Church today was good. We looked at Matthew 18 1:20, where the disciples wanted to know who would be the greatest in Heaven and Jesus brought a child into their midst. Today, we celebrate children, elevate children. In that culture, in that time, men were the only people of value. Children were supposed to be obedient and humble and dependent and trusting. Things the disciples weren't. So by Jesus telling them they should be like the child, that was an insult to them. We should be like that; we should have that kind of faith - the faith of a child - dependent, humble, obedient and trusting.
Verse 7 was about the shepherd with a lost sheep going to find that one and the responsibilities God puts on us toward our fellow believers. Those who are lost tend to have weak faith or are facing other difficulties. I tend to let people do their own thing, but I know there are people, and thank God for these people, who call and keep in contact with those who have gone their own way. There are some I pray for. A mentor within my ladies organization who got fed up with actual church politics. She was in a few key leadership positions, but isn't coming at all now. Her politics irritate me and I disagree with her about a lot of other things, but I do pray for her walk and for her to find her way back. And a former student who comes every few months or so. I send him birthday cards and am sure to say Hi when he's there, but I'm not good at small talk and and and. Excuses. He has family within the church, so I know I'm not alone worrying about him.
Another section of that focuses on how to confront your brother (in the body) about sins s/he have committed. And doing it in a loving, Christian way that builds relationships up instead of bringing them down. But it is a responsibility God puts on us. Keeping it between the two of you is a change from how it was done back then. Any suspected sin was brought before the whole town - it's a new and different relationship through Jesus. God calls us to be faithful to his Word, to do these things, regardless of our own sins and failing. Take care of it humbly, carefully, lovingly. You may not be successful at first. That other person has to be in the right place. They are probably feeling shame and guilt and might respond badly.
I tend to see those kinds of actions as planting mustard seeds. You be faithful; you be loving; you plant the seed. God will control the rest.
And that tied in really well with the lesson from Ezekiel 33:7-9. God calls Ezekiel (and us) to be the watchman and warn Israel of their sins. If you don't you are partly responsible for it. How do we do that? If someone were about to fall into a hole, you would try to stop them. Why not the same as if the hole were spiritual? That's hard though. And there are so many excuses.
Wisdom, Humility, Faithfulness