One of the pleasures of being home again is the ability to have a quiet morning devotion in my favorite chair. Yes, I take my Bible with me when I travel, and I do try to read it every day, even on the road. That is, I make an effort.
But it is not the same as that comforting ritual here at home. This morning I was reading in Luke 13:22-24, where Jesus is teaching the people. Someone asks him, "Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?"
Now there is a loaded question! However, Jesus does not answer it directly with a "yes" or a "no". Instead, he cautions the listeners to "make every effort" to enter through the narrow door.
Once a pair of women knocked on my door, to offer me their literature and doctrine on the new heaven and new earth. They were of that cult that teaches that only 144,000 individuals will actually go to heaven.
My little sister, who was about twelve at the time, happened to be visiting me that day. After I chatted briefly with the two ladies, politely declined their offered brochures, and closed the door, my sister asked me what they were doing. When I explained that, among other things, they believed that only 144,000 were going to heaven, she immediately quipped, "Well, what were they doing? Selling tickets?"
No, but they were making an effort to share what they believed. It was a misguided, but well-intended effort. It is easy to feel superior, but how many of my efforts have been well-intended but misguided? Only heaven knows.
In the passage noted above, Jesus admonishes his listeners to "Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to."
I don't know about you, but sometimes I feel like I have done the best I could, made an effort, so to speak, but ran out of steam before I could fully accomplish my goal. At those times, I find myself both tired and discouraged.
However, at other times, I know that I have made every effort, to follow through, to exercise self-discipline, to reach out the hand of reconciliation, or to just walk another mile with someone in need. At such times, I may indeed still be tired, but I am not drained. I find God gives me extra strength to carry on, to go the distance, to make every effort.
It occurs to me that I need to spend less time just "making an effort" (perhaps a half-hearted one just to satisfy my own or another's desire for some action) and instead spend more time "making every effort" to find the narrow way, the one approved by God, the one that leaves me satisfied, fulfilled and renewed. ...
It's just a thought.
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God bless your efforts to serve him well today. ...Marsha
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (Galatians 6:9-10) NIV