Herald Journal Columns
July 19, 2004 Herald Journal
Pastor's Column

Touching the dirt

By Rev. Lyndon Korhonen, Good Shepherd Free Lutheran Church, Cokato

I was at my father-in-law’s home in northwestern Minnesota cutting some mature poplar. I had felled a tree, limbed it, and now, I was cutting it up into 100-inch lengths.

With it laying on the ground, I was trying to make the last part of the cut near the ground. You who cut trees know how tempting it is to try and cut through without getting a limb under the tree to hold it off the ground, for if that chain touches the dirt, it will lose its sharp cutting edge, just like that.

Well, once again, I thought I could keep the blade from touching the dirt as I went through the tree, but, once again, I saw the tell-tale signs of dirt in the sawdust pile and kicked myself for that foolish move. Now, I needed to pull out the file and take five minutes to put the edge back on the saw.

Dirt is to a sharp chain what sin is to the believer’s conscience. It dulls the conscience real quick.

Each time we refuse to obey the prompting of the Holy Spirit and leave sin alone, we dull our conscience and need to be resharpened by God’s forgiveness.

Hebrews 10:22 says, “Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience, and having our bodies washed with pure water.”

Thank God there is no limit to how many times we can go to Him for resharpening. The blood of Christ has been shed for sinners for that very purpose.

Next time you are cutting wood, take time to get something under the log to keep that chain sharp. Furthermore, when the Holy Spirit prompts you not to buy something, or not to look, listen to His voice and let Him sharpen that conscience.

I believe the more we listen to those promptings, the more God will guide us in the little details of life.

One of the most popular Christian books on the market today is "The Purpose Driven Life."

In the first two chapters of Genesis, scripture gives us the four main purposes for mankind. Our purpose is closely associated with a very important aspect ­ our very reason for living.

The first major purpose projected in Genesis is simply fellowship with God. Man's creation began with a spoken word, and God hasn't stopped speaking.

At the heart of God is His desire to fellowship with His most precious creation ­ us. God's presence in the garden was a constant with man, and that principle will never change.

In fact, Satan's primary emphasis is severing that relationship of man with God. He does this by separating the word of God over our lives from its reality in our lives. Through deception we are enticed to leave behind God's presence of word and spirit. We then succumb to living a life through mere intellect and emotion rather than spirit to spirit as God intended.

The fellowship man had with God initiated our second major purpose in life.

God spoke to man and assigned him the task of cultivating the garden. He was placed in the garden to tend and care for it. Adam began naming the animals while God was right there with him. It was the place God had put him. It was the duty God appointed for him.

We all have places and activities designed for us. Sometimes they change, but we'll always have a garden to cultivate. Certainly our workplace, school, and family are applicable.

But, the real beginning point to watch over and nurture is the soil of our own heart. The Bible says that out of the heart will flow the issues of life.

Thirdly, God purposed man to rule over the earth. This was for the mutual benefit of both. God's provisional word for man in the garden contained only one do not ­ do not partake of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Man, again, was to take dominion through fellowship with God. Obey his directives and rulership would be a cinch. The perversion (wars, pollution, poverty, etc.) we see in man's rulership position over the earth is a direct result of relationship interferance.

Our "in touch" relationship with God has waned and man acts on his "better idea."

Lastly, man was made and mandated to be fruitful and multiply. Jesus expressly states that His disciples/followers would be known by the fruit they exhibited. One of these prominent fruits is love. Passionate, unconditional, unfailing love.

First, a love for God, which develops through constant fellowship. Second, a love for mankind. Remember God did state that it was not good for man to be alone. He would be complete only through relationships with others, as well as God.

This also is the primary essence to multiplying. A command to make disciples of all nations by way of people and God intimacy. By keeping these major purposes before us we can better understand that which God has specifically called us to in our mission in life.

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