Coming home from a road trip last week my wife and I stopped at Celery Bog, a nature preserve on the outskirts of West Lafayette, Indiana. We arrived to find that the visitors center was closed due to COVID restrictions. We were checking a trail map when a man came from the building and asked if we had any questions. When we told him we were just passing through, he apologized for the building closure and explained the reasons for it. He paused for a moment and asked, “Would you like to see the exhibits anyway? I’m the director and I’d be glad to show you around.”
We spent the next half hour on a private tour led by the individual who not only knows the most about the exhibits and their purpose but who personally designed many of them. He didn’t have to take the time for us. We were total strangers who may never be in the area again. We didn’t pay admission. It was just kindness on his part which led him to go above and beyond what was required.
No one has ever gone above and beyond more than our Savior. He didn’t have to take an interest in sinful humankind. We were His enemies by nature. There was nothing we could offer Him in exchange for His help. “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another” (Titus 3:3). We are appalled at the violence and dissension we see in the world, but all those sins live within our own hearts as well. We deserve to be condemned to everlasting punishment.
God has gone above and beyond in His love for us. “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:4-6). We who once were outside, locked out of God’s kingdom, are now His beloved children and citizens of heaven.
We are who we are now because God was willing to go above and beyond. We have forgiveness and peace with God because Jesus was willing to do the unthinkable and assume our guilt and punishment. Present joy and future hope are ours because God’s love is unchanging. May that love move us today to follow the Savior and go above and beyond for our families, classmates, fellow believers and all those whom the Lord brings into our lives.
In Jesus’ name,
A busy weekend ahead…
Our fall workday is tomorrow (Sat.). There are projects big and small, both inside and out. Your help, even for a short time, is appreciated.
Our fall service schedule begins this Sunday. Services are at 8:00 and 10:45 a.m. A family intergenerational Sunday school class will run from 9:30-10:15 in the fellowship hall. This is a great opportunity for all of us, regardless of age, to meet together as a Christian “family,” learn of Jesus, and praise Him for our salvation. Here is the link for service signup: https://tinyurl.com/y2j5r8sn
The quarterly voters meeting will get underway after second service. All voters are urged to attend and participate in the work of the Lord’s kingdom. Non-voters are welcome to sit in and observe.