Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

Man to Man -- Had any conversations with God lately?


Sept. 20, 2013

“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17
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My favorite movie of all time is Fiddler on the Roof.

I believe that there is a lifetime of sermons in this movie! I remember asking a friend shortly after it came out, “What is the movie about?” Their answer was, “Prejudice!” It is actually about Jewish life in Russia about the time of the revolution. But, I didn’t care to see a movie about prejudice, so it was quite awhile before I finally watched it.

When I did see it, what I saw was a man of great (Jewish) faith, Tevia, trying to live out that faith in the face of changing circumstances that challenged his understanding of his faith.

Ever been there?

It was not just the persecution the Jews suffered at the hands of the government, but one of his daughters makes her own decision about a husband rather than accepting an arranged marriage, and another daughter actually marries a Russian!

I love the many conversations he has with God when confronted with these new things. One of my favorite scenes is him walking his lame horse down the path and having this “conversation” with God. The horse normally pulls the cart from which Tevia sells milk and cheese for a living. With a deep sigh, he asks what God had against his horse that He should make him lame, and if it were necessary just before summer. He then suggests that, maybe when things were slow for God that He would think up some kind of mischief to “play on my friend, Tevia.”

Several things about Tevia’s perception of his relationship with God are revealed in this scene. For one, he is so comfortable in his relationship with God that he has no trouble having a conversation with Him anytime, anywhere, about anything. He’s also convinced that God is involved in his everyday activities (including his business), and that God has a sense of humor. Finally, he believes they are friends!

Do you share any of these perceptions with Tevia?

Over and over again during the movie, he turns his eyes towards heaven and has a “conversation” with God about the situation.

A couple of passages come to mind as I think about the movie; “…, pray continually,…” (I Thess. 5:16), and “Cast all your anxieties upon Him, for He cares for you.” (I Peter 5:7)

I’m sure Tevia never read the New Testament, but he certainly lived the reality of these two verses. Life’s circumstances certainly weren’t always kind to Tevia, but they never affected his relationship to God. The movie, while fictitious, is set in the midst of real circumstances - much like Jesus’ parables.

Like Tevia, we try to face life’s circumstances in the context of our faith. Sometimes, our pathway isn’t always clear.

 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Prov. 3:5-6)

Had any “conversations” with God lately?


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