Devotion: Monday, February 18, 2019

Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections from His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s reading is from Luke 6:20-23, where the Bible says,   

Looking at his disciples, [Jesus] said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.21 Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.22 Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. 23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven.

Are You Ready for God’s Blessing?

Are you ready for God’s blessing today? Now that sounds like a foolish question, right? Everyone wants a blessing, right? Some say they want God’s blessing most of all. Good! I’ve got some good news for you then. The Bible is a book about God’s blessings for you. But, here’s the rub. The blessing, the one that is meant for all, yes, for you, me, and everyone, it comes through the person and work of Jesus ALONE! In fact, in our Bible reading today, Jesus tells us that our “blessing meter” might be off quite a bit. He tells us that our poverty now can actually be a blessing, that our weeping now can be preparation for lasting joy, and that our being despised by the culture we live in can be a sign of His blessing that never ends. In so doing, He is calling us to examine our appetites and our desires for the blessings that last.

Do you hunger, yearn, and strive for the things of this world alone? Or, do you wish to have God’s Kingdom blessing in Christ, even to the point of losing all this world can offer? You see, God’s blessing in Jesus is the key to it all. Wealth without Him, happiness without Him, and social capital without Him all amount to nothing in the end. So, if you are ready for a blessing, God would ask you, “Are you hungering for My blessing in Jesus Christ alone?”

Christians hunger for God’s Word because God there reveals how Christ satisfies our deepest need, forgiveness for our sins and the promise of life with Him now and forever. Our hunger for Christ and the forgiving grace He gives to us describes who we are as His disciples.

I suggest something like the above because I think that the devotion needs to define more precisely the last sentence in this paragraph. That is, exactly how is it that our “hunger for the things of God which come in Christ alone defines the key to our blessing from God”? Sadly, the world in which we live will tempt us to discard that hunger for Christ at times, to overlook it, even to despise it compared to other worldly blessings. But that hunger for the things of God which come in Christ alone defines the key to our blessing from God.

Christmas is not too far in the rear-view mirror, right? Lent is still weeks away, and Easter months away, so this year we get to bask in the glow of Christmas a bit longer. But, what is that celebration? What is that glow? Is it about the miracle of a Savior born in a manger? Or is it merely about presents for ourselves, family time alone, or holiday rest? What did you hunger for then? What are you hungering for now?

I love the story of 6th grader Andrew Wright. He completed an assignment for class which was to write about “what Christmas means to me.” He wrote a poem. It read: “The best Christmas ever is when everyone is there. It is when everyone is laughing here and there. That is the Christmas I want to share. Christmas is about Jesus’ birth. About peace on Earth. This is what Christmas is about. It is when He lay in a manger. And the three wise men come to see. That’s what it means to me.” Wow! You can feel the joy, can’t you? It’s simple, straightforward, and true to himself. Yet Andrew was penalized. His teacher circled the word “Jesus” on the rough draft and deducted a point saying, “He and another child did a poem about Christ. I know we can’t discuss these type [sic] of things in school so I asked the two of them to do another poem of their choice.”[1]

Though the teacher did finally allow the poem and graded it fairly compared to all the others, Andrew and his parents wouldn’t let the world’s petty persecution steal one ounce of the blessing that they have in Christ. Neither should you! Hunger for what God provides for you in the Savior born in the manger, the Savior who journeyed to and through the cross, the Savior who provides God’s blessings for life now and forever! You’ll be blessed if you do! PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, give us a hunger for you in these days, a hunger to receive and share your blessings as your people. AME