Last Sunday Pastor Jeff Manion reminded me greatly about the importance and theological significan of lumber…….. Well he may not have necessarily talked in depth on it, but well it struck me especially as I sat down to write this….
Jeff has been preaching on the Sermon on the Mount in a series entitled “Basic Jesus”. This weeks sermon was called “Self Examination”. The key part of this sermon was based on Matthew 7:1-5. Christ is talking about not judging others and to first of all look at the plank in our own eye before trying to help a brother with the speck of sawdust in their eye. I have been struck by this alot with the situations that are around me in the lives of family and friends. The photo in this posting is from Shiloh Ministries (at a church I went to in Detroit, MI). I believe its from one of their retreats, its something I have had a similar idea of doing when I’m in ministry, but moving back to the subject. We so often are quick to judge others when there are sins in our life. Often we are willing to judge someone who has a sin that is one that is something we consider unthinkable, yet if we examine ourselves we have a similar sin, though not the same, but in the same category of sins. We forget that we are alll flawed and messed up, no one’s perfect, but when someone elses sin is blatantly in our face we forget ours. Jeff said something along the lines of “we are often blinded to our sin, but if others do that sin to us we see it immediately”. We are desensitized to our own sins! We are blind, just like the man in Matthew 7:3-5 (NASB) which states:
3“Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4“Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? 5“You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
The church is often so unloving and uncaring. I know of a situation where a man in the church is causing pain and life changing pain to another Christian because of a sin that they committed. The non-Christians in this person’s life are more loving, understanding, and caring than a fellow brother in Christ. We need to take the piece of timber out of eyes before we point the finger at others.
This passage uses references to lumber as what causes the block to our vision, in other terms, the sin in lives. But God has also used the greatest piece of lumber to save us. The Cross. The cross is the place where all of us can come and lay down our saw dust, our own planks. No matter how big or small, how ugly and shameful. It is a place of accetance, love, forgiveness, and the starting point for all true change!
Jeff ended his sermon with the comment that “The Biggest Blessing is exposure to our own sin!”
Its a starting point, a place where we can repent, recognize our brokeness, our need for the saviour, that we are just like everyone else, a sinner, a sinner loved by God. Take the time to look at yourself before pointing the finger, and when you have removed your own plank or saw dust, care for your brother and sister in Christ with love and care, don’t hate them and destroy them for their past sins and wrong doings. Love them and accept them as Christ would.
We are the hands and feet of Christ…….. He bore our sins on the Cross, the holy lumber!