“Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need
a strong ox for a large harvest.” Proverbs 29:18
Loving Is Messy Have you noticed how life is messy? This verse says that a large harvest requires the use of oxen. Oxen are messy. They poop and pee (a lot!) in the stable and it must be cleaned regularly. But it is worth the effort! Marriage is also messy! It requires a great deal of self-sacrifice (love) to have one that honors God and is fulfilling. It is worth the effort! Family is messy. Work is messy. Church is messy. Are they all worth the effort? The question really is, “Is Jesus worth all our effort?” since He is the one who calls us into these relationships. Absolutely!
Jesus said that messy is a normal part of life with Him. He wants us to bring healing, order, and productivity from all these relationships. Will we pay the price, count the cost, and get messy for the gospel? Are we willing to get dirty or be inconvenienced for others? Will we be hurt or embarrassed by others in our church, our family, and our marriage and still love them?
Of course, we should strive to have order, peace, and do things that edify our family and church. Paul said this in 1 Corinthians14:33, “God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.” And in 1 Corinthians 14:40, “But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner.” Order and messy are not mutually exclusive. Love requires that we get down and dirty to meet the needs of others. Here is a good example.Our daughter, Stephanie, and her husband, David, lead a church in their home in Virginia. (See photo below) She told me this week about how they were excited to have a young mother (with 4 children under 10) come visit them on Sunday. One of her children wrote on their walls. Some others were loud and disruptive. Afterward, the mother said how much she enjoyed the time, and enthusiastically thanked Stephanie for inviting them. She is not a believer yet. Stephanie and David told us, “Our goal is to see this family come to know Jesus and be saved. Our house is not eternal, but this woman is.” It was messy. But people are worth the mess! Jesus is worth the mess!
Atlanta House Church We are also learning how to handle the messy relationships with our spouses, our children, one another, and our unbelieving friends. As we continue our Bible discussions each week about God’s faithfulness and our faithfulness, we gain fresh motivation to sacrifice and our faith in God enables us to press on even when our flesh doesn’t want to. Praise God, we are learning to be His church!
1. Atlanta House Church Pray that each member would grow in their faithfulness to God by loving others – being willing to sacrifice, forgive, and serve others – to get messy for Jesus!
2. Family News Next month we will celebrate many family birthdays, including mother’s 97th! We are thankful for her kindness, generosity, and concern for others. We see her almost daily and help her continue living at home. She is a gift from God! Please pray for each member of the Nelson family to be saved and live for Christ. Pray for the parents raising children (our grandchildren), it a messy job that is worth everything they do! They need the grace of God and the Holy Spirit’s power for this task.
3. Ukraine. As we pass the one year mark of the war in Ukraine, their brave army continues to make progress in the east to repel the invaders. The physical, emotional, and psychological cost has been devastating. Thank you for continuing to intercede for their protection, for the war to end, and for God to bring revival in both countries. Thank you too for giving to help with the relief efforts! https://reliant.org/ukraine.relief.fund There are many who appreciate what your giving has done for them.
Yours in Christ’s faithful love,
Steve & Danelle