Perspectives with Rev. Clarence Witten


Loyal for Life

My CFL football team, the Edmonton Eskimos, is in the cellar. My hockey team, the Oilers, is doing slightly better, but hardly, standing at three wins, seven losses, and one overtime win (at the time of writing).

Nevertheless, I’m a huge fan of both teams. Always have been. As a kid I’d bike about 20 km to watch the Eskies in their training camp outside of town and go to every game I could. Then when the Oilers came along as a WHA team, I jumped on the that bandwagon as well. I remember watching Gretsky before he was famous; well, at least, before he was in the NHL.

I guess I’ll be an Eskimos and Oilers fan for life, no matter how they do. My loyalty runs deep.

I have another loyalty however that runs far deeper, and is rather more important. It’s to God. 

As far as I’m concerned, he doesn’t ever have a ‘poor season.’ When I compare his wins to his losses, he always comes out ahead. Personally I don’t think there’s anyone else in his league.

Nevertheless, having said that, it seems that he’s getting a lot of bad press lately. He gets blamed for the mess we’re making of the world. He is seen as irrelevant and unnecessary. We’re told it’s silly to believe in him, even dumb and unscientific. The Bible and its standards are seen as out-dated and too restrictive. Even people who once believed or went to church are giving up on him.

It reminds me of a story in the Bible that I preached on recently in John 6. The huge crowd that had been following Jesus slowly began to leave. Some disliked what Jesus said. Others just wanted a free lunch, and when Jesus didn’t come through, they left. When most of the crowd took off, Jesus turned to his few remaining followers and asked if they wanted to leave as well. Their answer? No way. “You have the words of eternal life.” They were loyal to the end. Why? Because in Jesus they found what they could find no place else.

I like that. I can relate. Over the years there have been things about God I don’t get. There are things I don’t even particularly like. 

Yet, I and many others, will remain loyal to the end. The reason is simple. It’s because we found something in Jesus that we can’t find anywhere else.

Like love, I mean, real love. I’m a pretty flawed human being. I’m surprised by the nasty things I say. I’m shocked by my impatience. I blush at some thoughts I entertain. Yet, the amazing thing is despite all this crud in my life, God loves me just the same, unconditionally, like no one else ever could. So how can I help but be loyal?

Besides, since coming to know him by faith in Christ, he’s changed my life. No, he didn’t wave a magic wand and make everything perfect. I wish. 

But what he did was give me a deep sense that all is well. That I belong to him. That the big questions of life are answered; that the big issues of life are resolved. That after this life is over, there’s heaven. Once again, how can I help, but be loyal?

So, in this day when loyalty to God is being challenged, when people are looking elsewhere for the answers to life, my question is: Where else would you go? Who else “has the words of eternal life?” Who else will love us perfectly? Who else has the power to heal our broken lives? Once we personally discover what God can do in our lives, we’ve got no choice but to be loyal for life..

Pastor Clarence Witten

Community Christian 

Reformed Church

Dixon’s Corners

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