Weekly Reflections from Pastor Barnes – 3/16/2018

Weekly Reflections from Pastor Barnes - 3/16/2018

“Hey! What are you doin’ out there?”

It’s a great day for a hike and the Swine Creek Reservation offers a beautiful venue. A braided stream, Swine Creek dates to the glacial melt. Icy waters, sandy bottom, and rocks ranging from pea-size to huge monoliths make for interesting terrain. The Barnes’ Clan is traversing a trail that runs the south-side of the waterway, when I spot a guy standing knee-…deep and mid-stream. “Hey! What are you doin’ out there?” “Pannin’ for gold!” “Pannin’ for gold?” Jumping into the chilling waters of Swine Creek, I wade out to meet the guy. Panning for gold – this requires further investigation. Seems this guy has panned Swine Creek for two years. Who woulda’ thought! Panning for gold in Middlefield, Ohio. “Have you found any?” “Yeah – found a flake about ten minutes ago.” Reaching into his trouser pocket, he pulls out a small glass vial. Inside, sparkling in the mid-day sun, is a small nugget about the size of a teardrop. The precious metal shimmers brilliantly in the sunshine. Gold! Further conversation reveals valuable information. Two years of panning have yielded eleven flakes. My friend informs me that when he fills the vial (he has a long way to go), he will have panned one ounce of the precious metal worth approximately $1200. Gold is a rare commodity – hard to find and of great value.

In First Corinthians 13, his voice rising in grand crescendo, the Apostle Paul emphasizes the godly virtues of faith, hope, and love; however, at least according to Paul: “. . . the greatest of these is love.” In the epistle, Paul addresses a fellowship that is fragmented – fractured – factionalized. Things have broken down along “party lines.” They can’t even sit down to a meal together without feuding. After lengthy instruction aimed at addressing a variety of prickly issues, Paul says: “. . . but let me show you a more excellent way.” His treatise in Chapter 13 speaks of a rare kind of love – unselfish – unconditional – unmerited – directed towards the best interests of the other. To be honest, this type of love – a very rare commodity – is found in only one place. Love, at its apex, is found only in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ. A wonderful passage in Philippians affords us a glimpse of this rare, Christ-like love: “though he was in the form of God, he did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross” (Phil. 2: 6-8). That is love lived! Only in Christ Jesus is love perfected. Do you know him? Have you experienced his wonderful, life-transforming love? Love is a rare commodity – hard to find and of great value. Where might one find such a love? Are you “panning” in the correct location? Take a look on Calvary’s cross. Allow the precious love of the Savior to embrace you.