26 For what will it benefit someone if he gains the whole world yet loses his life? (Matthew 16:26a CSB)
We see it all too frequently. Someone who seems to have it all but lives in a state of constant turmoil. Some even go so far as to take their lives.
They seem to have the whole world at their feet, yet cannot find happiness. Doesn’t this story that is as old as time tell us something? Doesn’t it teach a lesson that having it all does not necessarily equate to lasting joy and happiness.
Many say happiness is an elusive thing and a term that cannot be well defined. True in many aspects, but joy on the other hand is very definable. And a life that is not lived in joy is sad indeed.
Joy comes from living for something bigger than ourselves and doing for others things that lift them up.
….and happiness is derived from joy.
14 Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart be courageous.
Wait for the Lord. (Psalm 27:14 CSB)
One of the more difficult traits to gain, and I truly know this, is patience.
Our world is not a “wait” world. It is a have it all now world. When we are told to wait we get antsy. We may get irritated and wonder, “why must I wait.”
But the value in waiting, in delayed gratification, is that it teaches us that good things come to those who wait.
9 For the eyes of the Lord roam throughout the earth to show himself strong for those who are wholeheartedly devoted to him. (2 Chronicles 16:9a CSB)
We experience a lot of half-measures. Personal and business circumstances that should merit a wholehearted effort but get a halfhearted response.
We tend to want to call this compromise but far too often it is just a weak response that will require other efforts later to properly rectify.
My dad always said, “there’s never time to do a job right, but there is always time to do it over”, and I have seen that play out over and over again.
God expects a wholehearted response to His wholeharted gift of grace. Anything less is a halfmeasure that we often regret.
21 For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 Now if I live on in the flesh, this means fruitful work for me.. (Philippians 1:21-22a CSB)
Paul was looking at life under house arrest and considering what might happen. He was living under a constant threat of being put to death. But in this passage he noted that to die would be gain. He would be with Christ immediately. However, if he were to live on he knew this meant God had more fruitful work for him to do.
We are here now. Thus God has more fruitful work for us to do on this earth. Never think that your time here is wasted. God has plans for you to bear fruit for the Kingdom.
15 To be sure, some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of good will. 16 These preach out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; 17 the others proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, thinking that they will cause me trouble in my imprisonment. 18 What does it matter? Only that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is proclaimed, and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice. (Philippians 1:15-18 CSB)
The old mythical saying “Any press is good press” has been thrown out over and over. However, in this case Paul had spoken the Word to the guards during his imprisonment and many had come to believe. There seemed to be some who then took the Word forward in good will and others to compete with the other guards.
In any case, he says, “What does it matter? Only that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is proclaimed.”
In this case any press was good press. And when it comes to the proper conveying of scriptrure the motivation still matters less. As long as it is clearly and properly represented.
In many ways even those who seek to discredit the Word inadvertently proclaim Christ.
4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” (Luke 5:4 CSB)
Typically when we see the words “deep water” we begin to think what might we have gotten ourselves into.
Yet, often, Christ wants us to view deep water as a place where the most fish are. And we are “fishers of men (and women).”
Thus our place in this world should be in the deep water. Confident in Christ guidance and comforted in his grace.
1 The Lord is my shepherd;
I have what I need.
2 He lets me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside quiet waters.
3 He renews my life;
he leads me along the right paths[a]
for his name’s sake.
4 Even when I go through the darkest valley,[b]
I fear no danger,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff—they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in[c] the house of the Lord
as long as I live.[d]