“Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father will encourage your hearts and make you strong in every good word and deed. He loved us and with gracious love, gave us eternal comfort and good hope.” II Thess 2:16-17 (Simple English Bible)
She said she was tired, weary of the constant grind. Mary didn’t like being under the spotlight every day or sidelined with brush-offs and platitudes. She wanted to be stronger, more active in doing the right things just because they were the right things. It seemed to her that her work colleagues and some of her friends were rolling their eyes or pooh=poohing her efforts to help others.
I’d seen her diligence crumble slowly over the months. She rarely said a word but felt that her determination to maintain her Christian values and focus was being eroded little by little. There was no direct threat or head-on collision with anyone. Rather, her life was being drained in little dribs and drabs like a small hole in the bottom of a bucket. She was swimming upstream and gradually being swept back.
These two verses in Paul’s second letter to the Christians at Thessalonika bucked her up. I asked Mary to read them every morning before she left for work. At first, she said that the reading made little impact but after two weeks of constant effort to keep it in mind, her entire outlook changed. She cared less what happened in the world and more and more about how God care for her!
Don’t we all need that, too?
‘God is fair. He will remember what you did and the love you showed toward His name. You have helped God’s holy people and continue to do so.” Heb 6:10 (Simple English Bible)
He was a stranger, exhausted and had been traveling for many days. The small village was suspicious of a man who didn’t speak their language and appeared to be very poor and not healthy at all. Perhaps he was sick or diseased. No one helped when he asked for water, nor did anyone offer food. Too tired to walk any further, the man curled up under a tree outside the village and slept.
When little Thando came home from tending the few sheep that the family owned, his mother was horrified to see that her son had brought the stranger into their little house, too! She called her husband and even he didn’t know what to do. The man slumped into a chair and waved weakly. When confronted, Thando said that if Jesus were there, the man would be cared for, just like the Good Samaritan! “If we can’t help him,” continued the boy, “then who will help us when we need it?”
We’re all busy. We all have plans for the morrow or the weekend. We look forward to birthdays, Thanksgiving and family occasions. Yet there are those outside who have no such comforts. They are in need, not only of our good grace, but the welcome embrace of our Lord.
Just as we did when we came to Him.
“Christ is before everything and everything holds together in Christ.” Col 1:17 (Simple English Bible)
Sarah was a little concerned. Her high school friends had been heckling her about her belief in Jesus. The township school had a huge mix of different cultures, religious beliefs and traditions. Evidently, in the minds of the children, Christianity was considered a late comer to the social order of the day. It was old fashioned, too Western in concept and obviously, not practiced even by its own followers! How could it be true and meaningful if there were no rules and regulations?
Sarah’s mother, Thembisa, sat one evening, listening to her daughter’s doubts and fears. She opened her Bible to Colossians and read Sarah the first two chapters. The main point she wanted to get across to the girl was this: before anything else, Christ was there! Before Mohammed, before the traditions of their ancestors and even before Creation itself, Christ was there! He created everything! He holds everything together! Sarah laughed with relief, finally understanding the power of Christ.
Sometimes, Christians have to take it back to basics. We have to understand and believe what the Word clearly states without making excuses or permitting the world to contradict the truth. One day, the world won’t be here anymore and the only salvation we have is in Christ Himself. Everything else will be gone but He is eternal!