Across the Pastor’s Desk: Living a life of godliness today

Published 8:00 pm Friday, June 21, 2024

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Across the Pastor’s Desk by Nancy Overgaard

After moving into a newly refurbished church parsonage, I was bothered by one thing: the guest bathroom had not been included. Aging wallpaper was peeling and the color and pattern did not fit with the rest of the house. So I decided to change it.

Nancy Overgaard

When I found rolls of beautiful, rose patterned wallpaper on clearance, I bought it. Never having wallpapered, I worked carefully to align the first roll with the corner of the wall. To my surprise, when I reached the end of the short wall, the wallpaper was running crooked.

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Experienced wall paperers will know immediately what I did wrong. When I went back and read the directions, I learned I should have aligned the paper, not with the crooked corner of the wall, but with a plumbline that is straight and true.

In Amos 7:8, we read that people, living during the time of the prophet Amos, had made a similar, yet far more costly mistake. They had aligned their lives with the crooked corners of the culture around them instead of with the straight and true plumbline of the Word of God. As a result, their lives had become further and further out of line with God’s Word and God’s ways.

Likewise, if we align our lives with the crooked corners of our culture, our lives will become increasingly out of alignment. The only way to straighten our lives back out is to realign them with the Word of God. Thankfully, God gives us opportunity and helps to do so if we ask.

In my last column I wrote that, if asked to speak at a college graduation, I would choose I Timothy 6:6a, NIV, as my text: “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” In that column, I focused on contentment, but I would focus equally on godliness. In a world where we live surrounded by people who choose not to live godly lives, young people need to know there is great blessing in living a godly life, a life aligned with God and his Word. Earlier in his letter, the apostle Paul urged young Timothy to train himself to be godly (4:7-8) because godliness is valuable and beneficial in every way, both for the present life and the life to come.

In Psalm 112, the psalmist lists benefits of living a life honoring to God and aligned with his Word.

“Blessed is the one who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in his commands. Even in darkness, light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous person.

Good will come to the one who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice. Surely, he will never be shaken. He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is secure; he will have no fear.” — Psalm 112:1,4-6a, 7-8, NIV

For years, I wondered what Jesus meant in Luke 7:35, NASB, when he said, “Wisdom is vindicated by all her children.” The New Living Translation explains: “Wisdom is shown to be right by the lives of those who follow it.” When we live according to the wisdom revealed in God’s Word, the outcome of our lives and actions will confirm that it was the wisest way to live.

Nancy Overgaard is a member of the Freeborn County Ministerial Association.