Read: 1 Corinthians 7:29-35.
The lectionary text ends at verse 31, but without verses 32-35, the heart of Paul’s thought can be missed. Paul originally anticipated that Christ’s return would happen in his own lifetime. Attention to marital matters, grief over the death of a loved one, concern for possessions, and daily schedules and responsibilities detract from the higher attention to “devotion to the Lord” (v. 35). What is helpful for us today is to be reminded that routine tasks can dominate our thoughts and we can miss the greater joy and calm that is ours through Christ. Our lives are finally, not measured by the demands of the day but by the steadfast love and faithfulness of God that is shown to us in Christ Jesus our Lord. Yes, be responsible for the sake of the love of neighbor, but do not be defined by any accomplishments or failures. Be known, understood, and loved as a child of the risen Lord. Then we are able to hear the heart of Paul’s message in verse 32: “I want you to be free from anxieties.” Be free, be attentive, be faithful, and, of course, experience God’s grace, mercy, and peace, not anxiety or fear. Indeed, isn’t this part of what Simon and Andrew and James and John experienced when they walked away from the beach to follow Jesus in Mark 1:14-20? When have you been able to let go of anxiety because of the greater good that God has in store for you?
Pray: God of yesterday, today, and tomorrow, give us peace to see you in the midst of all things, and let us be devoted to you through Christ our Lord. Amen.
There is much anxiety in people’s lives. Seek out someone you know who is experiencing frustrations or worries. Take time to listen to them and offer them a prayer of hope and comfort.
PRAYERS AND BLESSING
A Prayer for the Week: Dear God, my soul waits for you in silence; let me wait for you with confidence, peace, and hope through Jesus Christ. Amen. (Psalm 62:5-6)
Mealtime Prayer: In peace we eat this food before us; in faith we receive this food with thanksgiving. Amen.
A Blessing to Give: May the steadfast love of God be yours as you place your trust in the good news of Jesus Christ. (Psalm 62:12 and Mark 1:14)
Blessings to you all,
Like everything in 2020, Room in the Inn will look different this year. First Lutheran will not be opening the church for guests, but we are looking for volunteers to help at the RITI Central Shelter. First Lutheran plans to volunteer to feed up to 20 guests (has been much lower than that) at RITI campus on the below Mondays:
February 15 – need food and overnight volunteer
March 15 – need overnight volunteer only
If you are willing to provide food or have any questions, please contact Tricia Gordon at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-498-5694.
Being a Disciple
In order to be his disciple, we must follow Jesus. In addition to following him, Jesus informed his disciples that there are other requirements to being a disciple. In Mark 8:34 we read, “Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: ‘If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross
and follow Me.’ ” If we don’t turn away from Jesus’ call to be his disciples, we understand what John the Baptist said, “He must become greater; I must become less” (John 3:30). The disciple who
denies himself is unaware of himself and knows Christ only. By teaching us that we must deny ourselves, Jesus has prepared us to carry our crosses. Knowing
only him, we are unaware of the burdens of our crosses; we view our lives as disciples with joy. Disciples keep their eyes on Christ, without thinking of themselves, and “consider it pure joy . . .” (James 1:2) to face trials and testing of their faith.
Prayer: Lord, place in me a heart that seeks the lost. I pray for guidance, wisdom, and courage as I share your love with others. I thank you for the privilege of being your instrument to tell others about the life-saving Gospel. In your name I pray. Amen.
Blessings on your stewardship journey!
Readings for Next Week
Psalm 147: 1-11, 20c
1 Corinthians 9:16-23
Please contact the office or come by if you would like a copy of “CHRIST IN OUR HOME’ devotional for January, February, March 2021.