FIRST WEEK OF LENT FEBRUARY 18
WEEK OF EMAILS AND CARDS
“For everyone to whom much is given, from him shall much be required.”
Scripture: Luke 12:48
The parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30) speaks on a basic literal level of the Lord’s expectation that we will exercise appropriate stewardship of all which is given to us for our use in honoring Him. The Methodist approach demands a more active participation in our faith, regarding us all as servants following the example of Christ in serving others. Our deeds are a giving of ourselves, not merely of our treasure.
Our gifts, however, are not only our financial resources that the parable’s master doles out to his three servants in various amounts, as he believes each is able to handle. Just as the master expects them to realize a proportional return on what he has given them, I believe we, too, are expected to recognize and develop the many different gifts the Lord has blessed us with. Some of us serve with a casserole, some a hug, some an understanding word or prayer, some just a presence, spending quiet time with someone troubled and waiting for a sign of what is needed.
And how can we show the power of our faith in our everyday interactions with family, friends and those we don’t even know yet? With both random and intentional acts of kindness. With a positive attitude that seeks opportunities to uplift the passing conversation. We do these things all the time. They are our very natures. We need only to recognize them as the gifts that they truly are and strive to become more conscious in expanding our individual ministries for Christ.
Yes, God’s love is unconditional. We fully expect St. Peter to welcome us with open arms, not review our report cards with us. But doesn’t God deserve to know from our own actions freely given how much we truly appreciate all He continues to do for us each day? Perhaps expressing gratefulness is not His expectation, but one that I choose to place upon myself.
Prayer: Lord, please help us to recognize all the blessings you have showered upon us and to use these gifts to spread your bounteous love in all our interactions with others. Amen
Scripture: Psalm 9:10
Last February, we added our granddaughter and her dog Sammy to our household. Sammy found the adjustment difficult. He didn’t believe he would be taken for a walk in a timely fashion and often had ‘accidents’; He thought he was being abandoned when we left him home alone and his barking annoyed the neighbors; He was afraid we wouldn’t come back when we left him at our son’s while we traveled. He wasn’t happy and neither were we.
As time went by Sammy learned that he could count on us to take him for walks several times a day. He learned to trust that when we promised we’d be back soon, we would be.
And he found that his new house sitter liked him, enjoyed his company and that, eventually. we would come pick him up. He learned to trust us.
Sammy reminds me of my relationship with God. Sometimes I forget that God takes care of my needs and I don’t need to do it by myself. Sometimes I feel abandoned and left alone. I have even ‘lost’ God and feared he wouldn’t come back. Like Sammy, I have had to learn to trust that God keeps His promises and that I can depend on Him.
Prayer: Lord, help me to trust you and to be someone others can trust as well. Amen
For all the Saints who have gone before us
Scripture: Hebrews 12:1-2
One of my favorite writers, who has many hymns printed in our hymnal, is Fanny Crosby, who lived from 1820-1915. She wrote the words to Blessed Assurance, a hymn that has brought comfort to me and many during periods of doubt. Fanny also wrote I am Thine, O Lord, a hymn which spoke to me during my call to ministry. God called me to serve Him, after going forward following an altar call by my pastor Bob Wilt at my home church in Pomeroy, PA in 1978. Satan immediately cast doubts in my heart about whether it was truly God calling me. But the Lord spoke through Fanny’s words saying, “I am thine, O Lord. I have heard thy voice.” The second verse begins with the words, “Consecrate me now to thy service Lord.” I was certain God wanted me in His service. Fanny was a blessing to me at this special moment in my life. At the time, I thought I would become an overseas missionary, but three weeks after my call, my then pastor asked me to marry him. I have tried to be a supportive wife over the past 39 years as we together serve the Lord. Someday, we hope to be counted as part of “the great crowd of witnesses” who have shared our faith with others.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for the host of saints who have gone before us. Thank you for their faith and witness. Thank you for the hymn writers and composers who speak to us through the words of their songs. Strengthen us through the power of your Holy Spirit to become the witnesses for the next generation so that your church universal will continue to grow strong in coming years. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Thought for the Day: How can the Lord use you today to become a part of the “cloud of witnesses”?