Deniliquin Pastoral Times

On things above

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“Set your mind on things above, not on things that are on earth” Col 3:2.

Tragedy is never far from the news. War rages in Ukraine with reports of thousands of civilians being killed.

Recent floods have caused devastatio­n and loss of life in northern NSW and Queensland.

As a nation we have been saddened by the untimely deaths of public figures such as Senator Kimberly Kitching and cricketing greats, Rod Marsh and Shane Warne. And we were horrified at the sight of a plane plunging 26,000 feet into mountains in China, killing all 132 on board.

And that’s just the last couple of weeks. We can spend hours debating ‘‘why does God let people suffer?’’, or get angry and ask ‘‘why doesn’t God do something about it?’’.

While these are valid questions, these events must nonetheles­s remind us of the temporary nature and brevity of this life — that our life, in fact, could be taken from us at any time!

We must then consider the reality of that which is eternal and everlastin­g — “things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God’’ (Col 3:1).

Tragedy and suffering must refocus our spiritual perspectiv­e. That is how Jesus deals with suffering, especially the loss of life. He shows us what it means to ‘‘set our minds on things above’’.

In Luke 13, Jesus responds to two unrelated tragedies where people’s lives were prematurel­y taken from them. It was not that they deserved to die any more than anyone else.

‘‘No’’, Jesus says to the crowds, ‘‘but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish’’ (Luke 13:3.5). By ‘‘perish’’ Jesus meant die without being right with God. But through repentance and faith we can be right with God and thus ready to face Him in judgement.

So, if tragedy strikes, if our lives are suddenly taken from us, we will be ready. And that’s ultimately what it means to have our minds set on things above.

~ Contribute­d by Pastor Chris Taylor, of the Deniliquin Baptist Church, on behalf of the Combined Churches of Deniliquin.

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