I read somewhere recently that one of the biggest issues for pastors is whether they are relevant at all and most wonder whether they are making any difference or not. I must confess that I often wonder that myself. This is also one of the biggest reasons thousands of pastors leave the ministry every year and thousands of others suffer burnout. It is quite disheartening for many pastors to work to preach, teach, and administer the sacraments and to see the church in decline as it is. We try as hard as we can to make it relevant and to use new and exciting ways to present God's Word to people, but it often seems to fall on deaf ears and blind eyes.
This is not the case in places like Africa and China. There the church is flourishing and growing at record rates. Why? Because they know what it is to live without the church due to the oppression and tyranny of godless governments. They know what it means to have to hide their faith and their churches for fear of punishment. They know what it means to not have churches to go to for a very long time. And it's not good.
They don't take their faith for granted. They love the church. They rejoice that they have a place to worship and a large group of people to worship with. it is a great blessing to them to be able to worship freely and fully
I know I'm probably preaching to the choir here. You aren't one of those apathetic Christians, are you? It matters to you, doesn't it? If you are, being faithful by the power of the Holy Spirit, WONDERFUL! Keep it up! Keep living in God's grace! Keep growing in the faith! I'm proud of you!
Maybe you are an apathetic Christian. Maybe you are completely disinterested in what goes on at St. John's. If you are, then I pray that this passage from Hebrews and this devotion has convicted you of your apathy and disinterest. I hope that it has caused you to rethink your faith life so that you don't stray too far away from Christ that you get lost and can't find your way back.
If you are a lukewarm, apathetic, and indifferent Christian REPENT! Jesus wants a better relationship with you than just a casual thought now and then. He wants you to have a full and satisfying relationship with him, one that is firing on all cylinders, one that is full of joy, one that is proclaiming his love to the lost, one that is free of guilt and shame! Turn from your "sometime" Christianity, or your "when I have time" Christianity, and make it your life!
It is very interesting in this passage that the writer of Hebrews doesn't dwell on the trouble already happening way back then, but instead speaks about the Gospel! He preaches Christ and Him crucified. And so, whether the tide is in or out, whether church is full or almost empty, whether people are on fire or barely smoldering, we keep preaching Christ! We keep proclaiming his grace! We keep Jesus as our way, truth, and life!
Prayer: Lord, help me to treat my faith as my whole life and not just a part of it. Amen.
YESTERDAY'S QUIZ: What is a maskil? A literary or musical device meant to teach a lesson
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