On my journey I was not meant to travel alone - 21 September 2018

Ewald Schmidt

A song of ascents. Of David. How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life for evermore. Psalm 133:1-3 (NIV)

This might be a short song of ascent, but it packs a powerful message: nobody was meant to travel alone on the journey of life. In Old Testament times, families over a few generations needed to live together on one family farm. It was necessary to stay together, and to work together, to protect each other against enemies and thieves. People needed each other’s help to cope, even more so before agriculture became mechanised. But from the days of Cain and Abel it was not a given that brothers would get along. Brothers can be each other’s worst enemy in life. It must be very hard not to trust your own brother!

But when brothers are living in peace, working together to reach their goals, they are capable of so much more. This wisdom is shared in Ecclesiastes 4:9: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labour: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.” It is our sinful nature standing in the way of co-operation with each other. Where selfishness and jealousy rule, relationships suffer. But brothers working together are unstoppable. This ancient wisdom is still true in our time. Families who care about each other, working together towards a common goal, achieve so much more than people left on their own. It is also true of the church as God’s people in this world. We were called to be the Body of Christ in this world, and each believer has been blessed by the Holy Spirit with gifts to share with other believers. In our church we can achieve so much more when we stand in unity, working together to God’s glory.

People walking together in unity is a sight to behold. David uses two images from his lifetime to describe the holiness and beauty of people living in unity. It is as spectacular as the robe of the high priest. It is as refreshing as the dew from Mount Hermon. We could use images from our own experience, the principle is the same: unity amongst God’s people, church and family, helps each one of us to live a more abundant life to the glory of God. We need one another to succeed in life.

Prayer: Lord, you have created me to live in relationship with other people. Thank you for my family, and my brothers and sisters in my church, who are travelling with me on my journey of life. Help me to be a blessing to others, living in unity with the people you have placed in my life. Protect me from selfishness and jealousy, help me to see every opportunity where I can be a blessing to others. Bless your people, Lord, that they may be a blessing to the world. Amen

On my journey of life God has a unique calling for me - 20 September 2018

Ewald Schmidt

A song of ascents. Lord, remember David and all his self-denial. He swore an oath to the Lord, he made a vow to the Mighty One of Jacob: ‘I will not enter my house or go to my bed, I will allow no sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids, till I find a place for the Lord, a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.’ Psalm 132:1-5

God has called every believer to walk the journey of life with him, each in our own unique way. We can dream huge dreams of what we want to do in life, to honour God. This song tells of David’s ambition. He wanted to honour God by building the biggest and the best temple that the world had ever seen. He stated that he would have no rest before that dream became a reality. It sounded like such a good plan, how could this not be what God wanted?

But the Lord had different plans for David’s life. One of David’s descendants would be called to build a temple on Mount Zion. It was enough for God that David was his child, walking his path of life with God. God had appointed David as king of Israel, to serve God in that capacity. The promise that God had given David was that the kingship of Israel would always be from the house of David.

But this seems like ancient history of a country far away. What can we learn from this song? The most important lesson is that God is actively planning our lives. We are called to be ourselves, with our gifts and talents, and to serve God with all our hearts. That is all that God wants from us. Yes, there are so many good things to do in this life, to change the world. But you are not responsible for doing everything yourself. It is also a big mistake not to allow yourself any rest while living your dream.

David needed to learn how to relax. He needed to discover his own calling in life. He was called to be the king of Israel, who honoured God by his obedience. It would fall on Solomon’s shoulders to build a temple on Mount Zion.

The biggest problem in the church these days would then not be people trying to do too much for the Lord. Many believers might go the opposite route, by resting too much, and doing too little with their gifts. This song calls on us to keep on walking our path of life with the Lord.  On this journey we are called to serve God and our neighbour with our own unique gifts. We should do our best with what we received in the way of gifts and opportunities to serve. We also need to learn how to rest properly, to be more effective when we do work. We are not responsible to change the whole world. We are responsible to walk with God, obeying him in all we do.

Prayer: Father, thank you for creating me to be unique. Thank you for the gifts I have received to honour you, and to serve the church. Please open my eyes to all opportunities I may have to make a difference in this world. Fill me with the power of your Spirit, that I may boldly follow where you may lead me. Amen

Ek hoef nie alleen reg te kom op my reis nie - 21 September 2018

Ewald Schmidt

“’n Pelgrimslied. Van Dawid. Hoe goed, hoe mooi is dit as broers eensgesind saam woon! Dit is soos reukolie, wat van die kop af in die baard afloop, af tot by die soom van sy klere. Dit is soos die dou van Hermonberg wat op die berge by Sion val. Waar broers so saam woon, gee skenk die Here sy seën: ‘n lang, lang lewe.” Psalm 133:1-3

In hierdie kort pelgrimslied word ‘n groot waarheid verkondig: niemand is gemaak om alleen op die lewenspad te wandel nie. In die Ou Testamentiese tye het families oor verskeie geslagte heen saam op een familieplaas gewoon. Dit was nodig om saam te staan, saam te werk, en mekaar te beskerm teen aanvalle van vyandige magte. Mense het mekaar se ondersteuning en hulp nodig gehad om in daardie tye te oorleef.  Maar van Kain en Abel se dae af was dit nie vanselfsprekend dat familie noodwendig goed met mekaar oor die weg kom nie. Van vroeg in die mensdom se geskiedenis af kan broers mekaar se vyande wees. Dit moet baie erg wees om nie jou broer te vertrou nie!

Wanneer broers egter in vrede saam woon, is hulle in staat om soveel meer te bereik deur samewerking. Prediker 4: 9 het hierdie wysheid verkondig: “twee vaar beter as een. Hulle inspanning kom tot iets. As die een val, kan die ander hom ophelp.”  Waar dit moeilik raak om met broers saam te leef, is wanneer iemand se sondige natuur in die pad staan van goeie verhoudings. Selfsug en jaloesie vernietig verhoudings. Maar wanneer broers mekaar dien, en saam werk, is hulle tot soveel meer in staat. Hierdie wysheid is verseker waar vir ons lewensreis:  ‘n familie wat omgee vir mekaar en saam staan, kan soveel meer bereik. Dit is ook waar van ons geestelike broers en susters. Ons is ook nie gemaak om op ons geestelike reis alleen reg te kom nie. Die Here het elkeen van ons toegerus met verskillende genadegawes, om mekaar te dien. Saam is ons die Liggaam van Christus, saam is ons tot soveel meer in staat as elkeen op ons eie. Gelowige mense wat saam werk, getuig van die seën van die Here.

Dit is mooi om te sien. Dawid gebruik twee beelde om te sê hoe heilig en mooi eensgesindheid is. Dit is soos die salwingsolie wat oor die pragtige kleed van die Hoëpriester loop. Dit is so verfrissend soos die dou van die Hermonberg. In ons dag sou ons dalk ander beelde kon gebruik om dit te beskryf, die betekenis is egter: eensgesindheid bring die Here se seën mee. Ons is tot soveel meer in staat wanneer ons saam werk, en mekaar help om suksesvol ons lewensreis aan te pak. Niemand is gemaak om alleen reg te kom nie.

Gebed: Here, dankie dat ek nie alleen my weg hoef te vind op my lewensreis nie. Dankie vir geestelike broers en susters wat saam met my op weg is. Dankie vir my familie, Here. Versterk ons familiebande om te getuig van u helpende hand. Gee my die wysheid en die krag dat ek ook saam met ander kan werk, om hulle te dien en hulle te help om hulle doelwitte in die lewe te bereik. Gee ons eensgesindheid in ons families, en in ons gemeentes, tot u eer! Amen

Op my lewensreis het die Here vir my ‘n unieke roeping - 20 September 2018

Ewald Schmidt

“‘n Pelgrimslied. Dink tog aan Dawid, Here, aan alles wat hy deurgemaak het, aan die eed wat hy teenoor die Here afgelê het, sy eed aan die magtige God van Jakob: Ek sal nie in my slaapkamer ingaan nie en nie op die bed wat vir my reggemaak is, gaan lê nie, ek sal my geen rus gun nie, en sal nie eens insluimer nie, totdat ek vir die Here ‘n plek gereed gemaak het het, ‘n woning vir die magtige God van Jakob!” Psalm 132:1-5

Elkeen van ons stap ‘n unieke pad saam met die Here deur ons lewe. Ons kan op hierdie lewenspad soms groot drome droom oor wat ons graag vir die Here wil doen. Hierdie lied vertel van Dawid se groot ambisie: Hy wou die Here eer deur vir Hom ‘n groot en indrukwekkende tempel te bou. Dawid wou dit so graag doen, en homself geen rus gun voor daardie droom waar word nie. Dit klink na so ‘n goeie plan, hoe sou dit dan tog teen die wil van die Here kon wees?

Maar die Here het anders vir Dawid beplan. Een van Dawid se nakomelinge sou die tempel later bou. Dit was vir die Here genoeg dat Dawid sy kind was, en die Here sou Dawid se nageslag laat heers- sy kroon sou deur die eeue heen bly skitter. Hierdie belofte sou waar word toe ons Here Jesus uit die nageslag van Dawid gebore is. Sy koningskap hou vir altyd.

Maar wat wil hierdie pelgrimslied dan vir ons leer? Die heel belangrikste ding is dat die Here ‘n wonderlike plan vir elkeen van ons se lewens het. Ons word geroep om onsself te wees, en met on vermoëns, gawes en talente die Here te dien. Dis wat die Here van ons vra.  Daar is so baie wonderlike dinge om te doen vir die Here in hierdie wêreld. Nie een van ons hoef al die wonderlike dinge alleen aan te pak nie. Dit is ‘n fout om jouself nie eers rus te gun om jou droom na te jaag wat jy vir die Here wil doen nie.

Dawid moes leer om te ontspan. Hy moes getrou bly aan sy eie roeping, deur ‘n goeie koning vir Israel te wees, wat die Here eer deur sy gehoorsaamheid. Dit sou Salomo se roeping wees om die tempel op Sionsberg te bou.

Ons fouteer dalk makliker na die ander kant toe. Baie gelowiges wil net bly rus en niks doen met hulle gawes nie. Hierdie lied vir die lewenspad moedig ons aan: stap saam met die Here jou pad. Vertrou op Hom om vir jou te wys hoe jy Hom kan eer. Doen jou bes om jou gawes nuttig te gebruik in diens van die Here, en jou naaste. Ontspan in die wete dat jy nie alleen verantwoordelik staan om die wêreld te verander nie. Doen jou deel met groot verantwoordelikheid.

Gebed: Here, baie dankie dat U ‘n baie spesiale roeping vir my lewe het. U het vir my ‘n unieke stel genadegawes gegee om U en my naaste mee te dien. Wys vir my wat ek kan doen om U te eer. Vul my met die krag van u Gees om met blydskap gehoorsaam te volg waar U my lei. Amen

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