By Robert Halsey Pine
St. Paul reminds us how our trials have a way of actually building us up: “Endure trials for the sake of discipline. God is treating you as children; for what child is there whom a parent does not discipline?…..Now, discipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:3-11 NRSV).
“I just can’t get around to it. I just can’t find a few minutes a day to set aside for the Lord. I am so busy. There are so many things going on in my life that I don’t have time to turn around. I’m having some difficulties at work. That has to come first. There are several things that I need to fix at my house. I do have to relax every now and then, you know. My hobbies and recreation are important to me. I’ve got to squeeze them in somehow.” Our list of reasons goes on and on when we make excuses for the lack of discipline in our lives when it comes to our relationship with the Lord.
St. Paul tells the Hebrews that Jesus endured many things so that we might “not grow weary or lose heart.” He reminds them that in their fight against sin that they have not personally shed any blood. Christ shed His own blood for us. We don’t listen to our Father. Like a caring parent He wants to discipline us for our own good. Look at the similarities in discipline and disciple. Webster tells us that a disciple is a person who receives instruction from another, a follower. To have discipline in the Lord is to be His disciple.
When I was a youngster, I always wanted to go and play at someone else’s house. I didn’t see anything interesting about hanging around my home with my parents and siblings. I didn’t see any reason for putting in time around the house. I avoided doing any chores whenever possible. I had no discipline. Whatever seemed fun was the direction that I would go. I missed some good times with my parents and my brother and sister. I certainly didn’t want to be seen having a good time with them. One morning, my younger brother came to me and wanted to play. I sort of brushed him off so he said so long and ran out of the house. He ran into the street and was hit by an automobile. Fortunately, his most serious injury was a broken collarbone.
My guilt was great. If only I had taken some time with him. It was because he loved and admired me, his older brother, that he wanted to spend time with me. The Lord should be my role model. I should love and admire Him in such a way that I want to spend as much time with Him as I can. If I had taken the time to be with my brother, he may not have come in harm’s way. I should have been more disciplined in being instructed by my family. My natural father had died a year earlier, and that made it all the worse for me. I should have taken a larger role in the family. God our Father is always ready to receive us. His love is always available to us. He wants to play with us, His children.
Robert Halsey Pine was born at Newark, Ohio in 1943. He is a graduate of Northeastern University and completed the program of Theological Education by Extension: Education for Ministry, School of Theology, the University of the South.