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Monday, April 13, 2015

Railroad tunnel on Chiques Creek rail trail
Old railroad tunnel along Chiques Rock rail trail.

"Mundane Faithfulness"

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"Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord" (Romans 12:11).

Stanley Horton
Stanley Horton was one our highly esteemed professors when we attended Bible College back in the mid-seventies. At that time he seemed old although he was actually about our age now! He went on to live 98 years, passing away just last year. He continued in active service practically to the end and maintained an active Facebook page and blog, making his last post after his 98th birthday!

He was a brilliant man with an encyclopedic knowledge of Scripture. I recall asking him a question about an obscure verse although I didn't even have the reference. He immediately recognized the verse, gave the reference, and provided a satisfactory answer.

I read this quote in an article concerning his death, "Some people make a big splash in life. Others spread their impact more quietly over decades." In the case of Dr. Horton his influence spread out for nearly 80 years impacting scores of young people preparing for ministry.

It was Martin Luther who asked his thoughtful listeners, "What will you do in the days of mundane faithfulness?”

Most of us aren't making a big splash. Our service might even be described as "mundane faithfulness". We go about our days seeking to be faithful in the little things. We are open to making a big splash if that's what God ordains but many of us never do.

Mundane faithfulness is unheralded. It's couples who keep their marriage vows, workers who do their jobs conscientiously, parents who steadily care for and nurture their children and there are many areas where mundane faithfulness can be applied in the church setting.

We should see a lot of this in a healthy local church. I did yesterday. I was standing in the foyer before the service visiting with several men when Dick walked in. Last week his wife, Ruby, fell and broke her hip and now recovers in a rehab hospital. The men gathered around Dick to lend support as he sought to restrain his tears. Married for nearly 60 years this is a tough time for him. But he found encouragement in a small group of men who showed compassion as they assured him they help carry his burden in prayer.

We dedicate this message to the many, many people we've come across in our journey who are steadfastly making an impact for Christ in ways barely visible outside their own relatively small sphere of influence as they practice "mundane faithfulness".

Changing church signYesterday I changed the message on our church sign read by those who travel along scenic Mount Pleasant Road. I will be preaching next Sunday while our pastor is visiting relatives so he asked me to put up my sermon title on the sign. Ester watched me and recalled our sign changers while we were in New England.

Bill and Veda Shibilo served the Lord in a variety of ways in our congregation, including faithfully changing our sign each week along busy Rt 44 in Taunton, Massachusetts, posting Scripture verses and quippy sayings, which we hoped would speak to driver's hearts as they passed. We periodically received comments from passers-by but
only the Lord knows the impact of these truth statements in spiritually barren New England.

Naomi in nurseryThose who serve in their churches are too numerous to count. Our thoughts immediately race to those who have platform ministry. But consider today Naomi who sat in a church nursery tending the toddlers while their parents enjoyed undistracted worship. How about the trustees who arrive before everyone else, unlocking the doors, adjusting the temperature, staying till all have left the building, checking the bathrooms, turning off lights and locking up. We think of those, like our friend Sherry, who year after year, has visited a nursing home weekly to express spiritual and physical care.

How about the dedicated volunteer who calls upon others to prepare a meal when a church member is recovering from an accident or surgery? We benefitted greatly from that when Brooksyne was recovering from surgery seven years ago after she broke her ankle. I contend that the vast majority of the work of Christ is being done by hundreds of millions of believers just like these around the world who work behind the scenes as they practice mundane faithfulness.

"Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord" is a command that we do well to practice all the days of our life, whether we're called home young or if we live to be 98, like Professor Stanley Horton. Today, make a fresh determination to faithfully serve the Lord in big or small ways in mundane faithfulness.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, it seems the longer we live the more likely it is that we grow weary, lose interest, or become frustrated by others who might not help carry the work load, whether it's in the family, work, or church setting. But if we carry out that which You've laid upon our hearts and faithfully serve, even in the mundane chores that others are not attracted to, we do that which pleases You and make an essential contribution to the overall function of the home, workplace, church, community and world. Even that which is mundane to others can be appealing to those whose hearts are zealous, filled with spiritual fervor, because they are "doing their work heartily as unto the Lord", which is even more important than doing it for others. Keep us joyfully on track and focused heavenward as we faithfully serve You in the mundane chores of life. Amen.

Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
May I thy consolation share,
Till, from Mount Pisgah’s lofty height,
I view my home and take my flight.
This robe of flesh I’ll drop, and rise
To seize the everlasting prize,
And shout, while passing through the air,
“Farewell, farewell, sweet hour of prayer!”

Yesterday afternoon we took a bike ride along the Chiques rail trail along the Susquehanna River. Our Zimbabwe friends joined us and Ester took several photos.

Chiques Rock
Rock climbing on Chiques Rock. You can barely see this climber, as he's in the cleft of a rock, and almost reached the top. The bike trail runs below this very popular Chiques rock in Lancaster County.

Chiques bike trail 4/12/15
The bike trail bridge over Chiques Creek.

Chiques bike trail 4/12/15
We stopped to look out over the Susquehanna River and I used it as a teaching moment.

Chiques bike trail 4/12/15
Young people sure like "selfies"!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Faithful Men"  Video  Twila Paris

"Hope and Joy in my 90s" Stanley Horton's last blog post and Facebook answer to reader

"Leaving a Legacy" with "Prof" Howard Hendricks  Video  (39 minutes) Life lessons from a master storyteller.

"The Son Shines Down On Me"  Video  Canton Junction

"He Hideth My Soul"  Video  Guy Penrod

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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