Just a Thought
As I write this article I am praying for Max, as he is fighting a cancer diagnosis. I very much consider Max to be a father in the faith. I first met Max, and his wife Peggy, at Berean Baptist Church’s college Sunday School class. They were the teachers and Peggy always made sure we had homemade breakfast. I chose to attend this church during college for two main reasons: I could walk there easily from my dorm, and FREE HOMEMADE BREAKFAST! While the hospitality of breakfast may have drawn me to Max, and Berean Baptist Church, I soon discovered a much more fulfilling and transformative hospitality. Max offered to share more than just a meal, or Sunday mornings with me, but he shared his self-control. What? Can you really share self-control? Max asked me once, “What do you need from me?” As we talked I shared that I wanted a daily “quiet time” with God. I knew that this would be a key to spiritual growth, but I didn’t have the self-control needed to be faithful. So Max proposed a strategy he humbly named “Just a thought…” He invited me into his personal time with Jesus, a part of that intimate time studying God’s Word. Each day at 4am, Max would get up and do his own daily “quiet time.” Then, Max would write me a “Just a Thought” email containing a Bible passage, devotional material, and some reflection/application questions. My commitment, to redeem the time Max was sacrificing daily, was to read each email, read God’s word, and write a reply. In this way Max’s self-control and dedication were reckoned to me by this accountability. I couldn’t have defined it like this 15 years ago, but as I look back, Max was sharing not only his faith, but specifically the fruit of self-control with me.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).
When I ran into Max a few years ago God had called him to pastor a church in Prairie City. Max continues to write “Just a thought…”, and now has over a hundred people (from several countries) following that devotional. God transformed my life through His Spirit, and Max’s generous heart. God has grown Max’s faith and influence as a result of his faithfulness to show me generous hospitality. This is a testimony to the power of the Body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:7 says, “A manifestation of the Spirit is given to each person for the common good.”
God put you and me in His Body and He equipped us with “the Spirit” for “the common good”. Max’s example challenges us to change our paradigm of church. Maybe it’s NOT, ‘What did I get out of it?’ but, ‘How did I generously bless someone else today?’ Radical hospitality is sharing our blessings with one another for the “common good!” Just a thought…
Director of Youth & Young Adults