June 2009 - Keeping Things in Perspective...
Christ is Risen! What a joyous time of year we have entered. The good news of the Resurrection of Christ has spread throughout all the world. We can rejoice in our salvation in Christ and His abundant provision for all of our needs...
That is, of course, unless you read the paper... In a recent article (May 14, 2009) from The Weirton Daily Times, it was reported that “Since the 2000 U.S. Census, the Upper Ohio Valley has lost 21,822 residents – that is roughly equivalent to the entire population of Steubenville and Mingo Junction simply disappearing.” Hancock and Brooke counties (that includes Weirton) have lost almost 4,600 residents in the past 8 years, or nearly 575 families per year. Between Jefferson county in Ohio, and Brooke and Hancock counties in West Virginia, the average loss is from 7 to 8 percent of the total population since 2000!
With the high retirement rate and continuing loss of jobs in steel and associated industries within the Upper Ohio Valley, it can be easy to lose our perspective on our abilities to meet the needs of our families and loved ones. Depending on your lifestyle and financial status, it costs between $7,000 and $15,000 a year to raise a child here in America up through age 18. Oh, and how much is the annual tuition-and-fees for the college of your child’s choice? Depending on where you look, rust is the predominant color of the industrial landscape in our area... How do you rejoice in the midst of these realities?
Well, if you want to keep things in perspective, keep in mind that our salvation is not dependent on social status, income, or the ability the meet all the wants and desires of our family members. I’m old enough to remember what it was like to grow up 40 years ago. Air conditioning was opening the windows and letting the breeze blow through the screens. Entertainment time was an hour or so in front of a black and white T.V. with “rabbit ears”, or tuning into the local radio station if you weren’t reading a book or spending time talking or playing in the yard with the neighbors. Electronic communication was picking up the phone, waiting for the operator to answer, and giving her the three-digit number of your friend across town.
Forty years ago, what I wore to church was more formal than it is today, but guess what? The message was the same. “Christ is Risen from the Dead, trampling down Death by Death, and to those in the tombs bestowing life!” Our salvation in Christ lifts our eyes from the rust and decay of the world around us to the glories of Heaven. And when we realize that Christ is in our midst, our perspective of the world changes. When we realize that the joy of the Christian life far exceeds the experience that the world presents to us, living in the midst of these “economic realities” of our neighborhood, city, or county is not only tolerable, but exciting.
“What’s so exciting about rust???”, you might ask? Well honestly speaking, I don’t have that answer. But Christ does. Our Savior’s love for us knows no rust. Our Savior’s provision has no moth holes, and is stainless, like the dome of our church. Our Savior’s storehouse feeds, clothes, houses and educates millions of orphans throughout the world, some for as little as $30 a month... But then that’s another story which I will share with you later in this Vineyard.
Does your perspective on life need a little boost of excitement? Would you like to hear how the power of God changes lives around the world, and hear it here in your own back yard? Then I invite you to join me at a free concert to hear the international children’s choir, “Children of the World” at the Serbian-American Culture Center on Pentecost Sunday, June 7th, at 7:00 p.m., sponsored by the World Help organization.
Whether you come to the concert or not, know that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)”, and that His love and provision for us will never end. Christ is Risen! Let us rejoice and be glad in Him. Truly He is Risen!