On first read, today’s scriptures are kind of a downer.
Remember that old song - I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden.
Well, that is what today’s readings say to me. In Paul’s letter to
Timothy, Paul tells Timothy, you’ve seen how I’ve suffered and how I’ve been
persecuted? Well, if you keep the faith, the same is in store for you.
The psalmist cries out that his persecutors and foes are many. Princes
persecute him without cause. And in Mark, Jesus is preaching to a delighted
crowd. However, Christ has reached the point in his ministry where
the scribes and Pharisees are out to get him. Not very uplifting.
You would think that if we kept the faith, our reward would be great.
Well, there is that thing of eternal life, but what about the here and now?
I thought about the saying I only want what I deserve.
Good grief! If I truly got what I deserved, I would be face down on
the ground, sobbing uncontrollably, begging for mercy. Praise God that
we worship a God who loves us, who forgives us and who offers us second chances.
I sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that if I just worship God and
obey his commandments, life should be like a smooth and level path.
No detours, no pitfalls, no problems. Scripture is quite clear that
this is not true. If we keep the faith, we will be persecuted.
If we present Christ, we will meet opposition. However, we are also
promised that if we keep the faith we will have purpose, patience, love,
endurance, guidance and peace. Paul tells Timothy that all scripture
is inspired by God and it equips us for life. Paul also points out
something in Timothy that I often take for granted. Timothy has been
raised in a home where the good news of Christ is presented. It’s easy
to take our faith for granted and not thank our parents for that gift.
Two things that I personally need to work on and that I would pray for are
contentment with and gratitude for God’s gifts.
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