6.6 The Kalós: A Bridge Over Troubled Water.

Our Lectio Divina for today:

I can’t impress this on you too strongly. God is looking over your shoulder. Christ himself is the Judge, with the final say on everyone, living and dead. He is about to break into the open with His rule, so proclaim the Message with intensity; keep on your watch. Challenge, warn, and urge your people. Don’t ever quit. Just keep it simple. You’re going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food—catchy opinions that tickle their fancy. They’ll turn their backs on truth and chase mirages. But you—keep your eye on what you’re doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God’s servant. 2nd Timothy 4: 1-5 (MsgB)

Dear friends in Christ, we, indeed, live in troubled times.

But even as I say this, I realize that nearly every generation of Christ-followers who have gone before us could probably say the very same thing as well. In truth, this world we live in is not an easy place to be.

On countless occasions throughout my 30+ years of pastoral ministry, I’ve found myself reminding my parishioners that this place called planet Earth is not heaven. If it were, we wouldn’t feel the way we feel, we wouldn’t be fighting as we fight, and in all honesty, we wouldn’t need a Savior to deliver us from all this evil!

But, here’s the cold, hard fact. This is reality. You and I, and everyone around us, live in troubled times. And if you are called, as I am, to guard and preserve this kalós, this precious treasure of pastoral ministry, in our generation, then we’ll need to be gut-honest with the reality we live in. And yes, if our New Testaments read correctly, and Paul is accurate with his long-range predictions, you and I won’t be seeing any less troubled times in the foreseeable future.

So, let me warn you about this.

Scientists who study the wondrous miracle called the human brain know that deep within the frontal portion of our smarts are a couple of little almond-shaped organs called the amygdala. It’s these little guys that play a major role in the way we process memory, decision-making, and our emotional reactions to life. Some define the amygdala as the “fight-or-flight” switch in our brain.

It’s in troubled times, the amygdala goes to work, sending out alarm signals to our body, demanding “all hands on deck” as we switch from “normal” settings to an emergency mode. It’s in these situations, human beings either fight to save their lives from danger, or run as fast as they can away from that same danger.

But here’s the neat part about the way God made our brains. As human beings, we have the God-given ability to override our amygdala, at times, with the power of choice and reason, choosing to act in ways that overrides the normal “fight or flight” mode. In other words, in troubled times, you and I can “reason” our way through an emergency by making conscious choices; decisions based more on rational thought and purposeful awareness than on emotional reactions.

Which now brings me to the powerful lyrics of the 1970’s folk song written by Paul Simon, and sung by Art Garfunkel…

When you’re weary, feeling small,
When tears are in your eyes, I’ll dry them all.
I’m on your side, oh, when times get rough,
And friends just can’t be found,
Like a bridge over troubled water,
I will lay me down.
Like a bridge over troubled water,
I will lay me down.

When you’re down and out,
When you’re on the street.
When evening falls so hard,
I will comfort you.
I’ll take your part, oh, when darkness comes.
And pain is all around,
Like a bridge over troubled water,
I will lay me down.
Like a bridge over troubled water,
I will lay me down.

Sail on silver girl,
Sail on by.
Your time has come to shine,
All your dreams are on their way.
See how they shine.
Oh, if you need a friend,
I’m sailing right behind.
Like a bridge over troubled water,
I will ease your mind.
Like a bridge over troubled water,
I will ease your mind.

Hmm.

Could it be, my dear pastoral friends, when faced with the troubled times in which we live, there might be a few of us who would not allow our amygdala to rule the roost, and we become the Christ-centered, Spirit-directed, biblically-obedient men and women who choose to live out the kalós, to be a bridge over troubled water for those around us who are unable, or un-willing, to reason their way through life?

Could it be that when Paul talks about folks who…

…will have no stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food—catchy opinions that tickle their fancy. They’ll turn their backs on truth and chase mirages…

…he’s referring to those who can’t control their amygdala, and will need a well-reasoned, thoughtful pastoral shepherd who can help lead them over troubled water?

I pray, my friends, that you and I can answer that kalós call.

My prayer: Jesus, You are my bridge over troubled water, and since You’ve delivered me in troubled times, I choose to embrace Your call for me to be a bridge over troubled water for others around me. Holy Spirit, indwell and empower me to override my amygdala, in times such as this, and be for others what You are for me.  For Your name’s sake. Amen.

My questions to ponder: So where is my amygdala ruling the day, pushing me to ‘fight or flight’ rather than calmly remaining in my kalós call? How might I be fully aware of the troubled times in which we live, yet wisely choose to live above it, with Christ’s help, being the hands of the Master for those who need more than a hand-out, but a hand-up as they face their troubled water!

So, what is God speaking to you today as you guard the kalós, the precious treasure of pastoral ministry, in your life?


In this 26-session blog series, Kalós: Guarding the Precious Treasure, we explore the kalós*, this precious treasure of pastoral ministry that has been deposited into us by the work of the Holy Spirit. We invite you to come along with us, bookmarking this blog’s home page for easy, on-going referencing.

As you go through this blog series, we also suggest that you use the ancient tool of Lectio Divina as you approach each scriptural text we give you in this blog. Lectio Divina is a slow, intentional reading of the Holy Scriptures. Take your time as you ponder the text slowly, allowing the Holy Spirit to illuminate God’s Word for you as you read. Ask the Master as you read, “Jesus, what in this passage do I need to hear today?”


*So, what is kalós?

Kalós comes from a New Testament Greek word which simply means “good.” The apostle Paul, when writing to his young apprentice, Timothy, decided to combine this common adjective, kalós, with a second Greek word, parathéké, a noun which means a deposit or trust committed to one’s charge. As a result, the apostle ends up with one, very powerful phrase! A command that both Timothy, and you and I, truly need to take note of as we continue this ancient work of serving Christ and His Church! “Guard this kalós (this good work, this beautiful deposit, this precious treasure) placed in your custody by the Holy Spirit who works in us.” 2nd Timothy 1: 14

Click here to go on to the final session in this series…

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