Saturday, April 09, 2011

Convo with Pastor - 1 Samuel 2:12-14

Now the sons of Eli were scoundrels;
they had no regard for the Lord
or for the duties of the priests to the people.
When anyone offered sacrifice, the priest's servant
would come, while the meat was boiling,
with a three-pronged fork in his hand,
and he would thrust it into
the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot;
all that the fork brought up
the priest would take for himself.
1 Samuel 2:12-14
Tomorrow we're going to hear the story of the calling of Israel's next prophet -- Samuel. Soon Samuel would stand in the gap between Israel's line of Judges (of which Samuel's mentor, Eli, was the last) and Israel's line of Kings (of which Saul was the first). Today, however, we hear the story of why there was a job opening in Israel.
Indeed, this is the story of the three-pronged fork.
First, imagine a father running the family business. What's a father's natural goal as he ages? To pass the business along to his sons! In this case, Eli's family business was "running" the nation of Israel. Naturally he would have like to pass the "business" along to his sons. But his sons were "scoundrels" with "three pronged forks."
Second, the family business was the priesthood. In God's generous commands, our Lord devised a generous way to take care of the priests who were to devote their lives to him. When people gave offerings -- think sweet smelling barbeque as a fragrant sacrifice to the Lord -- certain parts of the meat were to be a tasty payment for the priest's service. But Eli's sons were "scoundrels" with "three pronged forks."
I would bet that a three pronged fork was sign of prosperity. In a poor and ancient culture, possessions were few and metals were fewer. But think about it ... how many times is it that it's actually the very things that are blessings (power and possessions) that actually trip us up? Think of the story of the rich young ruler who asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life (Mt 19:21). Jesus said, "Go, sell all you have (abandon your possessions), leave your home (leave your seat of power), and follow me."
What is your three-pronged fork? What's the thing that you find hard to leave behind in order to follow God more fully and discover His treasure in heaven?
In Christ's Love,
a guy who used to have three-pronged silverware,
but our current flatware has four prongs
(Does that mean I'm free from temptation?)
My three-pronged fork ... the thing that I find hard to leave behind? Sadly - it is my past. The pain of it has been so much a part of me that letting it go feels like something is missing.  I know the missing hole will be filled eventually, but letting go even of the pain is so hard. It doesn't always have to be possessions that hold us down.

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Speak gently. carefully. thoughtfully. graciously. humbly.

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