Thursday, May 06, 2010

Broken Toilets and Pulpits

The toilet in my office is loud when it flushes. Really loud. Windows shaking, “mountain-falling-into-the-sea” kind of loud. Until today. Today it sits in the water closet silent and broken. I don’t know why. When I push down on the little silver thingy there is no FLUUUUUSSSSH noise! It has never been my favorite toilet because of the aforementioned ear shattering, sonic boom decibel level flushes, but at least it worked. Until today.

The Plexiglas pulpit from which I stand behind each week also has had some “issues” this week. Until yesterday (It is now fixed thanks to Central’s able Facilities Manager and all around good guy, Ryan Forshee) the pulpit was shaky, very shaky. I think the front part of the pulpit was not connected to the back part or something like that—and last Sunday in the 8:30 service, as I was waxing eloquently I was worried that the pulpit and I were going to come crashing down into a Plexiglas and Preacher heap. Not good. I don’t consider myself a “pulpit pounding preacher,” maybe I am.

I cannot think of a scenario where there would be a connection between these two important objects in my life being broken at the same time. And while I am neither a plumber nor a fix-it-guy-- this I know: A guy wants his toilet to work. And a preacher wants his pulpit to stand tall during the worship hour.

Both items are not of much value when not doing what they were designed to do. As you know, a toilet is not a particularly comfortable chair. It’s not like I’m going to the little room just to check out the sink and the lovely decor. (For the record, I have no lovely decor in my little room.) And a pulpit that doesn’t reliably hold Bibles, sermon notes and the occasional No Doze (don’t ask)—isn’t much of value either. Toilets need to flush and pulpits need to firmly stand. That’s what they were made to do.

And people were made with a purpose too.

In Paul’s Letter to the Thessalonians, he is telling them about Jesus return and what we are to be about in the meantime. It’s an “until then” kind of statement. Until then, until Jesus returns, this is what you need to be about. This is what he writes:

On the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you. With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:10-12)

Paul is telling this small band of believers—“Until then,” until Jesus returns let Him find you being “worthy of his calling.” That means fulfilling “every good purpose of yours and every act... of faith.” It means, as he goes on to say, “that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you”—that Christ is glorified in the way we live and the way we approach life.

It’s being who we were created to be. It’s doing what we were created to do. We were made to bring glory and honor to God. We weren’t created to make more money or to hit a winning golf shot; we weren’t created to sing beautifully at the Metropolitan Opera or win a Nobel Peace Prize. I was not created to preach sermons or write these articles or spend time with sick folks. Of course, we can do all of those things (and I really hope someone from Central does win a Nobel Peace Prize because how cool would that be to say “we know a Nobel laureate?). Still whatever it is that we do—we need to be doing it not for our glory but for God’s. In another place, Paul said: So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

You see when we are not fulfilling our purpose, when we are simply about making money so our bank account gets bigger or hitting the game winning shot so we get all the praise or singing the song so that we get the adulation—then we are a lot like a toilet that doesn’t flush. It might look good. (Seriously has anyone thought, “Now that’s a good looking toilet? But you get the idea.) We were not created to simply take up space on planet earth—we were created to bring glory to God in all we do! So let’s be who we were created to be… a people who through our actions and through our words praise the Lord!