Bread – Earthly

April 26, 2013


Readings for Friday, April 26, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: *; Col. 3:1-11; Luke 7:1-17; Psalms 40,51,54

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We grow up with lots of sayings in our head, some from our parents, others from teachers, some from our friends, many from television, video games, and the Internet. One of these sayings that I am sure every one of my readers has heard at some point in time is that we should be “well grounded.” What this used to mean was that we should be practical, balanced in our living, and attentive to reality. Over time, this concept has been taken to the limit, where today in school being well-educated is not an objective, instead being well-trained for a job is. Why would you take a liberal arts degree when you can take an accounting degree and get a job? After all, taking practical courses is being well-grounded.

Well, “well grounded” in what? Into the ways of man and the world or the ways of God. See, where we plant our feet, our labor, our heart, our mind matters. We need to be well-grounded, but in what soil?

This is a question rarely asked because the reality of today is always before us. Therefore, to be well-grounded means to be earthly, to be able to recognize and react quickly to the stock market, to know our job well, to know how people get promoted and how they get ahead in the world, so we know which soccer teams our children need to be in and which churches we need to go to and which country clubs to belong to. You get the point. Being well-grounded from this perspective is being well-connected to the earth, to the world we live in, to the reality of day-to-day living, being wise to the world.

However, Paul today warns us not to be well-grounded in earth, but to be well-grounded in heaven. What he really says is “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek things that are above…Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth…Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness…anger, wrath, malice, slander and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie…” Col. 3:1-9

Where are we well-grounded, earth or heaven? Paul gives us some tests – how much do we engage in our thoughts and actions in immorality? How often do we tell crude jokes? How often do we engorge ourselves with delicious food, filling our passions? How often do we want what others have? How often do we speak ill of people? How often are we angry at ourselves, at others, at our circumstances, at God?

Being earthly is, to summarize Paul, not good. If we are to grow in Christ, in our Christian walk, we must become well-grounded in Christ, who is in heaven.

How do you become well-grounded in a person? There are at least three ways. One is to talk to Him. We call that “prayer.” Another is to think about Him. We call that “reflection and meditation.” A third is to study Him in His writing to us, Scripture. We call that, well, “study.”

But there are other ways as well. One of the most important is to ask Him. When we confess our sin, turn to Him in repentance from them, believe in Him, and ask Him to make us well-grounded in Him, He acts to replant us from an earthly hothouse (which we call Hell) to a heavenly greenhouse (which we call Heaven). We call that replanting process “salvation.” It is not something we can do for ourselves, just like the plant cannot jump on its own from bad soil across town to good soil, but is something which Christ does for us.

The question is not whether we are well-grounded (although that question may in fact be relevant to many people), it is what soil are we well-planted in? The people who are well-planted in the earth do well in this time. The people who are well-planted in heaven do well for eternity.

There is another place where people who are well-planted in heaven do well. That is on earth. Think about it, when you are earthly, planted in the earth, you are stuck where you are, with your feet buried in the dirt. When you are well-planted in heaven, you have freedom to move among the earth, with your feet planted in Him who made the earth.

Earth or heaven. Earthly or heavenly. You can be well-planted in either, but saved and free in only one. You guess which one.

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© 2013 GBF

*The Book of Common Prayer reading marked by the asterisk today is from Wisdom, which is a book of the Apocrypha. Since not all Christians recognize this collection of books as appropriate Scriptural reading, it is omitted.

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