How would others describe you? That depends on who’s talking, right? Not everyone knows us equally. Nor should they. The article below is part of “Topical Tuesdays” and part of my weekly email as a Chaplain to my Army unit. I offer these non-religious reads to them praying that they will want more and might view the hyperlinked Christian Resilience videos that I also send to them.
Believe it or not, this week we consider some parallel principles between geology and identity in Christ. The former is concerned with the earth’s natural strengths, but God’s people must be concerned with supernatural strengths from our Lord and others in the Body of Christ by His work of grace in their lives.
Before you read on, consider the following prompts and related Scripture passages.
- Given the context of Matthew 7:6, to what kind of pearls is Jesus referring? Also considering the larger context of the Lord’s many public addresses in Matthew, what general category of people is He describing as pigs? Lastly, why shouldn’t we entrust those deeply personal and spiritual parts of ourselves to such people?
- Why didn’t the Lord share all of His heart with all people? (Genesis 18:17-33, Luke 8:9-10, John 2:23-25, 15:12-16, and 17:9 in context)
- What are some of Proverbs’ themes of caution against sharing our heart with people who do not honor the Lord? (all of chapter 6, 12:20-25, 16:28, 17:9, 19:4, 22:24, etc.)
- What are some of Proverbs’ themes of encouragements to share our heart with others who’ve shown that they truly seek to honor Him? (Proverbs 17:17, 18:24, 22:11, 27:9, etc.)
- What might we discern about the order of the disciples each time all twelve are listed? (Matthew 10:2-4, Mark 3:16-19, and Luke 6:14-16) Even among the Lord’s disciples, did He have an equally intimate relationship with each of them? (Matthew 17:1, Mark 13:3ff, John 13:23, 20:2, 21:7 and 21:20)
- Read Revelation 2:17. What does it mean when someone has kept something only for you and calls you by a name that only the two of you know? What does that tell us about Jesus’ heart for each of His people for all eternity?
Zealandia: Is there an eighth continent under New Zealand?
“More than meets the eye” by Chaplain Jeff Dillard (21 February 2017)
For over twenty years, certain scientists have been gathering data to prove that New Zealand is not merely a part of continental islands but a tip of an entire continent. One of New Zealand’s own geologists, Nick Mortimer, and a team of fellow scientists are appealing to specific criteria to substantiate their premise. They point to the fact that the submerged land mass is 1) above the surrounding area, 2) has a distinctive geology, 3) is a well-defined area, and 4) has a crust thicker than the regular ocean floor. Is the scientists’ project simply a manifest national pride to market their country, or is it something different? “The scientific value of classifying Zealandia as a continent is much more than just an extra name on a list,” the researchers explained. “That a continent can be so submerged yet unfragmented” makes it useful for “exploring the cohesion and breakup of continental crust”. (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-39000936) There is no scientific body that says whether a land mass (under or above water) is a continent, time may tell. Even if it’s in the form of a child’s textbook.
Whatever motivations may be underlying (pardon the pun), all of us can learn from two potential goals: 1) how to stay strong under pressure, and 2) when to show others that we are more than we appear on the surface. The former is a key concern of geology, but the former and latter is legitimate question of the softer social sciences. Let’s look at them in reverse order as basic human concerns.
First, we need (or want) others to see us as more than we appear on the surface. The want may be healthy or not. Many military families, including mine, have lived on three of the (currently) seven continents in the world. We can attest that “bigger is better” seems to be a worldwide sentiment, More attention goes to taller people, bigger buildings, fatter wallets, growing companies, larger lists of friends, etc. Sometimes our desire to be more in others’ eyes is based in the fact that they’ve made ‘shallow’ assessments of us. Sorry, if we’re swimming in the big pond of puns. Other times, our desire can be out of insecurities or inflated pride. That may have little to do with the people in our lives right now. Which flows like a river into the second sea of concern (okay – just one more one).
Second in sequence here but primary in importance to our souls is how to be strong under pressure. Most of us don’t daily wonder how a piece of the earth’s subterranean crust has held together for eons under the ocean. But we do need to learn how to last under our histories of relational stresses, personal illnesses, and other significant pressures over time. Consider the following suggestions.
Not everyone needs to know more of who we are. Acquaintances, casual friends, and emotionally distant family do not have the time or interest to understand. Invest your time and energy in the few who have more time and interest to give back to you. What a hundred practical strangers think of us – good or bad, true or not – cannot have the power of what one loved one knows about us. Again, good or bad, true or not. For our loved ones’ understanding of our souls is the start to staying strong under pressure over time. There we grow by true empathy, genuinely loving confession or confrontation as needed, forgiveness, and commitment. Even if we’re simply treading water together, we’re not alone.
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