Summary: Romans 7 allows us to see the tug of war we face each and every day
With the weather being so hot I was surprised to find upon returning from out biannual visit to my sisters in Chicago that there were still strawberries available for picking. I had noticed when we left the area that the signs were up that said, “pick your own” so I honestly felt that there wouldn’t be any left when I came home. So on Wednesday night I headed down to Wood’s on Ebenezer side road in the blind hope that I would find a strawberry patch that was open. And I did.
So off into the row that I was given dropped to my knees and started picking. The berries were very small and yet very ripe and ready for picking. I moved further down the row and they all seemed the same so I just did the best I could. Slowly but surely my 4-quart container I had brought with me began to fill but it sure didn’t fill as quickly as it did in other years. I am really not sure what caused these berries to be so little – whether it was the cold start or the lack of recent rain fall or just that these bushes were just destined this year to produce small berries.
Anyway I went and paid for my precious 45 minutes work and went home happy and fulfilled that I had some berries to eat and make milkshakes for my kids or to just slice and eat for breakfast. There is nothing like fresh picked fruit in the summer. The hot humid weather and fresh picked fruit just seem to go hand in hand. In this part of Ontario we live for that – our fruits and our abundance of fresh vegetables. The Holland Marsh a gold mine of wonderful goodness. We are truly blessed with the fact that we have this at our fingertips. For we who live here are forever given the gift of our fields and reap the harvest of our land.
So I head home with the strawberries in hand and start to stem them. They are lovely and as I look at them in the sink – I wonder how I could feel they were anything less than perfect – they are red and ripe and very sweet. They were ready for whatever I wanted to use them for. The fruit of God and Mother Nature’s labour…. Just for the pickin’
On a scale of one to 10 where would I rate these berries? Depending on whether I was in the patch or looking at them in my sink I think the rating would change – don’t you? My perspective on these berries is dependent on what is around them and my judgment of their worth rated by the outlook I have. The passage from Romans that is in the lectionary readings today is about a tug of war in oneself to do right and to do good. Doing right and doing good can be the perspective of ourselves – this writer Paul must have been feeling very low about themselves when they wrote this passage.
Perspective – we are all subject to it and depending on your perspective your tug of war will be different.
How do we know if we are winning God’s tug of war or if we have a healthy perspective? God has given us the gift of choice and the gift of reason. We have the bible to give us the guidelines but it can also people’s worst enemy because as we have seen the words in this book can be twisted and shaped to suit your sin. We can justify anything. So do we not just have to answer ourselves with God’s guidance? We are winning God’s tug of war when we look in the mirror and know we are living a Christian life. A life that we are proud of and a life that we can share with others and a life that is true to the word, the word that is spiritually given to us. A life that is blessed by the Holy Spirit. A life that is worth living and feeds our spiritual self. A life that gives us life.
The big question today with the young people is “WWJD” What would Jesus do? I find this an amazing perspective to live in. They are in a constant tug of war. With Jesus as their friend and model they ask this question regularly. When our young people ask the question they look at Jesus as a person, and as a man that made decisions and worked with God and his faith. They measure themselves with Jesus but they ask questions and gain a valuable perspective that gives them merit and reason.
If we don’t have a guide or a mark how do we know if we are winning the tug of war? We all need to tow the line… we all need to live up to day to day living. Our young children expect to be fed, our partners expect us to share the load, and God expects us to do the best we can do. The guide or the mark is here in our hand and we need to use this as our tool to balance the tug of war in ourselves. Sin can win and will win – our goals has human beings is to let it win as little as possible.