get out of this?” But rather, He is re-establishing what it means to be human, created in the image of God. He is restoring value and re-opening our eyes and ears to see and hear everyone around us as a person to be treated with dignity, respect, and love. And He calls us to look for ways to serve rather than to be served.

How do the people you engage from day to day look to you? Do they look like a means to an end? Do they look like a way for you to get what you want? Do they function like a utility? Or are they the dearly loved, created and redeemable, children of God? To change your thinking you will need to change your behavior. Perhaps it’s time to grab a towel, a washbasin, and some water and restore the value of human life and relationships by humbly pouring out your life for the sake of others. ~ Sam

ASHAMED

ASHAMED
Ross was a small man but tough as nails. He once dropped a heavy motor part on his foot and said, “ Well, that broke er.” He just kept on working the rest of the day. He could out-work almost any other man in our small town. As the saying goes, “he worked like he was killin’ snakes.” He worked in my grandpa’s junkyard and also dug ditches for his meager living. He was my great-uncle and the town drunk. Ross was extremely closed off about his early life. I was told he once had a wife and children years before. As long as I knew him he lived in a one room shack in the junkyard. That is where my two younger brothers found him dead after he went missing for several days. What a sad and lonely life and death. Continue reading

CAUGHT

Caught

Can you remember a time when you got caught? Maybe it was your mom who caught you grabbing another cookie after she told you not to eat anymore. Maybe you cheated on a test and your teacher found out. Maybe you got caught up in a sin that took ahold of your life once you let it start driving you. Continue reading

WHO CARES

WHO  CARES?

Who cares?  The intent and inflection of the one asking this question would determine the answer.  If we hear cynicism, apathy and lack of concern in another’s voice, we  would probably infer that this person is not friendly towards our situation.  However, if we hear a plaintive tone of hope, we might assume the person is in need of sympathy and support. Continue reading

AROUND AND AROUND

My first experience in a revolving door was fun until it became scary.  We didn’t have such things in my small town, but the big city ( 20,000 people) had them at the entrances of the department stores.  At first it was a thrill to make the door spin but when everyone else but me had exited, I felt trapped and scared.

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