FROM THE BISHOP
JAMES R. KING, JR.
Hello, beautiful people of South Georgia!
What is your favorite sporting event in the Olympics? Regardless of a particular Olympic event I find it exciting to watch the competition between some of the greatest athletes in the world. Many of these athletes have been in training since they were very young. They have spent hundreds of hours conditioning themselves for this one great moment in their lives when they will offer their best to the world as they represent their country.
The kind of training of any dedicated athlete requires great discipline and self-control. To say yes to being the best athlete you can be means you have to say, “no, thank you” to family and friends who invite you to break your curfew or to eat something that would endanger your fitness program. Surely temptation is all around yet more often than not dedicated athletics pass the test of readiness by displaying self-control.
The self-control displayed by a dedicated athlete is the same behavior that is required for each of us to participate fully in God’s plan for a Christlike world to exist on earth. Self-control is so important because without it people would act out of their impulses all the time. With self-control a person could say something to another person that could damage their relationship for some time. Without self-control a person could lose his or her job and act out in ways that could hurt innocent people. Without self-control a person could spend all their savings on a hunch without proper council. Without self-control someone could stop going to school because of a poor grade, and without self-control an athlete could quit the team because they did not get enough playing time in a game. Self-control provides the proper restraint to do what is best in the interest of all concerned.
As human beings we are like babies who want what we want when we want it. In other words, we are selfish. A community could not survive if everyone behaved selfishly. Self-control allows us to share and care for others as well as ourselves. Self-control establishes an atmosphere for the kingdom of God to exist in our midst because it monitors our selfish instincts.
The awesome image of creation painted by the author of Genesis is filled with beauty, peace and abundance. However, human beings cannot stay in the garden without self-control. Genesis 3:23. Without some restraint the beauty of creation is compromised. The same is true for a congregation today. You cannot have a healthy congregation that is good for all without self-control.
When my son Robert started driving a car to school I added to my encouragement litany as he walked out the door “keep it tight.” By keeping it tight I was saying to him, “stay focused.” Enjoy the drive, be inspired by the music, but be aware of what is going on around you.
Now I say to the pastors that I pray over keep it tight. To the members of our congregations – keep it tight. Keep it tight if you are a young person, with your parents, teachers, friends, schoolmates or teammates. Keep it tight - so that kindness and patience can flow out of you rather than gossip or harsh words that hurt. I hope you get this point, the more self-control we show the more the kingdom of God will flow.
Until next time, remember – God’s will for us is good. We must do the rest.
James R. King, Jr.