Your Hearts Are Far From Me

Finding Jesus

Your Hearts Are Far From Me

“These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.” – Mark 7:6 (Mark 7:1-6)

Once after tha Sun and his mates healed sinners and Samaritans, some Pharisees asked tha Sun, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the traditions of the elders and wash their hands after leaving the marketplace?”

Now back then, them holding to tha tradition of tha elders would not take so much as one bite unless they give thar hands a thorough washing. This be especially so after they come from tha marketplace. They also kept many other traditions, such as washing of cups, pitchers and kettles fer eating.

No doubt, ya may ‘ave heard yer mum say sumpin like, “Wash yer hands ‘fore coming ter tha table. Cleanliness be next ter godliness.”

Only personal hygiene not be tha thing that riled tha Pharisees and teachers of tha law. No, tha thing that stuck in thar craw be tha riffraff tha Sun and his mates hung out with. Tha snooty, critical attitude of tha religious leaders be in opposition ter tha welcoming, loving approach of tha Sun: in fact, be an affront ter tha Sun.

“You honor me with your lips,” tha Sun said, “but your hearts are far from me.”

A long time later in tha Revelation of him self tha Sun charged folks in tha Church in Ephesus with a similar attitude.

“I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen!” (Revelation 2:4)

Ter be sure them in Ephesus meant well. They be busy ’bout helping others. They refused ter tolerate wicked people. They tested them who claimed ter be apostles, but missed tha mark. They persevered and endured hardships fer tha sake of tha Sun and Skipper. They pressed on without growing weary. And still tha Sun warned that if they refused ter come back in ter his arms and love him with all thar heart he would remove thar influence and authority.

A good many folks and crew and congregates be like tha Pharisees and teachers of the law and them in Ephesus. With thar lips they spout a good line ’bout loving tha Sun, but thar hearts be elsewhere.

Fer some thar hearts be on traditions they growed up with.
Fer some thar hearts be on making sure all keep ter tha rules and kicking out any who step out of line.
Fer some thar hearts be on meeting tha physical needs of others whilst failing ter point folks back ter tha Sun.
Fer some thar hearts be on accepting all without correcting and rebuking any — even tha most unrepentant sinners.

All miss tha mark. Our first task ought always ter be ter fall in ter tha arms of tha Sun and love him only. This be right easy ter do when we think on how little we deserve his love and how great his love be fer us.

If ya think ya deserve tha Sun’s love then ya think ter highly of yer self. Only way ter get shed of that attitude and come out of tha darkness and in ter tha Sun’s light, be ter exchange yer life fer tha Sun’s. Only then kin ya love others with tha love Skipper has fer ya. Question be: will ya?


Walking on Waves Be a Fer Piece Easier Than Pulling Oars on a Tiny Boat

Finding Jesus

Walking on Waves Be a Fer Piece Easier Than Pulling Oars on a Tiny Boat

Before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. – Mark 6:48 (Mark 6:45-51)

After tha Sun dismissed tha crowd he made his disciples get in ter tha tiny boat and sail ahead of him ter tha other side of tha lake. Once his mates sailed on, tha Sun went (at last) up on a mountainside ter rest and pray and think ’bout his cousin John who King Herod had beheaded.

When evening come, tha Sun be alone on land. Far below he seen his mates in that tiny boat straining at tha oars. Tha wind be up and agin them. Waves be breaking over tha bow. Around three a.m. or so, tha Sun went down ter tha shore and began walking on tha lake, fer tha shortest line from whar he be ter tha village of Bethsaida be straight across tha water.

When he caught up ter tha boat he kept walking like he was ’bout ter stroll on past. Right then his mates cried out, “It be a ghost!”

Tha Sun stopped, wheeled and said ter ’em, “Take courage. It is I. Do not be afraid.”

Now Old Pete, being a feller who always be seeking ter show he be bold and such, climbed out of tha boat and began walking on water like tha Sun. Only, he didn’t get all tha way ter tha Sun fer he got scared and started ter sink.

Tha Sun fetched up Old Pete and both of ’em clambered in ter tha tiny boat. Soon as tha Sun be settled, tha wind died down, waves backed off. All became calm, fer in tha Sun we find a sort of peace no man kin explain. Another peculiar thing happened, as well. Immediately tha boat reached tha shore whar they be heading.

Now think on this a wee little bit:
Tha Sun sent his mates ahead of him in tha tiny boat.
Tha Sun no doubt knowed a squall would come up in tha night.
Tha Sun prayed and got a good night’s rest (most likely) on soft green grass while his mates struggled ter make way.
Tha Sun rose around 3 a.m., seen his mates struggling, but did not rebuke tha waves and wind as at other times.
Tha Sun strolled out ter whar his mates be in tha boat and looked ter be going on without even stopping.
Tha Sun only paused ter help when his mates cried out in terror.

Why, ya may ask, doth tha Sun behave this way? How come he sent his mates in ter a squall without fair warning? How come he ne’er lifted a finger ter help ’em ’till they worked near all night and even then he acted like he didn’ care?

‘Ave ya ever felt like Skipper sent ya in ter a storm without any regard fer how things ‘ill turn out? If so, think on this: tha Sun knowed tha whole time whar that tiny boat be. Knowed and cared. Only sometimes, most times I reckon, tha Sun figures we kin do tha normal stuff on our own — like row a boat — if only we ‘ill make tha effort. And even if we doth not work out as we hope, thar be lessons ter be learned and bonds ter be formed, and thanks ter be offered ter Skipper once tha storm ‘as passed.

Ne’er think tha Sun and Skip don’ know tha fix ya be in. Only also know that we be made in Skip’s image. That means we got brains and smarts and a wee bit of creativity.

Use yer skull fer some thing other than a hat rack.

Check tha weather fer ya sail at night. Take mates with ya who ‘ave strong backs. And if ya see what looks ter be a ghost walking past on tha water, ask if ya kin step out and stroll along side. Might be walking on waves be a fer piece easier than pulling oars in a tiny boat.

They Got in a Boat and Set Sail Fer a Solitary Place

Finding Jesus

They Got in a Boat and Set Sail Fer a Solitary Place

“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” – Mark 6:31 (Mark 6:31-44)

Tha Sun said ter his mates, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

So they got in a boat and set sail fer a solitary place. Only when they beached tha boat, tha Sun saw such a large crowd that his heart near broke. Right then he began ter teach folks on account of most be hungry fer sound teaching in Skipper’s ways.

Come supper time, tha Sun’s mates piped up and suggested he shut down tha affair so folks could wander off ter get a bite ter eat.

“You feed them,” tha Sun said.

His crew replied, “Why, we don’t ‘ave that kind of money. Would take more than half a year’s wages ter feed such a crowd. Are we ter go and spend that much on these folks?”

One of his crew went ter tha boat and found five loaves of bread and two fish. Tha Sun ordered his crew ter have folks sit in groups of hundreds and fifties. Then taking tha five loaves and tha two fish he looked up ter heaven, gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave tha meal ter his disciples ter distribute. He done tha same with tha two fish. Ever lass and feller ate all they wanted. When tha affair be over tha Sun ordered his mates ter pick up all that scraps so that nothing would be wasted. They ended up with twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish.

Now think on this a wee little bit:
* Tha crew had set sail ter get some rest but instead of napping on green grass, tha Sun put ’em ter work feeding folks.
* Tha crew had it in thar mind ter send ever one away;  tha Sun had it in his mind ter have compassion on all who come ter him.
* Tha crew seen how hungry folks be getting;  tha Sun seen how hungry folks be fer tha words of Skipper.
* Tha crew complained they hath not tha funds ter feed all them folks; tha Sun knowed tha truth of thar miserly hearts and simply ask ’em ter round up what food they could.
* Tha crew knowed thar not be enough food ter go ’round;  tha Sun simply looked up in ter tha face of Skipper and said “thank you, Father.” With Skipper thar always be enough and more.

Thar be all manner of things we could say ’bout this picnic by tha lake, but we ‘ought ne’er ter fergit this one thing: when desperate, hungry folks come ter tha Sun he didn’  send ’em packing. No, he had ’em sit fer a spell and fed ’em ’till thar bellies be filled with fish and bread and thar minds be full of Skip’s living words.

Start whar ya be. Start with what ya ‘ave. Start now. Feed ’till all be full.

One day ya ‘ill look back on them ya fed with Skip’s words and find yer self both thankful and grateful fer tha chance ter be counted as a mess-mate fer tha Sun, of this ya kin be sure.