In my years visiting pulpits of different churches, I usually found that what I so carefully planned to speak on was overridden at the last minute by God. As such, I often had to “wing it”. I find writing this blog is no different. This week I was in the process of writing a blog about Ava Denton as an example of how God puts certain people in our lives for specific reasons.
As I wrote about Ava, God kept reminding me of a sermon by Father Phil Wallace at St. Louise Parish on the first day of Lent. Father Phil asked “what things do you have before you?” (Exodus 20:3-5a). I wasn’t sure why God kept speaking to me about this, when I already planned the perfect blog on how people are put into our lives.
While I was thinking about the ending of my post, I started thinking about how I look forward to seeing Ava in 2 weeks when she delivers delicious grass fed organic beef to the Seattle area. I thought about going to visit Ava on vacation this spring, letting my wife and daughter experience a life I used to live (raising cattle) and to finish Ava’s untextured walls (which bother me more than her). I thought about riding horses, fixing fences, and branding young cows, the fresh milk and butter, and bailing hay.
What I realized was that Father Phil’s words rang true – we all put things in our life ahead of Him, and we tend to covet what our neighbors have (Exodus 20:17). I covet Ava’s pony, her unfinished walls, and her cows. I want the simple (but hard) life she works, the fresh air, the space to grow a garden. I don’t want her smelly dog (I have my own smelly dog). Basically, I want her lifestyle – which means I covet what she has.
So what do we do when we “covet” (eagerly wish for) what others have? The same thing we do with all sins. We need to recognize our sins, lay them before the Lord (James 5:16), and He will forgive us (Mark 3:28). The key is to recognize we all sin, and realize we are not slaves to that sin in Jesus – and strive for righteousness (Romans 6:1-3).
Through this process we find restoratoin in our relationship with God. After all, Jesus likes relationships – He’s a romantic.