This week's devotional is from Pastor Art.
Apartheid, Colonialism, The Crusades, Slavery, the persecution of Jews in retaliation for crucifying the Lord. Can we agree that the Church has always known how to be active in the “name of Jesus”? I think so. What we CAN’T agree on as easily is the idea that she has been equally adept at the right activities when claiming to have God’s support. In other words, the Church has always excelled at being busy, but it’s sometimes succeeded at being busy “in the wrong direction.” I wonder if there were times when, thinking she was making Jesus applaud her activity, the Church wasn’t actually causing him to weep.
Yet, God’s desired focus for his people is clear? “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8). Why does lethargy or the total misappropriation of energy and gifts seem to come so naturally to us when Jesus worked so hard to make our assignment obvious? “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” “If you love me, keep my commands.” “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Mk. 16:15; Jn. 14:15; Matt. 5:44).
The deadly sin of “sloth” and its remedy, “diligence/Christian activism” address this question directly. Sloth speaks of a Christian’s (or the Church’s collective) indifference toward a hurting world and Christ’s missional commands. Diligence points to faithfully carrying out the charge of Jesus to get involved in that brokenness by announcing and being good news.
Read the passages listed below and think about them in light of these questions:
- How do these texts inform your understanding of sloth or diligence?
- In what ways do you see these examples influencing your thoughts about how the Church needs to focus her energies in our current cultural and political climate?
- Of all the ways to show the love and compassion of Jesus these days, which do you find most natural and enjoyable?
- Luke 18:15-17
- Luke 19:11-27
- Matthew 25:1-46
BE A BLESSING
We have an expression in the English language that refers to somebody or something coming, “in the nick of time”. The meaning is the idea of being “right on time,” “JUST in time,” or “at the perfect time.” That’s the sense of Romans 5:6, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.”
God the father blessed us by sending Jesus “in the nick of time” to rescue us. In other words, if he wanted to present himself to us in such a way as to have us respond positively, his timing was perfect. What a blessing.
Here’s my challenge to you today when thinking about this virtue of decisiveness/Christian activism: whom might you bless by being there for them “in the nick of time” this week? Will you keep your eyes and ears open for an opportunity to keep one of Christ’s primary commandments in the next day or two and, in so doing, bless someone in Christ's name? Will you be “active in the right direction” in some way between now and the next time we meet together to worship our king?
Your pastors and staff love to hear the stories of how God uses you and fills you with his Holy Spirit as you bless your families, friends, and community. Would you allow us to “be together” with you in this by sending us a note about how you did that, what you learned from the experience, and what some of the results were?
We are GREATLY encouraged and strengthened when we hear of your faithfulness.