My wife says I'm never content. I don't know that I necessarily agree. She says I'm always wanting more...a bigger house, bigger motorcycle, faster truck. You get the picture. There is something within our human nature though, that for a while at least, wants more. My first truck was a 1971 Ford Torino Ranchero with a 351 Cleveland, Holley 4 Barrel Carb, duel glass packs, and no payment. I paid cash for it, and it would run a hole in the wind...when it wanted to.
It wasn't long, though, before I realized how much gas it took to get to school and back, or how embarrassing it was to be on a date and my truck decide not to start (honest). So I started shopping and bought another one; a 1983 Ford Ranger with a 4 cylinder engine, no air, and no power steering.
We bought our first house before we married; a tiny place on North 18th Street in Mayfield. I moved in and started getting it ready for my new bride to move into after the wedding. We had that little place dressed to the nines. It was cute as a bug and my house payment was only $138.50 a month. But it wasn't long before thoughts of kids started coming along, and we realized it was too small. Now, we have a house with 5 bedrooms, 3 baths, two car garage, a garden, and a huge mortgage. Maybe I'm not a very content man after all.
Is that ever a good thing? Is there ever a place, time, or situation where wanting more is what we are supposed to do? I think so. Actually, I know so. Paul talks about it in 1 Thessalonians 4. Now, this is one of those hot button chapters in the bible dealing with the rapture, but today, I'm just not feeling very edgy so I'm staying away from that. What I want to look at is Paul encouraging these folks to want more.
Here is what he says: "Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And, in fact, you do love all the brothers throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers, to do so more and more."
I have served 9 United Methodist churches so far, sometimes 3 at a time, and what I have found in all of them, save one, is that we are very good at loving each other. (I'm not sure that one church loved anybody.) Paul is patting the Thessalonians on the back for the way they love each other. He is even commending them for the way they show that same love to folks in the neighborhood, but then he says for them to do more of it.
What would that look like here? Or what would that look like where you are? I think that is the question that has been behind all of my struggling the last few weeks. What would it look like for us to love our neighbors more? I'm not really sure yet, but I'm working on it. I'll say again that I have the appointment (and for those not familiar with United Methodist terminology, we are "appointed" to the churches we serve) that my colleagues only dream of. I could stay here until retirement and it would be fine with me. The folks that I serve now are great at loving each other, and loving those in the neighborhood. So, I pat them on the back for that. Now, we are at the place where I hear Paul say to us, "It's great that you do that, now, go and do more of it."
I'm not sure what that is going to look like or even where to start. But I'm working on it. May Paul whisper the same words into your ear this week.