Warning Labels

We have all read them. We might have even seen some crazy one ourselves. Forbes had an article that listed 20 wacky warning labels. Here are just a few …
–  The Jabra Drive ’N’ Talk Speaker Phone had the warning to not operate while driving.
–  On a chainsaw – “Do not hold the wrong end of the chainsaw”.
–  On an egg carton – “This product may contains eggs”.
–  On a small tractor – “Avoid Death”.
–  And one for Calvin, on a Superman costume – “This costume does not enable flight or superpowers” (sorry son).

As I read these, and others, one phrase kept coming from my mouth – “Well, Duhh”. But warning labels are important. They give us insight to the product and are there for our safety and well being. Life should also have labels. Warning: this cute 4 year old princess turns into a teenager. Warning: this soppy, romantic-comedy means you will have crazy expectations on dating life. Warning: once the wedding is over, after the honeymoon, you will need to work on this relationship, because not every marriage is a fairy tale (exception – life with Lisa). Warning: this 50 year old body does not react like a 21 year old body, it will creek, snap, groan, and ache more.

Okay, where am I going with this rambling? Today, I had a phone pre-interview about a church position. The representative wanted to clarify a few items about the history of the church and wanted to give the candidate (me as one) a chance to gracefully back out before any time was invested on either side. The church has some baggage (who doesn’t?) and it was some serious stuff. Basically, life at the church has gotten muddy (oh, remember the name for this blog – how appropriate!)

The conversation was a warning label. And any new pastor walking in should know these issues. The key components of any new pastor at this church will include the ministry of healing, restoration, and rebuilding trust. But isn’t that what God does? He is the Jehovah Rapha – God who heals. He is the God of reconciliation and the God of restoration.  I appreciated the transparency and the upfront communication – and I am not scared to move forward.  The God I serve, the God I proclaim, the God I love – He is able!

WARNING – Life is full of Muddy shoes – but that does not mean the shoes are lost.
In that upper room, Jesus knelt and washed the feet of the those closest to Him – His disciples. He said they were already clean because of the Word He had spoken. Only the feet need to be cleaned. The church that my conversation involved has baggage, muddy history – but I do believe God is not done with them. I also believe that some of the mud I traveled through in this life equipped me for a position such as this. Warning: I am not saying this is the door God is opening – too early – but I do believe the God allowed me to go through things so I can be used for later ministry.

Paul said in 2 Corinthians 1 that God comforts us so we can comfort others. Warning: this hard time, this muddy situation, you are going through might later be used in your life to help others going through similar mud.

I hope you see life as a journey and that we can learn lessons from even the muddiest parts, the hardest times, the ugliest times, and the most painful times, to be used by God in positive ways.

Don’t turn away because of the warnings – learn and live.  Join me on this journey that often is muddy.

Forgetting what lies behind (the mud too) – we press forward to what is ahead.

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