Good morning everyone:
Crawl out of bed before dawn, stretch tight, sore muscles, and then dive into the pool for a two-hour workout. Eat a breakfast carefully calculated and weighed for number of calories and ratio of carbs and protein. Do more stretching before heading back to the water for several more hours of training. Sit down to dinner and get to bed early, so you’re ready for the next day. This is not just a one-day or even a one-month regimen. It’s something you’ll need to follow for years. Would you do it? Why?
No doubt the athletes in Rio for the Olympics have asked themselves questions like that countless times over the years of their training. They sacrificed a great deal to get where they are. Yet many, if not most, would likely say that it was worth it, so that they could experience the Games and compete with the best athletes in the world.
Most of us won’t get any closer to the Olympics than the TV in the living room. However, the apostle Paul reminds us that we, too, are in “training.” “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever” (1 Cor. 9:24-25).
The believer’s life is not always easy. Letting your light shine will make you a target for the criticisms of the world. Saying no to the immorality all around you takes self-discipline. Hearing the Word and giving offerings for the Lord’s work, cleaning the church, serving on committees, and talking with the Lord in prayer all take time and effort. Why do it? Is it worth it?
We don’t do these things to earn a place in God’s kingdom, like an athlete who performs well enough to make the Olympic team. Our best attempts at earning righteousness before God are like filthy rags. Rather, our standing as children of God is due entirely to Jesus’ work in our behalf. He was holy in our place. He paid the debt of our sin on the cross. Because of Jesus, the Father has pronounced us saints in His eyes.
That is why we do what we do. We want to live as the people God has made us. To ignore God’s will and live like everyone else is to deny Jesus and what He has done for our salvation. In love for Him, let’s never tire of our Christian “training” routine, but gladly follow the Savior day-by-day, year-by-year, until we join all the saints in the glory of His presence eternally.
In tomorrow’s sermon text (Luke 12:32-40), Jesus encourages us to keep living by faith in Him and to trust the reality of the “unseen.”
The Lord’s Supper will be celebrated in both services.
Newly elected board members will be installed during second service.