Monday, March 23rd

“For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that he has chosen you, because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of persons we proved to be among you for your sake.  And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.”  1 Thessalonians 1:4-7

 

When was the last time you played tag?

 

When I was a kid, we played it for hours.  Basic run and touch tag.  Complex tag where you had to touch certain places and every house’s porch was safe.  Team tag where you could get your friends out of prison.  Flashlight tag at night.  It was always so much fun.

 

Unless you were the younger brother or sister who could never catch anyone once you got “it.”  Or if you were the last person who still wanted to play when everyone else had enough.

 

As Paul describes the Christian faith here in the first part of his letter to the Thessalonians, it looks a lot like tag.  God tagged Paul;  Paul tagged the Thessalonians; the witness of the Thessalonians is tagging the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.  The faith movement of Christianity is growing, one person at a time.

 

This first letter, perhaps the earliest New Testament book, was written by Paul to encourage the Christian community he had gathered in Thessalonica.  As relatively new Christians, they are torn between the lives they once knew and the lives they now know.  They live with questions – some of which the faith answers and some which the faith intensifies.  In short, they sound a lot like us.

 

It is so easy to feel ourselves cut off from the wider movement of God throughout the world and throughout history.  We forget that we are not the first ones to believe in Christ in the midst of a radically diverse culture where plenty of people think such faith is misguided, fanciful and foolish.  We forget that we aren’t the only ones torn between conforming to a self centered lifestyle and the self giving nature of our faith.

 

We think so often that we are all alone – as individual believers, as individual congregations.  Especially in those settings where the conversion of unbelievers is rare, where congregations are shrinking with age, we feel like that kid that can’t catch anybody else.  Or in those places where we step out in faith and take risks, and we end up feeling like the one who still wants to play when everyone else just goes home.

 

Remember this morning that we aren’t alone!  We’ve been picked, chosen, by God through those he tagged ahead of us.  And if we are going to keep having fun, then we are going to have to do our part to tag the ones in front of us.  The game goes on!

 

Let us pray:  Gracious Lord, you have come to us, chosen us, and included us in the grand sweep of your kingdom.  Thank you for the witness of those who have gone before us.  Use us to reach those still waiting to be caught.  May your kingdom come!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

 

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2 Responses to “Monday, March 23rd”

  1. Arnie Walter Says:

    Pastor Kerry,
    Glad to see you’re back, thank you so very much for today’s devotion.
    I’m glad you occasionally take so time off from this ministry.
    The reason I think that is that while you don’t get it this devotion done
    every day when you do it’s WORTH it. 🙂
    I’d rather you tend to Jesus, family, Covenant Church, taking time to yourself apart to pray, meditate, rest (like Jesus often did), than “burn out”.
    I’d just like you to know when I don’t see a devotion I say a little prayer
    for you to be sustained.
    God Bless.
    Arnie

  2. LC Says:

    Welcome back Pastor Kerry, you were missed.

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