The Grateful Glutton

glutton• a person who is excessively fond of or always eager for something :a glutton for adventure.

Very often when we go to church we hear sermons that encourage us to reign in our passions and resist our urges. We hear calls to moderation and restraint. I have preached many of these sermons myself. Yesterday I stood before my congregation and told them to “go for it!” I encouraged them to throw caution to the wind, indulge yourselves! Right about now some who are reading this are probably thinking the old “RevRan” has finally lost it, while others are thinking,“hallelujah! I think I just found the church I have been looking for!” Now before anyone writes me off as a heretic or rushes to join my church please allow me to explain.

I am afraid that at times Satan has taken our sincere zeal to live a life of commitment, discipline and purity and he has used it to zap the zest out of our lives.  He has tried to make us feel guilty for simply enjoying the great life that our great God has provided us. In our quest for holiness we have forgotten how to let our hair down and just revel in the goodness of God. You know, live, laugh and love as the saying goes. I am in no way advocating selfishness or greed or that we partake in things that God has said are sin. I am simply saying we should gleefully and gratefully enjoy the blessings God has provided. Blessings like our salvation through Jesus, our families, our health, a hearty laugh, good food and good friends. This Thanksgiving week let me encourage you to drink deeply from the cup of the Lord, revel in His mercy and His grace toward you, savor every morsel of good food He has provided, take a moment to admire beauty of nature that He has surrounded us with, generously show and share His love with those you love, and truly feast on all the good things He has provided. Now I hope you don’t bust the button off of your britches this week but I do hope you can become a grateful glutton for Jesus.

Ps 7:17 Oh, how grateful and thankful I am to the Lord because he is so good…. (TLB)

Ps 34:8 Taste and see that the LORD is good;… (NIV)

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Life Awards

Life Awards

Regardless of what profession one has chosen in life I think everyone wants to feel like their efforts have been recognized and appreciated.  Even ministers are not immune to these feelings.  A plaque, a brief mention in a denominational paper detailing the numerical growth of your church or a complimentary comment made about us by a respected colleague can provide a momentary jolt to our oh so fragile psyche. But it doesn’t take long before the plaque finds itself dust covered and stored away in a closet and someone else has become the new hot topic of conversation amongst your peers.

The longer I serve in the ministry the more I have come to desire and appreciate a different kind of award. Awards that can’t be displayed on walls. Awards that are given to us by people who don’t even realize they are giving them to us. Let me give you some examples of the greatest awards I have ever received.I call them “Life Awards.”

…when people ask for your opinion and they really do want it.

…when you reach a point where you don’t have church members you have “brethren”

…when you know you have people in your life who would take a bullet for you. In other words when the “throw down goes down” you know they would stand with you.

…when people don’t have to tell you they love you. You just know that they do.

…when someone tells you that their life is better because you were part of it.

….when someone calls me “Pastor” and I know it is not just a title but it is because I am their “Pastor”

…when pastor is not what you do but who you are.

I am at a point in my journey where I am not really concerned about fame or acclaim but I really do hope that when I leave this world I can leave behind a shelf full of “Life Awards”