A wide and deep streak of frustration runs through our lives these days. I had an appointment with a physician yesterday. His disposition is usually sunny, his outlook positive. Not this time. His words were cynical, his comments revealing a man whose basic foundations of life are shaken. Dr. Smith (not his name) is not at all unique, is he?
Now, mid-Summer, parents are wondering about schooling for their children – “Should I send them back? Home school? Is it safe? How will I go back to work if they are home? Which ‘expert’ do I believe?” Business owners are struggling, too, as resources disappear and no full return is in sight. Individuals who live paycheck to paycheck are facing tough times – particularly in the area of housing if they cannot pay the rent.
There are spiritual issues at stake, too. Too many Christians are responding to the chaotic state of the world, not with faith, not with courage, but by turning inward and neglecting their spiritual health. Research shows that over the last three months, young families have disengaged from their church and personal spiritual disciplines at alarming rates.
Between 35 and 50% of families with children chose not to return to church when it opened and stopped connecting with online services. I know that I am ‘preaching to the choir’ here. If you’re connecting with this daily blog, you are most likely not in that statistical group but I want to raise the issue with us all. We need to PRAY FOR ONE ANOTHER and encourage each other LIKE NEVER BEFORE.
Yes, we are tired. Many of us are discouraged, even overwhelmed. We are tempted to turn it all off, numbing our minds with Netflix, buying things, escaping into diversions. I know, I really do understand. Would you believe me if I told you that sometimes we just do the right thing because it is the right thing, regardless of our feelings? Serving the Lord, maintaining our spiritual health, is a lot like a long-term investment. One of the worst financial strategies is one that chases quick returns. Wise investors think long-term. If the portfolio is diverse and includes solid companies, an investor must be willing to stick with market cycles, watching as their account goes through the up’s and down’s.
The Bible uses a farmer’s life as the model – there is time to plant, there is time to wait, there is time to harvest! Here is a passage of principle. This truth must be kept in the forefront of our thinking as we make our daily choices. “Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful desires will harvest the consequences of decay and death. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time.” (Galatians 6:8-9, NLT)
We cannot fervently worship for a month and ask, “Ok, Lord, where is my blessing?” There is always a time that passes between planting and harvesting. In the intervening months, there is CULTIVATION, pulling the weeds, watering the ground, keeping away things that destroy the plants. When we regularly worship (personally and corporately), regularly take in Scripture, meditate and listen for the Spirit, confess our sins, practice generosity of wallet and attitude, renew our eternal perspective – we give the Spirit the opportunity to develop and mature our faith.
There are real consequences in our choices. Initially, stepping away from discipleship might feel good, a kind of relief from something that feels like another obligation. Over time, however, that decision to ignore the soul’s needs, that choice to neglect the things of God, will create spiritual decay effecting each of us, our families, our churches.
If we prioritize godly things, Jesus points out that “everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” (Matthew 7:23-25, NIV) Those who stay faithfully close to the Lord through it all are blessed with a security that reaches into eternity.
Disciple, love Jesus! Don’t fixate on the up’s and down’s of life. Only God knows why the trials and joys of each day are allowed to come our way. Invest in Him for the long-term.
Here’s a word from the Word. a repeat of the passage quoted above but this time from a modern paraphrase. May it be both a caution and encouragement for you today.
“Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest.
The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!— harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.
So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit.
Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.”
(Galatians 6:7-10, The Message)
Are you investing your life wisely, building true wealth that will survive life’s fires and find Heaven’s approval when you arrive finally at home?
Build My Life (A great song that points us to real faith in the Builder)
Worthy of ev’ry song we could ever sing
Worthy of all the praise we could ever bring
Worthy of ev’ry breath we could ever breathe
We live for You
Jesus the name above ev’ry other name
Jesus the only one who could ever save
Worthy of ev’ry breath we could ever breathe
We live for You We live for You
Holy there is no one like You
There is none besides You
Open up my eyes in wonder and show me who You are
And fill me with Your heart
And lead me in Your love to those around me
I will build my life upon Your love
It is a firm foundation
I will put my trust in You alone
And I will not be shaken
Brett Younker | Karl Martin | Kirby Elizabeth Kaple | Matt Redman | Pat Barrett © 2016 Martin, Karl Andrew (Admin. by Arkyard Music Services Limited) Kaple Music (Admin. by Bethel Music Publishing) Bethel Music Publishing
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