Sunday, May 17, 2015

Devotion 5.18.15

Inspired from the Men's Retreat - Things that interfere with our relationship with Christ

George Will is an avid baseball fan (as well as Pulitzer Prize winning editorialist).  He has written on the game frequently and has a book to his name about baseball (Men at Work). Will considers himself a purist of the game, and as such, he finds the side acts during baseball a distraction. The true fan of the game goes for the game, but baseball has found ways to make a great deal of money with the side shows. In Houston, we have the "Chick-Fil-A Fowl Pole" that separates foul balls from home runs.  There are the Landry Crawford Street Boxes.  There is the Coca-Cola section in center field.  There are the races between innings sponsored by....  Between each inning there is something, and it is annoying.  Yet it raises the almighty dollar, so the fan can afford to go to the game and spend only an average of $120 per game.

As we look at those things that come between us and our worship of Christ, we can look at Cash.  Money provides needed ministries and programs to connect people to the Word of God, but like the "stuff" in baseball, when does it become a distraction?

Christ comes into the temple and sees money-changers and people selling pigeons for sacrifices.  The explanatory note the study bible says this was common for the traveler who came to Jerusalem on their pilgrimage. Yet it didn't please Christ as the Matthew account says, "And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple." (21:12)  What angered him?  Might it have been the distraction of vendors trading and selling in the temple from worship of his Father, our Father?  "It is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of robbers,'" (v 13)

Christ came in and saw vendors taking space, regardless of the reason.  Oh sure, it was for ministry reasons, or so the explanatory note in the study bible says, but had it gone too far?  Did the church begin to take on the money generated by the lenders?  From what Christ said, it had.

Cash can be a distraction for us in the church.  And our focus on it to have a "better ministry or ministries" CAN take away from the simple truth of God's Word as the central focus.  Our relationship with God comes from hearing God's Word through song, scripture, and sermons, prayer, and through the sacraments.  We pray that God give us the ability to focus and not let other "things" take away from hearing God's Word and sharing His Word with others.  We pray that when we need money, it is only to serve Him better and to bring meaning to the ministry of God's Word.

Hope Men's Ministry

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