Have you ever been reading a passage of the Bible and only made it one sentence or even part of a sentence in and realized: That phrase alone is enough for me. That is what I need to know right now. That is what I need to meditate on, internalize and fix in my heart, soul, and mind.
“The earth is the Lord’s [there isn’t a period here but there could be]…”
This world is God’s. He rules it with perfect control and knowledge.
This virus raging through the continents – He knows, He is at work.
The ethnic strife around the world – He sees, He’s got this.
The death, war, famine, chaos and suffering – He is aware. It’s His world, scarred by sin, but it’s His. No reason to fear. No justification for worry. No anxiety. The earth is the Lord’s.
We can live in peace. We can be secure in His strength. And hope in His love. The earth is the Lord’s.
“But Jesus said to the them, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” – Mt 14:16
Isn’t this what Jesus is still saying to us as His church?
In the first century, the disciples physically wanted the crowds to leave. But spiritually, the religious culture wanted the tax collectors, prostitutes, and lepers to go away. They didn’t want to have anything to do with them. They just wanted them to disappear and take their kind and damaging influence with them.
Today, we are just like that. We pretend the XXXXXX aren’t there and that "those terrible people" (fill in your most prejudicing sin) by definition have no interest in Jesus or a redeemed life. We tell ourselves that there is no hope for that person and just pray that they go away and take their damaging influence with them.
“You give them something to eat.” Christ wasn’t asking his disciples to feed this mob for life. Jesus was asking them to feed them right now.
Are we not called to the same? “They” are in need, hurting, thirsting, and starving. Give her, give him “something to eat” spiritually. Give her encouragement. Give him one of God’s promises. Comfort him. Pray for her. Love them all.
INSERT YOUR NAME, you give them something to eat.
Jesus repeated one command more than any other: He who has ears let him hear. Luke clarifies for us: Take heed how you hear…for to him who has more will be given, but to him who does not have, even what he does have will be taken away.
If you hear the truth and do not respond to it, do not integrate it, do not let it change you, then you grow blind, deaf, and dumb to it. As this becomes a pattern, even what you did once understand will be forgotten. And as it fails to make any difference in one’s life, it is lost as though it never was – like a seed that never sprouts.
If a seed grows no plant, it disintegrates back into the earth. If knowledge yields no change, it is forgotten.
We in America are blessed; many of us have heard the Truth preached every Sunday for decades. The danger is that we remain unchanged and callused when confronted by that Truth. Then the Truth we do have is snatched away by our own mediocrity. The challenge is to be habitually humble and prepared to be changed by the Truth confronting us. Then that Truth is multiplied by the grace of God at work in our hearts and minds.
I was watering dirt. No weeds. No struggling garden plant. Just dirt. But this dirt, Mom assured me, contained seeds. Seeds that would with water, sun, and God’s blessing, sprout and yield a harvest.
Sometimes, I feel like God is watering dirt and asking me to do the same. I get angry because there is nothing there! I’m watering dry, dusty ground. I see no plants benefiting from His work. But God knows exactly where the seeds are hidden. And with tender love and God’s Spirit, those seeds will bloom and yield a harvest.
If we keep watering them.
“Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me as the Scripture has said, our of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” – John 7:37-38
“And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.” – Romans 13:11 (NKJV)
I was 10 that 4th of July. My legs dangled over the back wall as I watched the colorful explosions in the sky. Then one of the fireworks misfired right into the bottom of the hill where I sat. And after that, I don’t remember the fireworks – just the fire.
Ever professional, the pyrotechnicians continued the show while fighting the fire. But the desert plants were drought resistant not fire retardant. And even after the fire department arrived the flames continued to leap from bush to bush, steadily climbing toward my feet.
People watching from inside their houses remained captivated by the fireworks and were blind to the fire. But those of us outside were fully focused. We were pulling back the flammable yard décor and hauling out the garden hose just in case. We were the last line of defense.
In life, many are distracted by the fireworks while a fire burns on the perimeter. In our day and time, distractions abound. They may be good or sinful or neither. Often, they are simply what catches our eye, teases our imagination, and sucks in our physical, mental and spiritual energy. Romans 13 is a call to shed what is inconsequential and awaken to the spiritual battle that rages around us -- just beyond our pet diversion.
Jonathan Edwards would agree: There is a fire racing toward our feet and toward the feet of those we love. Our salvation is near which means their destruction is likewise near. It is high time for us to awaken from our sleep, forget the fireworks, and reclaim our undivided loyalty to God and His Kingdom.
A fire rages and we see it coming. Where is our focus? God is calling us to action right now. What is my role? What is your role?
Come with me as we grow in fellowship with each other and our Savior to whom belongs the Amazing Escape from sin and death and the Amazing Journey into glorious life.