Tired of the Heat?
Tired of the heat? Tired of talking about the heat? Then don’t read any further because I am going to talk about the heat. I’m compelled to as it follows me wherever I go. I just returned from fifteen days of traveling and speaking. It started in Lubbock, Texas, and the Texas District (LCMS) convention. Okay, you should expect some heat in Texas. Lubbock did not disappoint—104. But relief would surely come as I headed to Northwest Iowa for the Iowa District West (LCMS) convention. The relief measured only four degrees—100.
I held out little hope as I headed back south to St. Louis for the American Association of Lutheran Churches’ convention and an end-of-life seminar in Florissant, Missouri. This was the high point of my trips—108! Michigan, where I gave a seminar on “Time to Speak” and preached at St. Peter Lutheran
Church in East Pointe, would certainly offer relief. It’s always cold there. Wrong—98. But ten degrees is ten degrees. Perhaps it marked a downward trend. Not so. Maryville, Missouri, for the Higher Things youth conference—101.
Tired of the heat? Well, not so fast. It beats being lukewarm. “So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth” (Jesus in Revelation 3:16). Not the most comforting of the “3:16” passages! Interpretations of Jesus’ words here vary because He does wish us to be either hot or cold in verse 15. So the contrast appears to be between two positives. The word for “cold” here appears only one other place, Matthew 10:42, as a positive reference to a “cup of cold water.” “Cold” may also mean the “coldness” of unbelief, which doesn’t seem too positive but at least there would be no resistance to the working of the Holy Spirit at it appears the “lukewarm” Laodiceans are doing in their self-sufficiency. “For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing …” (17a). “Heat” (Greek zestos) on the other hand is associated with being “zealous” in a positive sense. So go for the zestos!
This kind of “heat” followed me as well on my travels—a zeal, a zestos For Life! The Texas District delegates welcomed with zestos Jean Amundson as I introduced her as the Regional Director of our Renewal For Life® initiative in Texas. Jean is the first of what we pray will be many such directors across the country helping “equip Lutherans to be Gospel-motivated voices For Life” by assisting congregations to establish and train Life Teams to help make ministry in the life arena part of their ongoing Gospel outreach.
The AALC convention, where LFL has been asked to greet each year, expressed their growing zestos For Life by asking me to be one of their keynote speakers this year. LFL was honored to be part of their twenty-fifth anniversary celebration. A large crowd showed a zestos for The Other End of Life presentation in Florissant, Missouri. End-of-life issues not only occupy the minds of the infirm or elderly but of those who care for them. LFL’s Gospel-centered approach was very much appreciated.
A good number of “old time” LFLers and others who already have a good zestos For Life, came to be encouraged in the task and joy of “speaking” the message of life in both word and deed at the Time to Speak presentation in East Pointe, Michigan. The next day in church, zestos For Life was affirmed in comments following worship services and during the Bible study hour.
Gather 800 Lutheran young people together in one place and you will find plenty of zestos! The Higher Things participants also showed a zestos For Life. The young people who stopped by the LFL display and who attended our sectionals on stem cell research, exhibited an informed interest in this and other life related topics. They asked good questions and gave good answers to my questions of them. As always, their zestos fired me up!
While we may be trying to avoid the heat of these early summer days, we should be seeking the heat, zestos, when it comes to the zeal of sharing the message of salvation in Christ and the connection of this Gospel message to the life issues. Of course, “should be seeking” does not provide the proper motivation for doing so. True motivation comes from another “heat source.” It comes from the One who provides “gold refined by fire” that we might be truly rich and “white garments” to cover our shame and “salve” for our eyes so that we might see (Revelation 3:17). Zestos For Life flows from the source of life and new life. “Gospel-motivated voices” are truly zestos voices For Life.