TODAY’S SCRIPTURE READING: 1 Corinthians chapters 9 through 16
SCRIPTURE: “If it is only for this life that we have put our hope in the Messiah, we are more pitiable than anyone. (I Corinthians 15:19)
OBSERVATION: Sometimes it’s hard to really identify with this verse. After all, being a Christian isn’t always easy, and truly there are some difficulties directly related to being a Christian, but it’s really not that bad. Not so bad that I would say that I am more pitiable or to be pitied than anyone. I think most western Christians would agree that even if there were no promise of eternal life, being a Christian isn’t that bad, and in many cases we have enjoyed wonderful temporal benefits as believers in Christ. But then I think of what it costs many of my believing brothers and sisters around the planet and I then I get this verse. (Whether I agree or not really doesn’t matter, it is still truth! I speak from a human perspective.) Many have lost their income, their homes, even their very lives for no other reason than that they believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and is deserving of worship and obedience. We’ve seen in recent years what the followers of ISIS have been doing to Christians. Those who keep track of such things tell us that more Christians are killed for the faith each year than all of those slaughtered during the reigns of the Caesars combined! Why would they endure such things? Because of the promise of eternal life. If there were no resurrection, no afterlife, we would shake our heads and say, “They are the most to be pitied on the planet to suffer such things for nothing.”
APPLICATION: I will not carry guilt for the blessings I enjoy in our country. God has truly blessed us and we enjoy life and liberty and peace to worship as we see fit. But at the same time, I will remember that right now there are wives crying for their husbands who were taken away in the night. There are children crying for their mothers who were murdered before their very eyes. There are parents who watched their children buried alive for the gospel. So today, I will thank God for their memory and the promise of eternal life. Comfortable people will mock us for believing what they consider to be foolishness. That’s alright, I’ll proudly stand alongside those “pitiful” people who confirm a hope of eternal life.
PRAYER: Today Lord, I pray for my suffering brothers and sisters. Because I am so blessed, I don’t consider myself pitiful to believe in eternal life. It costs me very little. But I add my prayers to the saints as we cry, “Come Lord Jesus,” because the pain is intense and the cost is dear. Bless those who this world considers pitiful.