12 And Amaziah said to Amos, “O seer, go, flee away to the land of Judah, earn your bread there, and prophesy there; 13 but never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king’s sanctuary, and it is a temple of the kingdom.”
14 Then Amos answered Amaziah, “I am no prophet, nor a prophet’s son; but I am a herdsman, and a dresser of sycamore trees, 15 and the Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said to me,

‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’
-Amos 7:12-15-

The need to belong is powerful indeed. Without belonging, we die-in fact we do not come into existence, or should I say, “we will never come into existence.” To live is to be attached, to belong. We are often told not to be navel-gazers-it is too narcissistic. True enough. But there is a lesson to be learned even from this. We are reminded that life is a connection as well as separation. Here is the paradox of life: “WE DIE IN ORDER TO LIVE.” This balanced view of life is crucial for gratitude and interdependence. We come into existence because of others. We are continually dependent, and hence must be grateful. At the same time there must be a breaking away, a cutting of the cord so that we can grow into an independent-dependent adult. We must help others to live and belong to grow, so that they can exist as free (interdependent) beings.

At times the need to belong comes in sharp conflict with our conscience. We must stand for something, so as not to fall for everything. And when we stand for something, our “FRIENDS” (or even our family) may choose to be with us no more. We must go alone. In “fear and trembling” we follow the truth. At times we must be true to ourselves even at the cost of losing “friends,” and the most painful part as Jesus articulated in His call to discipleship, “our family.”

The prophet Amos feels the tension which comes from speaking God’s word and coming under attack. Amos is not a professional prophet. He is a simple shepherd whom God calls to challenge the rich and self-satisfied Northern Kingdom (Israel). Amos, a native of Judah (the Southern Kingdom), is considered an outsider, an agitator against the mighty Jeroboam II (786-746 B.C.). Amaziah, the court theologian and priest, turns against Amos. He accuses the prophet of tailoring his message for gain. However, Amos does not back down. He is God’s man sent to proclaim God’s word. Amos is on the outside as far as the power elites are concerned. However, he belongs to the Lord and that is his strength.

It is a simple fact that being a faithful Christian often means that we find ourselves not belonging or fit-ting in. The words from l Ephesians remind us that to be a Christian is to belong to God.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 just as he chose us in Christ before the founda-tion of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. 5 He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:3-6)
We belong to the Lord Jesus, who gives our life its meaning and truth. We cannot give our allegiance to two masters. We cannot ultimately belong to the world and still claim to be a follower or a disciple of Jesus. WE MUST CHOOSE.

As disciples of Jesus, as one belonging to Jesus, in trusting God’s Divine Providence. As disciples, we must be bold and trusting in word and deed. Our mission and purpose will require us great boldness and confidence in God. At times, this will not allow us to just be a spectator. WE MUST BE FAITHFUL….

We are to proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God. We are to prayerfully proclaim God’s word in season and out, whether accepted or rejected. We must live the words we speak. Our inspired boldness gives us mission authenticity and invites others to follow Jesus. God wants everyone to belong to Him.

Pastor Gideon

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