Devotion: Monday, June 4, 2018

A Biblical, Christ-filled word to bless your lives. 

Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, reflections from His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s verse is from Mark 2:23–28 (3:1–6)

23 One Sabbath he was going through the grain fields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. 24 And the Pharisees were saying to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” … 27 And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”

LAW AND ORDER VERSUS GRACE, OR BOTH?

Have you ever noticed that there seems to be two kinds of “religious” people in the world? First there is the “Law and Order” person. That’s the person who knows that there is right and wrong and also knows that when you do wrong you should be punished. And, when you do right, you should be rewarded. Of course, if we are honest, the wrong thoughts and deeds always overwhelm the right thoughts and deeds. So, we tend to despair, or we start to find ways to excuse ourselves. It reminds me of a story of some folks who had the same wrong attitude.

There were these elders of a church who were waiting anxiously for their pastor one Sunday morning…The pastor was late because the roads to church were blocked. So, he put on his ice skates and skated on the frozen river to church that morning. When he arrived the elders of the church were horrified that their pastor had skated on the Lord’s Day, a day of Sabbath rest. After the service they held a meeting where the pastor explained that it was either skate to church or not go at all. Finally, one elder asked, “Did you enjoy it?” When the preacher answered, “No,” the board decided that as long as he didn’t enjoy it, it was all right![1]

Then there is the second kind of religious person. That’s the person who thinks that we just need to love people as they are, sins and all. These folks tend to think that all we need to do is “not make people feel guilty” and everything will be alright. The problem? Unrighteousness hurts people and deserves punishment. Their attitude of deny or deflect tends to embolden sin or minimize its effects on others.

Both perspectives miss the point. They both think true religion is something we do first and foremost, just like the Pharisees in the lesson for today. True religion, true spirituality is something that God makes possible for people who are hopelessly lost because of their sin. He receives the punishment for our sins and makes true life possible as a gift to be received by faith. To be repentant is being moved by the Spirit of God to recognize your utter need for God and then trust in His utter grace for you. When Jesus tells the people of that day that the Son of Man (Him), is “Lord of the Sabbath,” He’s inviting them to just that life of grace and faith.

So, Today, no matter what you are facing, no matter what may be troubling you, put your faith in the one who is Lord of the Sabbath who brings real, eternal rest to your life, now and forever.

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, we tend to think that life is something we can control or master. Help us to trust that a life of peace and joy begins with a faith relationship with you. AMEN.

[1](Today in the Word, MBI, December, 1989, p. 12)

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