Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries
Jan. 16, 2018
John 11:26b - (Jesus said) "Do you believe this?"
It's been a good number of years now, probably two-dozen or so, back when I was still in the parish, that we came to that Sunday in spring when we set our clocks forward. You know, "spring forward, fall back."
As the resetting of the clocks took place on Saturday night, and I didn't want any of my people to miss church, the Sunday before I warned everybody: "Remember, next Saturday you have to set your clocks forward. Don't set them backward."
I could see people were getting their coats on and most weren't paying attention. That's why I said it again. "Remember, next Saturday set your clocks forward." Then just to be sure, I added, "Did everybody get that? Next Saturday you're going to do what?"
Three or four out of the 400 in attendance at that service sort of muttered, "Set our clock forward."
"Good," I added, "I just wanted to make sure you knew that next Saturday you are going to set your clocks forward."
I slept well that week. I had done a good job. Sunday came. We had church.
We had a fine attendance. After I said goodbye at the door, I and my family went home. We had dinner. We sat down to watch the football game. At 1:05 p.m., there was a knock on my door. There stood one of the congregation's faithful families: a father, a mother, two young girls. Everybody was obviously dressed up to go to church. Without a moment's hesitation, the father asked, "Pastor, why isn't anybody here for eleven o'clock church? We set our clocks back an hour just like you told us to do."
I smiled. He didn't.
The family got invited in. We had a nice visit. They went home, and I kept my promise, at least until now, that I would never tell anybody.
Now the reason I share that story is because I've found that people don't generally pay very good attention, and sometimes they hear the exact opposite of what you're trying to convey. That's something which has to be incredibly frustrating to the Lord. He told Adam and Eve not to eat from the one tree and what did they do? They ate, and did so eagerly.
Read through Scripture, and you will find people didn't listen.
They still don't. The Lord says "The wages of sin is death" and "The soul which sins will die," but people don't hear Him. Or if they do, they refuse to pay attention. That is an incredibly dangerous thing for them to do.
On the Gospel side of things, Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die" (John 11:25b-26). When He asks, "Do you believe this?" they don't.
My friends, we need to pray for people like that. For whatever reason, the condition of their heart does not allow the Word to take root, grow, and produce faith, and the actions of faith. Let us ask the Lord to do what is necessary so that when He speaks, they listen ... and they believe.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, the boy Samuel once said "Speak Lord, for Thy servant heareth." May we, and all those around us, have the same willingness to hear and trust in You and Your Word, which points us to our Savior, Christ the Lord. In His Name we pray. Amen.
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It's been a good number of years now, probably two-dozen or so, back when I was...