The Pastor’s Quill
Poison Ivy and Jesus!
By Pastor Tim Hodge
May 21, 2017
“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13, KJV).
“From now on let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus” (Galatians 6:17, NKJV).
Early in life I used to brag about how Poison Ivy had no effect on me. I’d spend countless hours in the woods hunting and fishing without even a trace of the dastardly running vines of Poison Ivy, Poison Oak or any of their cousins ever causing me to have an itch, bump, or rash. That all changed one day.
In the late 1990’s we were pastoring our first church in Rockingham, NC. It was a growing little church of a little less than 100 people. We had a big work day on the church grounds. We had people on riding lawn mowers buzzing the grass. People were trimming hedges and pulling weeds. I proceeded out toward the highway where we had a big church sign with a brick planter at the base. I proceeded to pull all these running vines out of the greenery. I had no idea they were poisonous. However, having a high tolerance to the stuff it never dawned on me to check into what they were. I had these small piles of stuff at strategic locations on the ground.
Then ”IT” happened. A seemingly harmless turn of events that would change the rest of my life. One of the guys on a riding mower thought he’d do me a favor and mulch up the small piles for me instead of bagging it up. The mulched poison got airborne where I was working and I inhaled it. It got all over my body and within days I was covered in blisters and rashes. Misery ensued.
From that time forward I can almost look at those demon vines and break out. So it has been until this past week. About a week ago, Kim, Josiah, Jordan, and myself spent the day working in our yard. The next day I spent a couple of hours on a ministry trip with our truck ministry. Somewhere I got into “IT”!!! My legs have erupted in glorious markings. My arms blistered up. My right forearm had a place the size of a grapefruit blister up and oozed running fluid for days.
Here’s my point: It is evident when I’m in the presence of poisonous plants.
Note the passages at the beginning of this article. In the scripture from Acts it was evident that Peter and John had been “with Jesus”. Even when being quizzed by intellectual malefactors these plain, simple, and unlearned men marveled their inquisitors due to the simple fact they had “been with Jesus”.
Paul lauded how he bore in his body the “marks” of Christ. He had been beaten (numerous times), stoned, shipwrecked, and other various hardships due to his faith. I don’t think Paul looked at his body as scarred, but a trophy case of grace.
No one has any doubt this week when they looked at my body that I’d been in the presence of some type of poisonous plant. Now here is a tough question: “Has it been evident that I’ve been in the presence of Jesus?” Has His peace ruled in my heart? Has His love been demonstrated through my actions?
What about YOU? Has it been evident to those around you that you’ve been in the presence of Jesus?