Pastor Homan’s Devotion for May 16, 2019

Our read­ing for Thurs­day, May 16, 2019 is Matthew 10:26–31.

26 “So do not be afraid of them. There is noth­ing con­cealed that will not be dis­closed, or hid­den that will not be made known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the day­light; what is whis­pered in your ear, pro­claim from the roofs. 28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but can­not kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two spar­rows sold for a pen­ny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all num­bered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many spar­rows.NIV

At my age I am pleased to still have hair even though it is now gray. I have had friends less endowed with hair than myself joke that it is eas­i­er for God to count the hairs on their head due to how sparse it is. The point Jesus was mak­ing was it would be a tedious task to count the hair on our heads, and while we would even try God knows.  Hope­ful­ly we under­stand that whether we have hair or not God knows us ful­ly and all that hap­pens to us.

Beyond this com­plete knowl­edge God has of us does the under­stand­ing that noth­ing hap­pens to us with­out God know­ing about it and more both­er­some the idea that noth­ing hap­pens to us apart from God’s will. The thought that God actu­al­ly wills some of the things I have one through doe not leave a good taste in my mouth. I am sure the thought rais­es the same con­cern for you. But when you think about it our very earth­ly exis­tence sep­a­rat­ed from God and sub­ject­ed to all the bless­ings and curs­es we expe­ri­ence is the will of God as the response for our sin.

The pur­pose of God in our so called deprav­i­ty is to lead us to con­fes­sion, repen­tance, accep­tance of grace and to intro­duce us to the pur­suit of holy liv­ing.

The chal­lenges of life are the place to cul­ti­vate char­ac­ter and draw us clos­er to God where we dis­cov­er the resources for more abun­dant liv­ing in the midst of our predica­ments. We are also called to ser­vice to God’s pur­pos­es and ulti­mate plan for human­i­ty and this world.

The greater chal­lenge is to remain faith­ful to God when things get tough and to trust God for the uncer­tain­ties we face in life. Greater still is to remain stead­fast to our val­ues when they are open­ly chal­lenged. How often are we fear­ful to open­ly own our Chris­t­ian val­ues. We are timid and right­ful­ly so because to stand up and speak out no mat­ter how tact­ful­ly or gen­tly will result in cer­tain degrees of rejec­tion and pos­si­ble out­right per­se­cu­tion.

Jesus teach­es that we must come to a deci­sion and pri­or­i­tize our rela­tion­ships. We will either live to gain the accep­tance of oth­er or sat­is­fy our­selves with the accep­tance of God. It is not that all will reject us for a bold faith but if our per­son­al­i­ty demands earn­ing the approval of oth­ers at the expense of doing what is right then we must rel­e­gate our­selves to liv­ing with a dam­aged con­science. We will as Jesus says, “gain the whole world while los­ing our souls.”

Why would com­pro­mise cause us to lose our souls or bet­ter stat­ed why can’t we have it both ways? The only way to accept the com­pro­mise of faith and be hap­py is to kill our con­science which will hap­pen pro­gres­sive­ly over time with each com­pro­mise. True faith enlivens our con­science and caus­es us to live toward God and God’s val­ues.

Jesus’ words sound omi­nous, “Don’t be afraid of those who can kill the body but not the soul. Rather, fear the one who can destroy both body and soul in hell.” Judg­ment and hell are not pop­u­lar top­ics, but our feel­ing about them does not alter their real­i­ty. Some things we need to fear. Appro­pri­ate fear will keep us on the right path and lead us to an eter­nal and ful­fill­ing des­tiny.

Remem­ber in your striv­ing for spir­i­tu­al integri­ty that God will always accept you and help you to be the best you, you can be.