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Pastor's Piece

The Pastor's Piece 5/24/2024

By Kevin Cernek, FCFI Chaplain

FCFI

May 26, 2024

 

Someone has aptly said, “There are people who make things happen, there are people who watch things happen, and there are people who don’t know what’s happening.”

 

I’d like you to meet some people in the Bible who made things happen. In Hebrews 11, we are introduced to a man named Moses where it says: “By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter.” As a prince, Moses had all kinds of wealth and prestige and everything else. But he had a choice to make - did he stay on that path and go the easy route or did he refuse it? It says that he did the latter: “(He chose) rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.” Moses knew that he had been called by God to lead Israel out of Egypt. So, on the one hand, he had his high position with all of its wealth and splendor and he would make no personal sacrifice if he stayed. But on the other hand, to become the leader of Israel he would have to sacrifice everything - all his wealth, all his prestige, and maybe even sacrifice his own life. It was a tremendous choice. Two opposites. 

 

Anytime God calls you, you have a choice to make. If you say no, you’ll be miserable. Even if you act like you’re happy, you won’t be. If you say yes, you’ll find contentment and blessing every step of the way, but it won’t be easy. God’s way is always the more difficult path to take. In a way, it’s like a Catch 22.

 

Catch-22 is a term used to describe a situation where, no matter which route you take, it’s going to be difficult. The term was popularized by Joseph Heller in his 1961 novel titled "Catch-22", which was set during World War II and followed the experiences of a U.S. Army Air Forces bomber squadron. In the novel, the Catch-22 refers to a military regulation that states that a soldier is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but, if he makes a formal request to be removed from duty, he is considered sane and therefore ineligible to be removed. The phrase has become a common expression to describe any situation in which an individual seems trapped by conflicting rules or regulations.

 

Moses wasn’t trapped, but he was in a Catch 22 situation. If he kept the Egyptian status quo - he had it made in one sense, but because of disobedience to God, he would be miserable his whole life. On the other hand, if he gave up the status quo to lead Israel, he had a rough road ahead. What to do? And so, he made his choice, Hebrews 11:26 says, “He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward.”

 

Moses was willing to sacrifice temporary riches for eternal reward. He knew the pleasures of sin were only for a season; but God’s reward was eternal. You obey God, and there’s an eternal dividend. You hang onto what you’ve got in this world, and what you see is what you get. This life is very temporary. And that’s really the message here. It simply means you get up in the morning and you smile, you stretch, and you say “God loves me,” and then you do everything for His glory and honor. You raise your children to honor and love God. You do your job to honor God. You love your spouse and it brings glory and honor to God.

 

Moses and Daniel and those guys didn’t get up in the morning looking to see how much trouble they could get into. They simply made choices that they knew God would want them to make - even the risky ones, because they realized what is dangerous to us, or what seems risky to us is neither dangerous nor risky to God. He’s got His hand on us. He is the Father above, beneath, before and behind everything. He is the One in Whom we live, move, and have our being.

 

In Hebrews 11 the writer makes a whole list of the suffering people endured for the sake of faith. It says they were mocked, flogged, imprisoned, stoned, sawn in two, killed with the sword, destitute, afflicted and tormented. Then it says “the world was not worthy” of them. Remember that next time you stick your neck out to object to a culture/Bible clash. God sees you as worthy. Remember that at the next county meeting, or the Pregnancy Center fundraiser, or the We Stand With Israel Rally. Remember that the next time you’re asked to not be so vocal about what the Bible says about clean, faith-based living. It’s not a popular stance to take outside of our church walls - but bringing glory to God is worth it.  Jesus said in Luke 9:26: “Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”

God is asking us for that same level of commitment for a hope that is already a fact in history. Christ was here; He lived; He died; He rose again. He’s alive at the right hand of the Father, and He will work His will and power through His people.

 

(Kevin Cernek is Lead Pastor of Martintown Community Church in Martintown, Wisconsin).