‘Good men are public blessings’

There is no such thing as piety that is only private. The following verse is from our public confession at church this morning:

“By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is overthrown.” Proverbs 11:11 ESV

If the upright remain hidden behind closed doors in a life lived only in a small, safe sanitized haven, then of course the city is not exalted. Matthew Henry, in his commentary on this verse, says, “Good men are public blessings.” (emphasis mine) Henry mentions three ways in which this is true:

  • God blesses the Christian: “By the blessings with which they are blessed, which enlarge their sphere of usefulness.”
  • The Christian blesses the neighbor: “By the blessings with which they bless their neighbours, their advice, their example, their prayers, and all the instances of their serviceableness to the public interest.”
  • And God blesses the neighbor: “By the blessings with which God blesses others for their sake.”

The result? “The city is exalted and made more comfortable to the inhabitants, and more considerable among its neighbours.”

If Fort Wayne, “The City of Churches,” is not in some way “exalted,” the wicked are not the ones to blame. Fort Wayne Christians must encourage one another to be good to our city, by blessing our neighbors. And in return, God promises to exalt our city.

The four saddest words

What are the four saddest words you might hear after church on Sunday?

“See you next week!”

What a depressing sentiment! We saints gather together every Sunday under one roof. We enter the very sanctuary of God together, we praise Him together, we receive the Word together and share Christ’s body and blood together. We are, in fact, knitted together as One Bride, as the very Body of Christ Himself.

Then, so often, we make no effort to reinforce our solidarity and community with one another between Sunday mornings.

“See you next week!”

That means I won’t invite you over for supper and you won’t try to find any common activity that we can share. I won’t see you at the store or at a coffeehouse. In fact, it means it’s our intention to live completely separate lives from one another, lives that touch for only a few hours a week out of the hundred hours a week we spend awake.

“See you next week!”

Don’t let those four words be the last ones you say to your brothers and sisters tomorrow. Try these instead:

“I’ll call you tomorrow.”

“Come over for lunch!”

“Let’s get together soon.”

These sound so simple as to be too obvious. But we can build each other up only if we see each other more than once a week. Let’s clear our schedules for each other.

Bonhoeffer and responsibility

lifetogetherI’m getting inspired by Dietrich Bonhoeffer‘s “Life Together,” and I have yet to get beyond the introduction.

Here are two quotes from the book’s intro that ring true:

“The sin of respectable people reveals itself in flight from responsibility.” — Bonhoeffer’s friend Eberhard Bethge

“For him Christianity could never be merely intellectual theory, doctrine divorced from life, or mystical emotion, but always it must be responsible, obedient action, the discipleship of Christ in every situation of concrete everyday life, personal and private.” — “Life Together” translator John W. Doberstein

Welcome nancynall.com visitors

Nancy didn’t know how to label us. We don’t really know, either.

We’re not just evangelicals, although we believe the Bible wholeheartedly. We’re not just conservatives, because we’re not sold-out Republicans at all. We’re both confessional, we both love cities and we both long for authentic community.

Maybe we’re just Kuyper Christians.

It was the Dutch politician and theologian Abraham Kuyper who said:

“Oh, no single piece of our mental world is to be hermetically sealed off from the rest, and there is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!'”

Yeah, that sounds about right.