In case you missed the message this weekend, or in case you’d like to revisit the highlights, we’ve posted the notes below. The story from Benjamin Zander in the fourth point is a great illustration of the way we should live…as “one-buttock Christians!”
A New Attitude – Toward Family; Romans 12:9-13
Question: How are members of God’s forever family to relate to one another?
First, we reject evil but not people, v. 9.
Second, we remember that relationships are our ground of concern, v. 10.
Third, we regard others as more deserving than ourselves, v. 10.
“More often than not, trouble erupts in the fellowship because people are offended when they perceive, rightly or wrongly, that their positions have been usurped or their personhood has been slighted. The insistence on position and rights rather than privilege and responsibility is the seedbed in which a variegated crop of evil flourishes.” Stuart Briscoe
Fourth, we retain enthusiasm despite setbacks, v. 11.
Benjamin Zander wrote a great book that he titled The Art of Possibility. At the time, Zander was conductor of the Boston Philharmonic and a professor at New England Conservatory of Music. He wrote as a musician, not surprisingly, but in doing so, he also masterfully blended the world of music with everyday life. In a chapter on passion, he included the story of a particular student who played Chopin perfectly, but without an essential quality that makes a performance great.
“A young pianist was playing a Chopin prelude in my master’s class and although we had worked right up to the edge of realizing an overarching concept of the piece, his performance remained earthbound. He understood it intellectually, he could have explained it to someone else, but he was unable to convey the emotional energy that is the true language of music. Then I noticed something that proved to be the key: His body was firmly centered in the upright position. I blurted out, ‘The trouble is you’re a two-buttock player!’ I encouraged him to allow his whole body to flow sideways, urging him to catch the wave of the music with the shape of his own body, and suddenly the music took flight. Several in the audience gasped, feeing the emotional dart hit home, as a new distinction was born: a one-buttock player. The president of a corporation in Ohio, who was present as a witness, wrote to me: ‘I was so moved that I went home and transformed my whole company into a one-buttock company.’”
What a great goal for believers, to become one-buttock Christians! People would come from everywhere to know the God we serve if we lived the truth we carry in our hearts with vibrant, enthusiastic passion. It’s time we started living out the truth of the gospel with the kind of boiling-over passion and zeal described in the words, ‘Not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit.’ If enough of us started doing that, we could watch as the world around us is transformed.
Fifth, we rejoice in hope by being patient in affliction, v. 12.
Charles Swindoll: “When people can hope together, remain relentlessly devoted to one another and to Christ, and talk to the Father on one another’s behalf, nothing can tear their community apart.”
Sixth, we respond to needs in direct and personal ways, v. 13.