Hi this is Pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…”Do It Again, Do It Again”
For over a decade now I have been affectionately known as Papa to my grandchildren. Over the years, the number of little voices referring to me that way has grown to be more than the number of years that I have held the title. When my grandchildren were little I would do fun things with them like hold them in my arms and twirl around as fast as I could allowing the centrifugal force to carry them outward. Sometimes I would toss them up into the air (just inches from my grasp of course) and then “catch them” on their way down. On occasion I would bounce them on my knee or reach out and tickle them as they went by my chair. Regardless of the game we were playing, one thing remained a constant. When I would tire of the game, often because it had actually become physically taxing for me to continue, their response was the same. Invariably they would come back to me just moments…or even seconds after I stopped, and plead with me…Do it again Papa, do it again”. Whatever we had just been engaged in, they were having fun, they were enjoying it, and they wanted it to continue. Out of that desire came their pleading for me to “Do it again Papa…do it again.
Our heavenly Papa has times when He looks at us and says, “Do it again…do it again”. So what is it that God wants us to “Do again”? And why does He want us to do certain things with repetition?
One of the activities He asks us to do again and again comes from Matthew 16:24-25. It reads as follows from the Amplified Bible. 24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me]. 25 For whoever wishes to save his life [in this world] will [eventually] lose it [through death], but whoever loses his life [in this world] for My sake will find it [that is, life with Me for all eternity]. While it is true that Accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior is a onetime event in our lives, Jesus made the point here that as a result of that decision there are things that we will need to do again and again until the day we find ourselves safely with Him in heaven. We will have to deny ourselves repeatedly. A walk with Christ does not make us devoid of desires, some of those desires are selfish. To respond correctly Jesus said we will need to deny them, and willingly accept whatever may be come as a result. If we ‘do it again’ each day He promises to give us the necessary grace to face the resulting situations, but we still have to make the daily choice (sometimes moment by moment) to deny ourselves, accept whatever comes…and follow Him. That means that no matter the consequences…we choose to look and act like Jesus. And the consequences may end up being severe. In a recent trip overseas I was privileged to meet Christians who had been born into the Muslim faith. For some of them, their decision to follow Jesus had regrettably severed ties with their own families. They were treated as outcasts, ostracized by their own mothers and fathers. What a blessing to get to meet Christians who know what it means to lose their lives (their own identity) to follow Jesus and accept the identity they have in Him! Jesus went on to say that it might even mean a physical death to follow Him, but He reminds us in this scripture that anything we lose for Him in this life will be well worth it when we have eternal life with Him. Our heavenly father loves it when He sees us deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow His Son, Jesus. And His response to seeing that take place? “Do it again child…do it again”.
In Romans 12:10 Paul wrote about another ‘Do it again’ request that comes from God. There it tells us to Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another. This is practical instruction that helps us know how to follow the directive above. It gives specific instruction as to one way we can be like Christ. When Jesus submitted to God the Father and came to earth in the form of His own creation He did not do so because He had a need to come, He did it because we had need of Him to come and make the ultimate sacrifice paying the penalty for the sin of humankind…once and for all! He came giving preference to us and our need, out of His great love for us. So if we want to look like Jesus, if we want to take on His character, then we must learn to honor others give preference to one another. Why does he ask us to do this again and again? I believe it is because He knows that as human beings we learn best through repetition. There is going to come a day when those of us who know and love Jesus will go to be with Him in glory. There we will be asked to return the favor He showed to us. There we are asked for eternity to prefer Him, to give Him all of the honor and love he is deserving of. Recently I had a conversation with some men where I asked a legitimate question. How many years is it appropriate for us to spend on our faces thanking Jesus for what He has done for us once we get to heaven? A hundred? A thousand? Ten thousand years? A million? A billion? You get the idea. I am not sure if eternity is going to be long enough! If we are going to prefer Him alone for that length of time, then acts of selflessness are probably something we can all use as much practice at as we can get now. I am convinced that when God sees us selflessly loving one another by preferring other’s needs above our own, He says, “Do it again daughter… Do it again son”.
While I am on the subject of a loving God who was willing to give His one and only Son to die in our place so that we can live, if we are going to be like Him in that way, we definitely need to learn to become givers. Givers of our time, givers of our talents, givers of His love. How do we become givers? Through repetition. Through doing it again and again. I believe this is the idea behind the tithe. God’s word says that he doesn’t need our money. Psalm 50:10-12 in the New Living Translation reads as follows; 10 For all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills. 11 I know every bird on the mountains, and all the animals of the field are mine. 12 If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for all the world is mine and everything in it. Here God is clearly saying, He owns it all and if He physically had need of anything (which He doesn’t) He certainly wouldn’t come to us to meet His need, He would take it from His own infinite wealth. So, if God doesn’t need our money why ask for it? In the book of Malachi, He quite clearly says that we should bring our first fruits into His storehouse, which represents the local church in our society. Moreover He says that if we fail to do so we are robbing Him! So why does He ask for our tithe? I believe whole heartedly it is because the ultimate giver wants to make us awesome givers as well. As a part of the lesson He uses repetition and asks us to tithe again and again and again. So when God sees us tithing with a joyful heart and becoming happy givers I think He looks at us and says, “Do it again loved ones of mine…do it again”.
So now, in response to your heavenly Papa, Do it again…Do it again, so that His joy and yours may be full…and go be awesome!