Happy New Year! How is it that we are already heading into the last full week of the first month of the new year? Time sure is a funny thing, seemingly stopping, slowing down, speeding up, and turning us round and round like the hands on a clock! Sometimes all we can do is hold on and try to keep our eyes open so we don’t miss a moment! January usually comes with resolutions that center around health and wellness as people are reminded that they aren’t getting any younger. We hear about the newest diet craze that promises a whole new you without even having to change anything about your lifestyle. Most of us know that such a promise isn’t true, but many of us fall for it – I mean come on, why not, what do we have to lose? (Spoiler: Literally nothing, if we do nothing…) Anyways, easy does it right? Especially if I can get results overnight and still keep my zebra cakes, candy, and chocolate in my night stand! Portion control? What’s that? Who needs it anyway?
Over Christmas, Pastor preached a series called “Portion” in which he talked about Jesus being our Portion – not just A portion but THE Portion. Uh-oh. I quickly flipped through my Bible, how could this be? How could I have never noticed this before? Lamentations 3:24, “The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will hope in him.” Ok, one verse that says portion, don’t freak out let me check another, Psalm 142:5, “I cry to you, O Lord; I say, You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living!” Jesus is The Portion that fills us completely and leaves us with that pleasantly full feeling.
Okay, Okay, I get it - Lord, You are not just A portion in my life, You are The Portion of my life. But we all know, I can be a bit of a slow learner. Pastor, my sweet, amazing, creative husband – loves to use props when preaching. He, with the help of Mom-Teri and Mr. Matt, created a beautiful nativity scene made out of the word P-O-R-T-I-O-N. After spending hours upon hours creating, painting, and setting up this awesome prop – we were ready for this sermon series! Guess what? About 35 minutes before service SOMEONE fell straight through the prop. I have it on good authority that there was some shrieking, some arm flailing, some skidding, some more shrieking, and the terrible sound of the R in PORTION being ripped from the T…
… Dear Lord, yours truly, nearly face-planted in the manger…Yup, it was me.
Call me grace…while it was quite mortifying, and I may have suffered from a slight case of whiplash and unintentionally come up with a new arm-rotation exercise (should I submit my resume to the MLB and teach all the pitchers a new pitching form?) I did not fail to recognize that maybe God was trying to remind me during a most special time to make sure I was focusing on Who my Portion was, is, and will always be. And what a very clear reminder He gave me of Psalm 73:26, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
I know what you are thinking, so what does this have to do with a new year? For 2022, Pastor has challenged us to spending 15 minutes more with God in prayer, His Word, encouraging His people, reaching out to the community, really working on personal spiritual growth to become MORE like Christ. In order to become more like Christ, in order to grow in Christ – we must make Him our Portion. It won’t be easy, but I can promise you, you will experience real and lasting change. This challenge applies to any and all Christians in whatever part of their faith-walk they currently find themselves in. Cling to these promises Christian: 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” And Philippians 1:6, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Eat up!
Read: 2 Corinthians 4:1-18
Consider: Have you ever gotten hung up on a question or task? You hit a place where you are just stumped, exhausted, and ready to quit. You take a step back, and Voila! All of a sudden you see the solution? Or, guys especially (just kidding!), what about when you are looking for your keys, glasses, or phone? Only to realize that they are in your hand, on your face, and in your pocket? Sometimes we are too close or too involved in a situation to be able to see it clearly. This can happen when we are discipling and mentoring as well. We get caught up in the every- day grind and life loses its color and meaning as we rush around with our to-do lists waving in the wind. In II Corinthians 4 we see Paul remind us that we are jars of clay, vessels, that are to be used to bring glory to God! He reminds us to not get caught up in the temporary struggles of life, but to keep our focus on the end which is eternity with Christ, vs.18, “As we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
It could be said that evangelizing and discipling are two halves of a whole. Paul recognized and understood that we are called to evangelize and disciple. In Ephesians 4, he talks of the importance of unity and maturity in Christ “so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes” (vs.14). We are to be a light that points others to Christ!
Being a disciple maker is hard work! It can be discouraging when you think that there is no fruit being produced while you labor. During these times it is important to remember that God has called you to fulfill a specific purpose and ministry and that we do not always understand how God works and moves in each life. The Bible says that God’s Word does not return void, Isaiah 55:11, “So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Take heart! God knows, cares, and has a plan! Leave the results in His capable hands, after all, He is the one able to make gold out of dust (Job 23:10).
To Do: How does God being our Portion help us to evangelize and disciple others? Christ is our Portion in all things including Strength, Love, Joy, Hope and Light, of these areas, which do you find the hardest to rely on Him and why? What steps are you taking to make Him your Portion?