Devotion: Monday, July 29, 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 Colossians 2:6-8, where the Bible says,
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. 8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.
MAN, THAT’S LIVING!
I remember a story that was told to me to illustrate the truth that whatever you have earned or amassed in this life, when it matters most, “You can’t take it with you!” The story was meant to get us thinking about the meaning and purpose of living life now and forever. It was the story of an extremely wealthy man who REFUSED to believe that he couldn’t take it with him. He lived his whole life with a disdain for the idea. He lived life at a feverish pace, buying and selling, selling and buying, accumulating, accumulating, accumulating. His life was a demonstration of the principle that REAL LIVING IS THE PURSUIT AND OWNERSHIP OF MATERIAL THINGS! But he wasn’t satisfied with this. He wanted to take it with him. So, in his will, he left all of his money to himself. He was to have all his assets sold and buried with Him. He told the undertaker to bury him in his 1989 Cadillac Seville, dressed in his $2500.00 hand-sewn silk suit, with his money stuffed in the car.
In order to fulfill his wishes even at the point of death, he instructed the undertaker to hire a crane operator to lift the car with him behind the wheel with all the money stuffed around, and to lower all of this into his grave. While the car was being hoisted into the grave, one of the men who had dug the grave said to another worker, “MAN, THAT’S REALLY LIVING.”
Well, according to the Bible, NO…. IT’S NOT!! In fact, living like that is really being DEAD WHILE YOU LIVE! The painful reality of life is that ALL THE EARTHLY STUFF GOES BACK IN THE BOX WHEN IT’S OVER, literally and figuratively. But that’s why Paul calls us to focus our attention on our new life in Christ, now and forever. He points out that even the best things of this sinful world are hollow and deceptive without Jesus. It’s a hard lesson to learn. But money can’t save us and it can’t fulfill our lives. Politics can’t save us; it won’t give us the purpose in life that we so desperately need. Even our technology and education won’t amount to much when the big questions of life need to be answered. Only Jesus, and a relationship with Him, can do that because He is your Savior and your Redeemer, the one who can make God’s love come alive in you now and forever.
Paul says that real living starts and endures when we receive Christ by grace through faith, and then continue to live in Him, “rooted and built up in Him” to serve others with the thankfulness that such a life engenders (Colossians 2:7).
So today, it’s back to basics. How’s your relationship with Him? Are you connected to Him by the reading and contemplating of His Word? Are you living in the promises of your Baptism? Are you connected to the gifts of His Supper? Are you hearing His Word in worship? That’s the essence of living! Then are you also growing up in your faith as you mature in your service to other in His Name? That too is important (see Ephesians 4:13-15) because you are made alive in Him for the sake of others!
One of my favorite passages in the Bible is when Jesus says that we are to receive the kingdom of God “like a little child” (Luke 18:17). There Jesus is talking about the attitude that trusts in Him as a little child trusts in his/her parents. YES, RECEIVE THE KINGDOM LIKE A CHILD! But also GROW UP in that faith in service to others. We should all want to grow up in that CHILD-LIKE FAITH, not GROW OUT OF our child-like faith, because that’s what real living is all about!
PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, give me the child-like confidence that trusts in your word always, even as I seek to grow up, living life maturely and capably for others in Your name. AMEN.