I was a manager of a debt consolidation office at one period in my life. Monday through Friday during an 8 hour day I normally would see between 5 and 6 people who were in deep credit card debt. I recall one person in particular, in the privacy of my office took his billfold out and when it unfolded there were 46 cared cards all maxed out. Just the look in his face let me know that this bondage was a noose around his neck draining the very life out of him. Now, hang on, I am not writing today about any of that. My purpose is to talk about bondage, but you will have to read the remainder of my blog to see what type of bondage I am referring to.
I have encountered many a person who was bound in one way or another. What if I told you that the great apostle Paul was a bound person also? Perhaps some might become upset because Paul was a great man of God. Yes, he was I totally agree. But, he wrote to one particular congregation that he was so bound that it was impossible to shake free of the very thing that had wrapped itself around his soul. With all kinds of things that a person can become bound by in our society this is one thing I have never heard in a confession. Never has anyone raised a hand or stood up and asked a group to pray because they were bound with the same thing Paul was bound with. What was it? Here is his own words, “But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you,…(2 Thessalonians 2:13 KJV) I love the Amplified Version of this verse because it brings out the original meaning of the word “bound”. “But we, brethren beloved by the Lord, ought and are obligated [as those who are in debt] to give thanks always to God for you…”If you are the parent of a teenager just imagine them getting up some morning being bound to give thanks for everything going on in their life. That would be one bondage in this society I would love to see.
Somehow I think we of this generation have lost this debt which we owe. This bondage, if you please. I don’t know about you, but I fail to give thanks enough for the things in my life that have brought me to the place I am today, or for even the people who have crossed my path and had an impact upon me to help shape me in some way for the ministry which God has placed me in at this particular stage in my life.What got me to thinking this way was the work that my friend Pastor Jesse Menchaca and his son Mark and their crew did in laying new carpet in our building in preparation for our “official” grand opening this coming Sunday. Arriving to our building on Thursday morning a few minutes before 8 am they worked until a few minutes past 10pm getting our building ready. I am in debt to that precious man of God for his work. I salute him because of a fantastic job which he and his men accomplished.
Honestly I could not even stand in the shadow of the apostle Paul because of the great things he accomplished under the Spirit’s guidance throughout his lifetime, yet, like him, I do have a debt to pay. A debt of gratitude. A debt of thanksgiving.I am certain I will miss some, but may I for a moment list just a few that I have a debt towards?Some are still living, others have gone on, yet I still owe the debt.For example, Pastor R.A. Sites for his love over my life and his willingness to open his heart to me for training. Sister Opal Redding, a college professor that was truly a “fireball” for God who in Bible college was sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading in her own heart and life.(May I be like her) To Bishop Curtis Baker who opened a door to a new ministry for my wife and me that we truly are thankful for. To my precious pastor friend Malcolm Burton that battles a sickness in his own body, yet every time I see him seems to be so upbeat. To my friend who affectionately is known as “Papa Ron” to so many that releases a cry within my spirit man to be a channel for God’s power to flow through. To Dr. Brett Cooper that is a pastor in the Denver, Colorado area of the country along with his precious wife. Dr. Cooper stretches me every time I am around him to think outside the box. I am in debt to the knowledge he imparts to me. I am in debt to give thanks to all the congregations which I was pastor over. I am in debt to you for putting up with my youthfulness, my mistakes, my shortcomings and my errors that I committed while at the leadership position. Finally, and I am certain I left out many, but to the congregation that has opened their heart to my wife and me in this present position I am in debt to you. I give thanks for your welcome, your warmth, your willingness to take in strangers.
Sorry for a lengthy blog, but this is in my spirit. Now it is up to you and me to pay it forward. If we are going to be in any debt at all, let’s get into debt over thankfulness. How shocking we might actually be!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!