Genesis 31-35; Matthew 12-13

Week Number
8

Several years ago I had the profound joy of visiting someone who was dying of multiple brain tumors. Yes, Raeann was dying, and, yes, our visit was joyous. Raeann had become a follower of Jesus Christ. She spoke about what a difference her belief in Jesus had made, both in her life and in her fear of dying. She knew that her day of judgment was going to be a joyous occasion because of Jesus. This had not always been Raeann’s story.

For her first forty years, Raeann had been neutral about Jesus. Even when dealing with a rare and deadly form of breast cancer two years earlier, she remained neutral. But something happened. God continued to seek her while friends and family continued to tell her about Jesus. One day she said “yes” to Jesus and became a new person.

With that “yes” Raeann entered into a relationship with Jesus that offered incalculable value for this life and the life to come. The joy of her new relationship with Jesus replaced the hopelessness, fear, and regret that hovered near her during the years she lived on the edge of death. Raeann’s death would not bring the “weeping and gnashing of teeth” that Jesus warned about for those who die without accepting His forgiveness of sin (Matt. 13:42,49). Raeann had been rescued!

But Raeann’s story didn’t end with her rescue. She still had this life to complete, and she needed more seasoned Christians to help her grow in her knowledge of God and to ensure that her growth in Christ was not choked out by the hardships of this world (Matt. 13:21). How do we become the kind of believers that Raeann needed in her new journey with Christ?

Ways to fulfill our responsibility as believers:

You are already taking one important step if you are reading through the Bible, God’s living word to us (Heb. 4:12). It’s easy to glance over the word “living” when applied to Scripture. But it is exactly that, and by reading and studying all of it, our lives are enhanced and changed in a different way than when reading only selected portions. Reading all of God’s Word is one way to gain the knowledge of Jesus that He says we need in Matthew 13:12.

Pray. Pray that God will cause us to care deeply about unbelievers and their fate. Pray that God will prepare their hearts to accept the good news of Jesus Christ and that we will have the courage to tell them the story of our relationship with Him. Pray that all believers’ understanding of Jesus grows.

Take action. We need to be conscious of whose hearts have been prepared by the Holy Spirit to hear about a relationship with Jesus. Not everyone is receptive, so we need God’s help in knowing when we should be planters, harvesters, teachers, or one who prays behind the scenes on behalf of others.

Jesus revealed His thoughts on this subject in Matthew 12:30, a verse that caused me to stop and think hard. He said, “Anyone who isn’t helping me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.” Those are strong and even harsh words. But, in reality, we do make a difference for all eternity to the people whose lives we touch either by our action or inaction.

We’ve been called to action by Jesus. What is our answer?

 

© 2010 Arlina Yates
 

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