You’ve done it, too, haven’t you? Left the coffee pot on when you left the house? You didn’t witness the last cup become sludge and then bake into a thin black splotch at the bottom of the coffee pot, but the smell of baked caffeine hit you the minute you walked into the house.
Splotches are what’s left when everything else burns off. My last episode with a coffee pot splotch got me to thinking what would be left if everything else in my life was burned off. Well, I don’t know what I would find, but Scripture tells me what I should find. After 40 years of boiling the teachings of Scripture down, I think it could be summarized in three words: faith, friends, and fruit.
Faith. God has always looked for the splotch of faith in His people. Faith is simply this – a deep trust in a trustworthy object. As an apprentice of Jesus, it should be my passion to know God fully and to trust Him deeply. It is not an accident that those who knew God best trusted him the most. Nothing pleases God’s heart more than when He finds this growing trust in me, and not surprisingly, nothing grieves His heart more than when my faith has gone anemic or even AWOL.
Friends. Apparently, developing deep friendships is a bigger deal to God than it is to me. God said “It is not good that man (Tim) should be alone.” Yet, the way I live the majority of each day, I answer back, “Well, it’s not really all that bad, either.” I confess I treat relationships as electives when God has made them core requirements for happiness and wholeness. Jesus modeled this for me with the disciples whom He chose twelve men to be close friends with. Why did He choose them? “He chose twelve, that they might be with him and that He might send them forth to preach” (Mark 2:14). “That they might be with him” is friendship. “That he might send them out to preach” is mission. Who I know here on earth is as important as what I do with my life.
Fruit. Someone once asked me, “What’s the purpose of an apple?” I thought, “Now there’s a stupid question.” When I answered the obvious, “To be eaten,” the person smiled mischievously and said, “Wrong! The purpose of an apple is more trees.” Then holding up the apple, he said, “this apple is just the wrapper for the seeds in there.” I am ashamed to admit how much of my passions and energies go into the wrapper rather than the real thing. Sure, fruit includes the process of me growing in Christ-like character, but in many ways, my life is just the wrapper. Training up my children, reaching out with the Gospel to my neighbors, using my gifts to build God’s people, and equipping all of the aforementioned to do the same for others is the real purpose of my life. As Paul wrote to my New Testament namesake, Timothy, “The things you have heard from me…these entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim 2:2). More apple trees.
How about you? What would you find on your splotch if everything else in your life is burned off? Well, I don’t know what you would find, but Scripture tells you what you should find: faith, friends, and fruit. Are you experiencing a deepening faith in a faithful God, a growing intimacy with precious friends, and a widening legacy of faithful others into whose lives you have invested?
How about Calvary? Churches leave splotches, too. If we threw all Calvary’s people and all the ministries Calvary people do in our facility and community into a pot and boiled it all down to the basics of what really matters when all that doesn’t matter is burned off, what would we find? I am not sure what we would find, but I know what we should find: Faith, friends, and fruit. May God find us faithful to invest ourselves in the things that really matter.