stewardshipDrop Your Nets and Be Free
    There are times I wish I had no obligations. It would be great to take my wife’s hand, hop in the car, and drive into the sunset. Where we were going would not matter as much as the fact that we would have nowhere we had to be. There would be nothing we had to do. No bills. No commitments. No problems. Freedom! Life doesn’t work like that, however. When Jesus came along and asked some fishermen to drop their nets and follow him, they did just that. Wow! In some ways, they experienced true freedom. That is what Jesus offers all of us. Yet, true freedom looks quite different than my dream scenario. In living in the true freedom that Jesus offers, there are things we must do and places we must go. That is because freedom only exists in following God’s will, not our own. We are called to be and called to give ourselves completely to God without reservations. We always have the free will to not respond to His call, but we will find that a negative answer may complicate our lives even further. God’s path for us calls on us to give freely of what we have been given. Saying no to that call means we carry the weight of those gifts. We were never meant to keep them. The path of God’s may seem long and winding, but it is the one that leads us into that sunset. It is the way to true freedom.
—Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS

When Sacrifice Becomes Mundane--It seems to happen every year, like clockwork: we drag a bit, as we enter into the second week of Lent. On Ash Wednesday, we feel a bit like soldiers banging our shields, rushing into battle. “We’re ready, God!” our hearts cry out. “Transform us through sacrifice! Your will be done!” But by now, these Lenten resolutions are no longer novelties — they’ve joined the ranks of everyday inconveniences, which somehow are the hardest to bear. Because transformation, in real life, happens in inches, just as a battle is won slowly in the crash of one sword against another. It’s not always a dramatic thing, to the naked eye. It’s the perseverance in prayer despite weariness, or the continual denial of some pleasure even though there’s that nagging voice in our minds saying: go ahead, God doesn’t really mind. It’s a week when we all need a shock to the system — and wouldn’t you know it, this Sunday God gives us a double-whammy of dramatic sacrificial scenes. We picture Abraham, who also cried “Ready!” when God called, never imagining what He would ask: the surrender of his long-awaited son. We see Christ himself transfigured, as God shows us what He is ready to give up for love of us. We must remain committed, persevering daily in acknowledging that everything belongs to God. What we sacrifice, we simply give back to Him. If God is for us, who can be against us? Can we still reply, “Ready!” when we hear the call of God? —
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