Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Righteousness

Dretha Burris gave me permission to use this email she wrote. It sure made an impact on me. She is a good story teller and quotes from a great book.

Romans 4:3- For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” (NKJV)

Romans 4:3 -What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." (NIV)

Romans 4:3 -For what does the scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” (NRSV)

A couple of weeks ago while I was "channel surfing", waiting for my daughter to get home after being out with her friends, I flipped by an old movie called "Mr. Holland's Opus." When the movie first came out, many teachers enjoyed watching the film. Some campuses showed it to their faculties because it described a teacher's impact across generations and over time. The ultimate gift for this teacher's forced retirement due to budget cuts was when his students put his dream to music and played a composition he had written, an opus. He was touched to the core by their recognition of his impact on their lives and their very special thank you gift.

In the school business, spring is the season when people decide to retire. There are more than a dozen retirement parties in our district scheduled within a 2-week window. Whew! So many life changing decisions...

One of the retirement celebrations I attended included folks sharing stories about how the retiree had touched their lives. The students, parents, and school officials present described the legacy of a wonderful educator - band director, Marcia Zoffuto. She truly deserved the accolades. The stories that were shared, however, were not about lessons learned regarding skills and knowledge, but about life lessons that Ms. Zoffuto taught her students - the goal is worth the work, perseverance is required to reach the goal, "we" and "us" require all the "I"'s to be united, perfection requires a price, achievement requires commitment, etc. The description of the lessons truly described a legacy.

This passage in Romans, originally found in Genesis 15:6, describes a lesson we can learn from Abraham's life. We know that Abraham accomplished many great things in his life:
- he faithfully followed God's directions to leave his home place and head for new territory
- he faithfully held on to the promise that he would father many nations
- he tried to save his nephew, Lot, and Lot's family from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah
- he placed the son of God's promise, Isaac, on the altar and was about to kill him per God's instructions when an angel stopped him
- he paid God a tithe, a tenth, of all his increase, and he was very, very wealthy
- his life, although not sin free, was one that pleased God

Nothing in Abraham's life please God more than Abraham believing what God told him, despite what other people said, despite what the circumstantial evidence showed, despite normal human fears and doubts, despite the delay in God's delivery of His promise. Abraham believed God. God called Abraham's belief in God righteousness. God did not call any of Abraham's good deeds righteousness, only Abraham's faith in God. Abraham indeed became the father of many nations. We are among Abraham's descendants. Even better, we are heirs of the promise God made to Abraham. Abraham left us a legacy. His legacy is one of faith.

Remember the old Sunday School/Vacation Bible School song, "Father Abraham has many sons...."? My prayer for you today, my dear friends, is for you to learn from Abraham that the most important action, the most important achievement, the most important path we can follow is the one that is all about faith, about believing God. May your legacy for your family and friends be like Abraham's. May God be able to show your life to others and say, "I count my child's faith for righteousness because my child believed me."

Moving forward,

Jeff Roach
www.brooketraining.com

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