Thought for the Week - 2nd AugustVanda Hopkin
Galatians 2: 20
‘’I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.’’
In 2 Kings we read the story of Naaman, a great army commander and an honourable man held in high regard by the King and people. Naaman, as mighty as he was, suffered to his embarrassment with a skin condition for which he travelled to Israel seeking healing from the prophet Elisha. Elisha however did not meet with Naaman in person and sent a messenger instructing him to wash in the dirty river Jorden 7 times to be restored. Naaman was furious that Elisha sent a servant and did not come in person to heal him, and as a man of honour he would have felt this was belittling. Elisha’s instruction was very simple, yet Naaman required a great deal of persuading to do it. When he eventually did, he dipped his body in the river 7 times and was healed.
God gives us guidance and is often very plain in His dealings with us, yet we like Naaman can think it too basic a teaching, too simple for us as we look for the exciting and the obscure. We go searching here and there, rushing to this person and that person for their guidance, all the while overlooking the basic instructions God gives to us. Is it any wonder that we don’t move forward, or things get difficult as we overlook the instructions God gives us? He tells us what to do but we don’t see it.
I’ve enjoyed knitting during lockdown but I have found that the more complicated the patterns are the more closely I focus on them, and it is the basic ones that I think I already know that I make mistakes on. I make mistakes because I don’t to refer to the guidance or look at what the pattern is telling me to do.
In Galatians we read some of the basics of Christian life. These basics, of presenting ourselves as living sacrifice to God, and the laying down of our lives for Christ who laid down His life for us, can get very lost. The law of sacrifice is the greatest law on heaven and earth.
Over lockdown you may have been taking back your life bit by bit, looking after and protecting yourself, but God says that whoever shall save his life shall lose it, and whoever shall lose his life for Christ shall find it, (Matthew 16:25). This world will tell you to look after yourself, but God tells us to let go of ourselves and take care of others and the glory of God.
‘’And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith’’ (Galatians 2:9-10)
We may still not be able to go to church or out visiting, but people are still in need, they still need saving, they are still struggling and in need of being cared for. We can still give of ourselves, we can still phone, text, and support one another. These are the basics of God’s instruction for our lives, to love one another as He loved us, encourage and do for one another, and do so with compassion and a tender heart.