Elder’s Insights – Feb. 24th, 2017

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Loving God’s People – Dean Peters

Last evening Carleen and I were sitting in our four seasons room when she asked, what is that out there?  A fox?  I looked out to the field and sure enough it was a fox.  He was snacking on what appeared to be a mouse.  Foxes are not permanent residents but do come around on an irregular cycle.  The field to the north of our house each year has a crop of either beans, corn or wheat.  After the harvest, it is easy to see nature’s creatures come and glean the fallen grain.  We are blessed with an ever-expanding variety of Michigan birds and animals.  Deer of course, wood chucks & squirrels (with which I have an ongoing battle), the occasional fox & pheasant, geese, ducks, turkeys, sand hill cranes, red tail hawks, and new this year, eagles.  Not to mention the birds at the feeders.  The fun thing is they are not always there every day so when they are it is always a treat.  Whoever spots them first tells the other who then stops to look.  Seeing this wildlife is part of our joy in the Lord.

As a follower of Jesus Christ, do I view God’s people with the same enthusiasm and joy?  Do I view them like the eagles who I look for with anticipation or like the squirrels that I would rather not have around?  As a young Christian I was aware that we should love one another (John 13:34) but still struggled with the squirrels.  My spirit was just not coming in line with Jesus’ command to love one another.  Then some unexpected advice came from a non-Christian supervisor.  Speaking to him about a problem I had with a co-worker he advised that if I would allow every person I meet to have at least three faults I would find that I would be able to get along with everyone.  As I began to practice this advice I was amazed at how many good people were out there.  Eventually I realized that this is how Jesus looks at us.  Knowing that we are sinners not yet glorified He looks past our faults and embrace’s us with His love.  Does He expect the same from us?  Yes, clearly.  Is it easy?  Not always, but like the Apostle Paul we press toward the mark, “Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”  Hebrews 10:25

Dean Peters

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