Wednesday, November 10, 2010

When crisis comes

Peter thought that he was finished. His troubled sleep abruptly ended when guards with lanterns, clubs, and spears came to arrest Jesus. He pulled a sword and flailed away, reacting to the threat with brash and thoughtless violence. As soon as Peter lopped off the ear of one of his enemies, Jesus dusted it off and replaced it. Peter reacted; Jesus responded. Twenty-five years, later Peter wrote his first epistle and explained to his readers the appropriate way to respond when life appears to be over.

"The end of all things is near, therefore," he writes. Following the "therefore,"' Peter shares six wise, godly responses that can apply to any crisis: 1) think clearly, 2) stay under control, 3) pray, 4) love, 5) offer hospitality, and 6) serve one another (1 Peter 4:7–11).

Life-on-life ministry can be a place of danger and crisis. We pray and strive for safe and smooth operations, but sometimes disasters come. Peter concludes the section with a doxology that reminds us that a wise and godly response to a crisis is not ultimately about us but to bring praise and glory to God. He ends verse 11 with: "To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen."

As a Christian, we live in two worlds. "The end of all things is near. Therefore" we need to make every moment count, responding wisely, connecting with God, and building community. We also live in a world of "for ever and ever. Amen" that reminds us that our service is not about us and our efforts, but about God and His glory.

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