Sep 5, 2012

Wednesday in the Word - Before I Die I Want To Be Tried For Piracy!

Candy Chang from New Orleans shares her story of community engagement.  She turned a neglected space into a constructive one by covering an abandoned building with a giant chalkboard and asking folks to fill in the blank.

Before I die I want to ________________________.  

I snickered at the image of the New Orleans resident in full pirate attire writing, "Before I die I want to be tried for piracy."  I also particularly liked these responses: "Before I die I want to plant a tree." "Before I die I want to be someone’s cavalry." 

Candy says, “Two of the most valuable things we have are our time and our relationships with others.”  It reminded me of Paul’s words to the Philippians on relationships and on his time with them.

Philippians 2

1If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7 but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

14 Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16 as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. 17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.

Paul -- Before I die I want to pour myself out for you!

We can hear throughout the chapter our calling to love others and to humble ourselves.  Paul uses the perfect example when he expresses Christ’s love as he made himself nothing in order to build a relationship with us.

Too often my life is in opposition to this passage.  I don’t steward my time well and I don’t steward my relationships well.  The worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth bring my focus away from God and others and to myself.  Instead of this high calling I can feel the effects of The Evil One trying to steal and kill and destroy.  He desires that we would make others nothing as we build ourselves up.  This is the way of the world.

It all brings me back to the humorous image of the pirate in this video.  In order to be effective, perhaps we really do need to be tried for some sort of piracy.  But instead of the traditional image of a pirate, we need to steal back our time and our relationships from this world.  We will be tried as we go against the grain in this world’s system.  We will be tried internally as well as externally as we commit to steward our time and relationships the way Christ did.  Christ modeled the humble approach and right relationships on earth and was tried as a pirate, dying a criminal’s death on the cross.  Paul died a similar death.  He was tried and persecuted because he answered this high calling.  You can hear his rejoicing at the end of the passage.  He can taste the joy of heaven as he stewards his life for Christ.

Before I die I want to humble myself!

Before I die I want to honor God with my time and relationships!

Before I die I want to pour myself out for you!

Before I die I want to be tried like a pirate!

Your turn! 
Before I die I want to__________________!
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