by Pastor Ralph J. Mineo, St. Luke’s Lutheran Church
The prophet Hosea once says to the people: “Let us press on to know the Lord.” What a great verse for a life-long goal or a personal “mission statement!”
One of the first steps in this endeavor is to examine the attributes of God. Actually, Hosea gives us a very important attribute: “God desires mercy.” This is such an important attribute of God that Jesus himself quotes it! God wants us to be merciful. It’s a pressing issue for God!
Of course the Bible is filled with other attributes of God, hundreds and hundreds actually. A good spiritual exercise would be to leaf though the Bible and find attributes of God. Write them down on small cards, and place them where you’ll see them. “God is merciful.” “God is love.” “God is steadfast.” Good reminders for daily living!
Once we get some clarity about the attributes of God, we ought to look into ourselves, and see what gifts God has given us. When we use these gifts for God’s glory, we can better know God! That’s the way it works: God gives us gifts. We use them. God is glorrified. We are pressing on to know the Lord!
Many years ago there was movie titled “Chariots of Fire.” There was a scene when Eric Liddell, the Olympic runner from Scotland, was confronted by his sister. She thought his running may be separating him from God. He responded by saying, “God made me fast. When I run, it pleases God.” Liddell believed that God made him for a purpose, to be a missionary to China. He became that. But God also made him fast. He said that to give it up would be to hold God in contempt. For him, running was giving honor to God.
So I present a formula: believe in God + know God + honor God = a fulfilled, blessed life.
I encourage you to pray and reflect on this, and adopt a simple, personal, spiritual “mission statement.”
I close with a another story. A young doctor was having trouble knowing God, even trouble believing in God. But the doctor was a sensitive, caring, compassionate person. He went oversees to to do missionary work, helping victims of plagues and famine. Eventually, the doctor was struck down with a fatal illness. At his deathbed was his best friend, a missionary pastor. The doctor said, “It’s funny. Even now, I still don’t know God.” The pastor said to him, “It’s really doesn’t matter now how much you know God. What matters is that God knows YOU.”
WOW! It seems to be the opposite of what I’ve been saying! But it’s the way God has made us! To be spiritual people, we struggle our whole lives, pressing on to know the Lord. We need to do this, it’s how God created us. But, in the end, what really matters is that God knows you. What God knows about me is that, I hope, I’m pressing on to know God!