Out of Order

It doesn’t make sense…not at first.

It is the opposite of what the world would have us believe.

“The last shall be first, and the first shall be last.”

It’s all – seemingly – out of order.

Our world would have us believe that only the tough, the powerful, the rich, the confident, the well-connected “have what it takes” to live full, meaningful lives.

But Jesus, on his way to Jerusalem to fully establish a different kind of kingdom, a kingdom “not of this world” encouraged his followers to choose a different – a totally different – path.

We are called to live by a completely different set of values – values which show that we are willing to set our wills aside – just like our Lord.  “Not my will, but thine, be done.”

The world may well call you foolish, a dreamer, for doing so.

Yet, in the end, you will find what many have found – those who try to save their lives lose them.  Those who give their lives away – as servant leaders – find the life that is beyond all imagining.

It doesn’t make sense…not at first.

It is, though, the way – the narrow, straight way – to life eternal.  It is the way of Jesus.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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