Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!
Readings for November 8, 2020; 23rd Sunday after Pentecost
Amos 5:18-24; Psalm 70: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Matthew 25: 1-13
May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else. . . . May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 3:12a,13, 4:16-18
Have you ever been motivated to do something, especially a life-changing something, and found that within a few days your motivation diminished, and then a few days after that, you were back to your old ways? On the other hand, have you been motivated to do something alongside a friend or two and found that together your support for one another, your accountability and your motivation stayed stronger, and as a group, you got farther in obtaining your goal than if you were alone? I know I have personally experienced both situations to be true.
Well, on one hand, the above words of encouragement from Paul are meant for you personally to encourage your hearts and to be strengthened to live your days with your eyes, heart, and actions focussed on the Lord Jesus. However, his words are more specifically meant to encourage the whole body of Christ to be strengthened in the Lord and to strengthen each other to remain in Christ until our earthly death or his coming, whichever comes first.
Although it is true that we each have a personal faith and intimate relationship with our Lord, we are part of a much bigger assembly. God does not desire our days of faith and walking in his ways to be a one person show. He desires us to be united with the whole of the body of Christ. In fact, Paul’s words are words of encouragement to the church of the Thessalonians; the group of people in Thessalonica who believed in Jesus as their lord and Saviour and who lived their days to support and love each other, as well as, those who crossed each member’s path.
You see, our fellowship with Jesus, our head, is intimately integrated with his whole body, the Church. We are not meant to be separated. We are not meant to walk our days of faith alone. For some, they may not be able to help being alone if they have been imprisoned for their faith, or live in a country where Christians are persecuted and their worship is to be hidden. In such situations may God bless these brothers and sisters with strength and courage to endure their days, and may he guide them to fellow believers with whom they can find mutual encouragement. However, for the majority of countries where there is freedom of worship, like in Canada, we have the privilege to join in the fellowship of believers, the body of Christ where we live, to be encouraged and to encourage each other in the faith until the day we are called home or Christ comes. For either day is not a laughing matter. This such day in your life will be the final call of your ultimate destination, and Satan, the world and your sinful self are doing everything to keep you from being focussed on Jesus. Alone, we can question, we can grow weary, we can believe Satan’s lies, we can make up excuses; all of which keep us from being ready and which can lead us away from the one true faith. That is why Jesus told multiple parables of the kingdom of heaven, and why he said over and over again to be ready and keep watch, “because you do not know the day or the hour.” Matthew 25:13b
So, if you are living your life of faith alone, may I encourage you to seek out a Christian community where you can join with others in your daily walk of faith, and together seek and grow in His Word, support and become accountable to one another, so that you may not be “tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, [you] will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” Ephesians 4:14b-16. Then, you will be ready, without a doubt, for that day when you are called to your heavenly home.
Prayer: Dear Lord, you do not desire that I live my days for you alone. You know my spirit is willing but my flesh is weak. You have made me part of your Church, the gathering of fellow believers, with whom I can find support and encouragement. Guide me so that I can be an active member of your body while giving and receiving the daily support and encouragement to keep my eyes always on you until that day I am with you in paradise. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!