William Barclay has written about a group of soldiers during World War II who had lost a friend in battle and wanted to give their fallen comrade a decent burial. So, they found a church with a graveyard behind it, surrounded by a white fence. They found the parish priest and asked if their friend could be buried there in the church graveyard.
“Was he Catholic?” the priest inquired.
No, he wasn’t, answered the soldiers.
“I’m sorry, then,” said the priest. “Our graveyard is reserved for members of the holy church. But you can bury your friend outside the fence. I will see that the gravesite is cared for.”
“Thank you, Father,” said the soldiers, and they proceeded to bury their friend just outside the graveyard on the other side of the fence.
When the war had finally ended, before the soldiers returned home, they decided to visit the gravesite of their friend. They remembered the location of the church—and the grave, just outside the fence. They searched for it but couldn’t find it. Finally, they went to the priest to inquire as to its location.
“Sir, we cannot find our friend’s grave,” said the soldiers to the priest.
“Well,” answered the priest. “After you buried your fallen friend, it just didn’t seem right to me that he should be buried there, outside the fence.”
“So, you moved his grave?” asked the soldiers.
“No,” said the priest. “I moved the fence.”
He moved the fence! Reminds me of what God has done for us. Because of our sin…we don’t deserve a place “inside the fence.” We don’t deserve to be forgiven or to go to heaven when we die. But God has graciously moved the fence. It’s a great illustration of the law and the gospel. The law “shows us our sins” Our thoughts, words, and deeds that are contrary to God’s will. The results (the wages) of those sins is death…separation from God. You are on the “outside of the fence” so to speak.
But the good news is found in the gospel. It “shows our Savior”. The good news of our salvation. The fact that God gives us forgiveness, faith, life, and peace. He sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us so that we could be included in his forever family. He moved the fence that separated us from Him.
Romans 5:1-2 (NIV)… Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.
I like the (MSG) version of that verse…By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide-open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.
There is great joy knowing that God Loves and forgives you…and has a place for you in His heavenly kingdom…but now what? Well…God has big plans for you!
Are you ready to make a difference for the Lord?
Two men went fishing, one was an experienced fisherman, the other wasn’t.
Every time the experienced fisherman caught a big fish, he put it in his ice chest to keep it fresh.
Whenever the inexperienced fisherman caught a big fish, he threw it back.
The experienced fisherman watched this go on all day and finally got tired of seeing the man waste good fish. “Why do you keep throwing back all the big fish you catch?” he asked.
The inexperienced fisherman replied, “I only have a small frying pan.”
Sometimes, like the fisherman, we throwback big plans, big dreams, and big opportunities that God has given us! We laugh at the fisherman who didn’t figure out that he needed to get a bigger frying pan…and yet we try to avoid listening to God when He calls us to step out with big faith. I want to remind you that God will never give you anything bigger than you can handle (with and thru Him).
Philippians 4:13…I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
So….Here is what I want you to do:
- Confess your sinfulness to God. Ask for forgiveness. Repent, turn away, and avoid the sinful distractions that have your name on them.
- Thank God for His forgiveness…for moving the fence for you. Focus on what it cost Him for your salvation.
- Ask God what he wants you to accomplish. Ask Him to give you more faith…to give you a “bigger frying pan” so to speak. Trust that God can and will do great things through you.