Pastor Brian Gilroy,
High Prairie Church of the Nazarene
Into each of our lives comes defining moments.
This week, in the town of High Prairie, we will crown a new Elks Pro Rodeo Queen.
This week, we will see young men and women compete for a variety of rodeo titles and cash prizes.
This week, you and I will continue to build a legacy that will be remembered long after we are gone.
I once saw a Billy Graham movie called The Ride. It was about a down and out former rodeo champion who learned what was really important in life from a boy who was living with an incurable disease and an incredible passion for life.
His passion was twofold – a passion for his relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ, and a passion for rodeo. His one dream was to ride a bull in a rodeo. This cowboy’s job was to teach him to ride the bull.
I will always remember his catch phrase. “It is not the amount of time you stay on the bull, it is what you do while you are there.”
You and I are not guaranteed a certain period of time on this earth and so it is not the time we spend on earth that will define us but what we do with what we have.
The Bible instructs us in Ephesians, Chapter 4:31,32 to: “31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Far too often, we are guilty of living a lie. Many people are filled with bitterness, rage and anger. These dangerous attitudes infect their lives and determine their decisions.
These individuals are not always the ones in the newspaper but quite often are good living and well-respected people. However, their attitudes can be as damaging to our lives and community.
Harbouring bitterness, rage and anger is never healthy for an individual or a community. These attitudes often affect our decisions and poison relationships. These attitudes often shape the attitudes of our sons, daughters and our community.
Gossip, which by its very nature is meant to inflict harm, is just another form of bitterness that we as individuals and as a community can do without.
So, who are you trying to please during your ride, the crowd or the true rodeo judge? The crowd can hoot and holler and spur you on, but they are not the ones to eventually grade your ride in life. Too often, we live to please the wrong people.
This is not what God desires from you and me. He says to get rid of these attitudes and replace them in Ephesians 4:32: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
The Lord’s Prayer can be recited by many people but often we do not listen to what we are asking God.
“Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.”
You are asking God to treat you the way you treat others. So, if you will not forgive, then you are asking God for the same treatment.
We are called to forgive because Jesus Christ died that you and I would be forgiven.
The choice is clear. Get rid of the bitterness, rage and anger that may define your life and replace it with forgiveness and compassion.
How will people remember your ride?