By The Rev. Frank Allen
Each day brings the opportunity for us to grow more adept, more confident in our following after Jesus into a life that’s really life. We may struggle and even fail today. Our growth and confidence may grow in increments so small that we think we are standing in place are even receding, but by God’s grace this is not so. Take heart, for by God’s choosing and God’s mercy, we are becoming the persons God has called us to be.
Today’s task is to pay attention to God’s purposes for our lives and not our own purposes alone. God has called us to live a certain way and to build a certain kind of community, a community that lives in such a way that we remain close to God and draw others by the way we live.
The Hebrews find this dual purpose out as they come into closer contact with their neighbors, the Moabites. They forget the purposes and the kind of life God has called them to lead among themselves and in the midst of people who don’t know the one true God. They begin to intermarry and even worship other gods. The result is a swift and harsh judgment that makes many Christians uncomfortable and wondering if this God is the same God Jesus calls Father. Rest assured that it is and that the discipline, harsh though it is, is meant for their good in order that they may return to the life God has been calling them to live.
Jesus’ followers face a different challenge regarding the worship of other gods, gods more subtle than the gods of the Moabites. Too easily we mistake religion and religious practices for God’s purposes at work in our lives. The Sabbath is nothing to be worshiped nor are other religious laws or practices. They are the means to the ultimate end – God.
So today, let’s remember to live the life that God has called us to live in spite of the temptations and other ways of living. It’s the opportunity we need to help us grow as followers of Christ.
In your practice of your faith, do you find yourself willing to share your faith by the way you live your life? What does that look like?
Where are the practices of Christianity getting in your way of living as a Christian?
Merciful Lord, give us strength for today to acknowledge you in all our ways. And though we may forget you, please do not forget us for the love of your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
The Rev. Frank Allen is Rector of St. David’s Church in Radnor, Pennsylvania