Breaking Point

Breaking Point

In my last blog I used the phrase, “stretch ourselves out in love”.

It is perhaps a strange thing to say – stretch yourself out in love. A little while back I heard a sermon on 1 Peter 4 in which the speaker exhorted us to do just that. The phrase stuck with me and has since encouraged me in my parenting, my marriage, and pretty much all of my relationships.

In 1 Peter 4:8 we are told to “above all love one another earnestly”. In the original Greek text, the word translated ‘earnestly’ is ektenés

Ektenés is a Greek adjective. It is made up of two root words. Ek and teinō. Ek means ‘wholly out’. Teinō is actually where our English word ‘tension’ derives from and means ‘to stretch.’ So together the word could be translated ‘completely stretched out’ or ‘without slack’.

Thus Peter’s exhortation to the church could be translated ‘stretch yourself completely out in love toward others’.  It implies making ourselves uncomfortable – to be stretched is to be close to breaking point.

Life is often busy and a little bit of extra responsibility can make us feel very ‘stretched’. Simply inviting guests for dinner, covering for someone on the crèche rota, or even picking up the phone to comfort a friend, could take us beyond what feels ‘comfortable’.

At times it can feel like we have very little to offer and the small things we do seem insignificant. But God is able to use simple acts to glorious ends.

When Israel was stuck between Mt. Tiran and the Red Sea with the mighty Egyptian army in pursuit, there was very little they could do. However, God said to Moses, ‘extend your hand toward the sea’. Moses, faithfully and obediently, stretched out his arm toward the water – and the Lord performed a great miracle. The sea was driven apart (Exodus 14:16, 21-22).

In a practical sense all Moses did was stretch out his hand. It was all he could do. If we are weak or tired we might only be able to lift our hands to help in small ways, but God can still use us for his glory. His power is made perfect in our weakness.

There will be occasions where stretching out in love means having to stand when we want to sit – or work when we want to sleep. Yet we will never be as ‘stretched’ as Jesus was, in choosing the cross for us. Jesus body was not just stretched out on the cross, but it was broken under the weight of our sin. When we are weary and stretched close to breaking point, our soul can find rest at the foot of that cross, where Jesus body was broken in place of ours.

Craft: Crossing the Sea

 

This is a very simple and easy craft. However my kids really enjoyed it, retelling the story to each other, and closing the waters over Pharaoh’s chasing chariots!

It was simple enough for even my youngest (14 months) to be included. However, getting the older children to write out the Bible verses made it challenging for them too. 

You will need:

  1. Yellow and blue A5 card
  2. ‎Scissors
  3. ‎Clear tape
  4. ‎Smiley face stickers

 

Instructions:

  • Cut the blue card down the middle and tape each half to one side of the yellow card so the blue card opens and closes (like a cupboard). 
  • ‎Have children stick the smiley faces on the yellow paper to represent the happy Israelites crossing on the dry ground.
  • ‎Write snippets from Exodus 14:21,22 (optional).

 

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