Anaheim SDA Church
Mid-week Pastor’s Update
October 12th, 2022
“He who is faithful with little will also be faithful with much, and he who is unfaithful with little will also be unfaithful with much.” Luke 16:10
At the “manufactured home” complex in which we live, our neighbor’s mobile home has a fenced-in porch that faces toward our space’s driveway. The family there has two dogs, a gray bulldog and a little brown chihuahua, who fly into a rage anytime they perceive something or someone moving in their sight. Sometimes we will hear the “alarm” of their barks going off, only to glance out the window and see that the Amazon delivery person (or UPS, what have you) has dropped-off a package. And when Jime, or the kids and I go out to get in the car to go somewhere, they go absolutely wild! Agressively barking and snarling, as if to say “if only this fence weren’t here, we’d rip you to shreds!”
Now, my kids like dogs very much. They’ve repeatedly asked us to get one (the answer is always “no”), and when we go to the grandparents’ house in Riverside, they spend a good amount of time playing with their dog (they’ve even told their teachers that that dog is “their” dog, apparently ;-p ).
So I’m sure that, if these neighbor dogs were nicer, that our kids would happily go over and talk to them, pet them through the vertical slats, and maybe even ask the neighbors to go onto their porch to play with the dogs. But as it is, they keep their distance from the fence of that porch, and never mention wanting to build a relationship with those dogs.
Sometimes I wonder how similar or different we as a society may look to heavenly intelligences. We are allotted our ‘little space’ in our society: the little property of our homes, but also the circles of influence in our workplaces and social circles. And I wonder if our interactions are more welcoming or aggressive in the aggregate.
Just as I think it’s a loss for both those dogs and my kids that they don’t take a friendlier posture toward them, I wonder how many opportunities for good interactions, friendships, and even bonded relationships are lost because we take a default posture of defensivism, or even aggression, toward others.
And, while I don’t believe we’re saved by our actions, I believe the record of our actions, amassed over time, gives testimony to the heart of the person. So if angels & unfallen beings are asking themselves “should earthlings be permitted to come join us?” our kindness & generosity vs. defensiveness & aggression here and now can clue them in to how wise that prospect would be.
Lately there’s been verbiage in the outside world that churches are hateful places that breed intolerance: I hope nothing we do serves to feed that narrative. Rather, I pray that the Spirit of Christ would be shown, both through our personal lives as well as through our corporate body when we gather together.
Above all, I hope that when Christ returns, He will indeed ‘find faith on the earth’ (Luke 18:8), partially because of our faithful, encouraging, friendly interactions and invitations into Kingdom life with Him.
May God bless you and your families this week and beyond.
Pastor Mark Tatum