There is a Christmas story that we all like to hold in our imagination. That story has a miraculous event, a donkey trip, a star, an angel choir and gifts on the hay. This story is true and should be recounted at this time of year. As Men of Integrity, I would like to look at a different side of the story, this season. The story that I am suggesting has the same cast, but the light that is cast on them is more like real light and not that unnatural fluorescent glow and buzz. I see a young couple in trouble. A good girl from a good family pregnant months before her wedding. A young man learning a trade and poised for success wrestling with a question too weighty for his young heart. I see too, a couple in the golden years of life, settled and patterned. A husband and wife who through many years have become one in life and in service to God.
The parties to this story could not be more different. But, the Lord had called each to be a part of His drama. The older man, Zacharias, is given a declaration and an answer to prayer. He and his wife would have a child and that child would be mighty in the hand of God. The thought of this thing was too much; for he was, after all, old and his wife was old as well! Real life has a way of shrinking our vision. The young man, Joseph, did not have an easier part. It says in the Gospel that Mary was found to be with child. Think about that. His fiancée was pregnant and he knew that he was not the father. This is no easy thing, after all there was Mary to think about and friends and family and his reputation. The wedding just could not go on. Who can he talk to and who can he counsel with? God knows.
So the cast is set and the curtain goes up. You know the unfolding of the plot and each player's immortal performance. The young man thinks on these things and counsels with the Wonderful Counselor and has his fear subdued. The old man holds fast to the message from God and promise is delivered and so is he. The earth is blessed with babies purposed for mankind's deliverance and restoration; but not till the plan went through an old man that knew it couldn't happen because...., and a young man that couldn't see how it could work out because......
What is my point in this rendition of the Christmas story? I am amazed and encouraged that God has a plan that includes the completeness of his creation. The Lord is not a respecter of persons. His vision is broad and expansive, his ability is unlimited and unhindered. He sees what man cannot see, including what man cannot see in himself. God makes His choice to use, not based on our ability to perform but rather to trust and obey.
The common thread in the lives of these two men was that they were just men who were Just Men. The common man is just what God is looking for to take on an uncommon assignment. Are you there now? Do the circumstances that you face seem unbeatable based on YOUR life's experience? Are you faced with situations and dilemmas that seem to grow in complexity and even troubles? Guess what? You and I are no different than John's dad or Jesus' step-dad. Being 'just men' makes some things hard to understand and workout, but being 'Just Men' gives you advantage and opportunity. God knows the part that He has given you ( the steps of a Just Man are ordered of the Lord) and it is His part to come along side in our time of need. To bring the Word that sorts everything out, or to strengthen our hold on faith, knowing that the Lord is not slack concerning His promises. Be encouraged Man of Integrity for God is looking to show Himself strong in your life.
Your Servant, Bro. Jim Olson
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