The Church Picnic, Jeremiah 29:11, and the Dash

At church today, we had our annual church picnic.  We went to a park, had a church service there, and then ate, fellowshipped, and did a water-balloon toss.  My partner for the water-balloon toss and I did better this year than we did last year.  Last year, I threw the water-balloon over her head, since I had a hard time determining how hard I needed to throw it so it could reach her.  This year, we didn’t have that problem.  Our water-balloon was leaking, though, which was odd, but we were still tossing it back and forth.  Eventually, we lost.  But it was still fun!

During the church service, the pastor talked about vocation.  The pastor quoted Jeremiah 29:11, which states (in the KJV): “ For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”  Not long back, a blogger was criticizing how many evangelicals like to use this verse to encourage people that God has a plan for their life—-a plan that is good.  This blogger was saying that the passage was about the Jews in exile, not every single Christian on the planet, or anyone else.  Granted, I think that the notion that God has a good plan for everyone’s life can be legitimately questioned.  But I also question that blogger’s criticism of how evangelicals apply Jeremiah 29:11.  So it was for Israel.  Does it therefore contain nothing of relevance to others?  If so, aren’t we severely restricting the applicability of Scripture?  I don’t know.  One could perhaps argue that there are in Scripture laws, rules, and concepts that the authors believed applied to everyone.  But what exactly can Christians get out of God’s covenant relationship with Israel?  Is that not relevant to Christians, since the covenant was with Israel?

The pastor also read from the book The Dash: Making a Difference with Your Life from Beginning to End.  The dash is the dash between our birth-date and our death-date.  The book’s point was that we should make the most of that dash—-the time in between.  We should reflect on the difference we made as well as love others.  I don’t particularly like asking myself what people will say about me after I die.  That’s a lot of pressure!  I do hope to make some difference, through my blogging.  But, because I’m shy and introverted, I’m not exactly going to be remembered as the encouraging, bubbly personality people enjoyed being around.  Maybe I’ll be remembered for other qualities, though.  And yet, it’s easy to become isolated in this world.  I can understand why some may feel that they wouldn’t be remembered after their death.

I did appreciate, however, the story in the book about the executive who was flying in on a jet.  His daughters were looking forward to seeing him, but he ignored them when he got off the jet.  I like the lesson of taking the opportunity to show people love when one still can.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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