WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, JUNE 22, 2020
Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s verses are Matthew 10:28-33, where Jesus says,
28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.
Life matters, both body and soul. Yes, your life has physical and spiritual dimensions. Life can’t be reduced just to its day to day physical aspects. Your life is much more than “matter in motion for a moment.” That’s the “death and taxes” level of things and if that’s all there is, human life is at best purposeless and at worst, absurd. But there’s more to life than “death and taxes.” There’s more to life than the best of things in this world and than the worst of things in this world. There is a spiritual, eternal dimension to humanity that makes life worth living no matter what one’s circumstances are at the moment. There are also reasons to do the right thing here and now because a reckoning and an eternality are involved in the actions one takes and the decisions one makes.
That’s why it’s always shocking to read quotes like this one which Harvard Professor of Psychology Steven Pinker tweeted last week:
Belief in an afterlife is a malignant delusion, since it devalues actual lives and discourages action that would make them longer, safer, and happier. Exhibit A: What’s really behind Republicans wanting a swift reopening? Evangelicals.
Those of us who believe in the afterlife realize that Jesus words to “fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” compel us to value life even more here and now. Life matters eternally and life matters now. Your life as an individual matters. Your life is important to the ones you love. Even more, your life, my life, all of life matters to God. Your life matters as you seek to be faithful to God and to love your neighbor in His Name. Your life matters to Jesus; He yearns to be the one who acknowledges you before the eternal throne of His Father in heaven! That makes a difference today, tomorrow, and forever!
Chuck Colson, a man who went to prison for the Watergate scandal during the Nixon administration, later shared how the realization of the “eternality” of all life and the faith transformation in his own life changed how he valued each day. He went from being a “hatchet man” who viewed politics as the end all of life with little else of value, to one who saw the fullness of life and its eternal purpose NOW even in suffering. That changed the way he lived each day. It changed how he saw others. It changed how he gave of himself to what mattered. It changed how he dared to love and care for people just because they were brought into his life, rather than merely looking for what he could get out of them. To trust in Christ and in His word about the eternality of life is not some “malignant delusion.” No! Such faith is the power of God for salvation and it also receives the power of God to live purposely in this life for others. He is the source of all that is good for you and me, even in the midst of the uncertainties of the day. So live boldly with faith toward God, and live courageously in love toward your neighbor. That way of living can face the challenges of today and the opportunities of tomorrow, even forevermore.
PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, give us courage to live boldly by faith in You and courageously in love toward others so that we can be useful in Your hands to care for those in need, especially now. AMEN.
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