Monday, April 13, 2015

Pop Quiz!

Didn't you just love those surprise tests your teachers gave you in school? To see how much you really knew without studying? Yeah, me neither. I always hated those things. As soon as I heard the teacher say, "Today, I have a little surprise for you," I knew my GPA was going to drop significantly before the bell rang.

And how do you answer the questions you don't know the answer to. Do you guess? Or just leave them blank? Do you answer all unanswerable true/false question as "true" figuring you'll as least get half of them right? Maybe. On multiple choice do you always answer "c"? Or all of the above, and then try to figure out a way to justify your answer. Yeah.

The whole problem with pop quizzes is that they were only a problem for those of us who didn't  studied. That was me. I look at my life now and my walk with Jesus. I haven't changed much.

Each day we are faced with opportunities to shine, situations set in place and arranged for by God, to test us, examine us. So often we just fly right by those "pop quizzes. We don't recognize them for what they are. Opportunities to serve, opportunities to witness to others about our faith. The problem comes when we are simply too busy with our lives, our friends and our phones to notices them when they occur. And they DO occur. For example . . .

When I was at church today the pastor was speaking from the Book of Hebrews. Instead of telling us to open our Bibles to chapter 6:9-12 he misspoke and gave us the verses right before it to read instead.

"7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned." - Hebrews 6:7-8

This was the second time these verses have spoken to me in the past week - my friend and I having discussed them just last week. "Coincidence," you might say. Friends, I have been a Christian for nine years now and have seen enough "coincidences" in that time to KNOW they are more than that. They are God-incidences. This week God was testing me and . . . IT WAS AN OPEN BOOK TEST!!!

You see, my family is involved in a minor land dispute with our farm in Michigan. Our neighbor built a driveway on our land. My sister, her husband and I ran through all sorts of scenarios about what to do. That was the test.

Of course I wrote in the wrong answer at first. Grateful I was using a No. 2 Ticonderoga with a fresh eraser on its head! I wrote down a few answers initially. None of them seemed right after they sat there for a while. Then I read that verse again in church today and God's Holy Spirit showed me something I was missing in my answers.

I have been chosen by God. "No one comes to the Father unless the Father draws Him" (John 14:6). I have answered that call and become His slave, seeking to do His bidding. As a result, I am expected to bear fruit (Matthew 17:7). If I bear from the truth of God is in me. John 15 is amazing in this area. The words of Jesus, our Lord.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples."
- John 15:1-8

Ouch! God pruned me a bit this weekend. Made me bow my head and humbly seek His forgiveness for not passing this test with my FIRST answer. But God was good to me and forgiving, desiring that I pass the test. I hope He is pleased with my final answer.

We all face tests every day - pop quizzes with eternal consequences. God does not grade on a curve. Instead He offers a simple pass / fail exam. Trust me. You do NOT want to fail His exams. Did you miss a pop quiz today? That's okay. There will be a make up exam tomorrow. You will be given the same test over and over again until you pass. That can become very depressing unless we live, and learn from our teacher. Study, learn and live God's teachings. Embrace the tests. Pray . . . teach me, O Lord.

Teach Me, O Lord - Trinity Chamber Singers

No comments:

Post a Comment