Happy God. Happy People.
January 30, 2020 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Many of us have had the unfortunate experience of living in a home where two family members are in conflict. Sometimes these conflicts are minor and get resolved within a timely manner. Other times, these conflicts are deep and may even cause permanent rifts in the family. Either way, it is uncomfortable for the whole family to endure such conflict.
I remember one such conflict between my mother and father while we were on vacation. We were camping in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. I was only six or seven years old, so I was not aware of why my mom and dad were upset with one another. The tension was thick, and when you share a small space together while camping, it was hard to avoid. My dad ended up taking my brothers and me on a day trip to explore the Smokey Mountain National Park. My mom stayed back at the camper. I did not enjoy that day. I couldn’t help but think about my mom missing out of this experience. I also wondered whether my dad and mom would resolve whatever issue that was pushing them apart. Thankfully, within a day or two, my parents reconciled, and we retraced our trip in the Smokey Mountains with my mom along.
Peace in the family, especially among the leaders of the family, like mom and dad, is essential for the happiness of the family. If mom or dad are not happy, the family will suffer.
Apply that experience to the family of God. If the leaders of a church are in conflict, the whole church will suffer. Therefore, it is imperative for the leaders of a church to strive together for the “purity, peace, unity, and edification of the church.” I’m thankful to be a part of a church and denomination that calls on all of her leaders to make such a vow.
Think about this on a greater, more cosmic scale. What if the Chief Shepherd and Heavenly Father are not happy? How much more will the children suffer and be miserable? In fact, the children would be without hope because our redemption and promise of eternal life depend on the collaborative and willing work of the members of the Trinity. There is no gospel without a happy God. There is no gospel without peace and joy among the members of the Trinity.
Therefore, when we read the opening of John’s gospel, we are not hearing mere facts that should have no impact on us. We are hearing of the beautiful and glorious foundation of our salvation. John writes, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God” (1:1-2). Certainly, John is establishing the divinity (the “Godness”) of Jesus. Jesus is eternal. Jesus was with God at the creation. Jesus is equal with God. Jesus is God.
John, however, is also establishing the harmony of the Trinity. He says it twice, “Jesus was with God.” The normal Greek prepositions that are translated as “with” are syn or meta. John uses neither of those in these verses. He uses the preposition pros, which normally is translated as “to” or “toward.” Commentators believe that John uses this preposition in an uncommon manner to communicate the intimacy Jesus enjoyed with the Father. There is an idea of active pursuit between the Father and the Son. They have pursued each other in a delightful relationship for eternity.
Think of the implications of this truth for you and me as children in the family of God. Our Heavenly Father and our Chief Shepherd love each other. They delight in each other. They serve each other. They work together perfectly. Nothing frustrates them in each other. Happy leaders, happy family and home. Our security and joy are rooted in the incorruptible delight of the members of the Trinity. Now that is Good News!
The old adage says, “As goes the leadership, so goes the organization.” The church has broken, fallen human leaders to guide and shepherd her. But the church also has the perfectly happy Heavenly Father and Chief Shepherd. Now that’s a solid foundation to build upon.