Sunday, July 31, 2016

Devotion 8.1.16

And so as the weekend came, I discovered that the sinus congestion had turned into a full-fledged head-cold with a cough.  I awoke early Saturday morning to discover a very sore throat which ruined my plans for my Saturday.  I went to the walk-in clinic and was early, so I was able to see the doctor in no time, but the nurse came in first to get a list of my ailments.  She was German, given away by her accent, who came to the states after marrying a military man back in German.  I had to laugh as she asked me about my cough because she said, "Is it dry or productive?"

Leave it to the Germans to label to a cold symptom as productive or useless.  Fortunately that was as far as it went and there was no discussion as to the essence of the product produced by my cough.

That made me think about faith.  Are we dry or productive?  Had a call from Jon Ulmer last week (many of you remember Jon from our church and/or from Texas Tech University) to tell me about a time we co-taught Sunday School (ironically, I was looking at some old email exchanges from 2013 about that very topic).  Jon called to inform me that a student who had gone through the grad program, and about whom he commented when teaching one Sunday, had finally come to faith and was baptized last Sunday.  During our class in 2012 or 2013, he noted that the student was not of faith and that he tried, as you can as an educator in a public institution, to be open to her inquiries about faith. 

I was glad to hear that Jon's prayers and openness (as well as others I'm sure) had finally moved her heart to listen to the Spirit's desire for her to join the Christian faith.  So, when it comes to the idea and notion of being a "productive" Christian, how might that even be measured because the fruits of our labor may never be seen or witnessed.

As was noted by then-District President Louis Pabor in 1991 from a story he once heard, "I didn't find the world desolate when I came into it, and as my fathers planted for me before I was born, so do I plant for those who come after me." ("Plant a Tree..." Feb 1991 Lutheran Witness)  As we hear Christ in Luke 8, "The seed is the word of God... As for the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience." (v 11 and 15)

So, Jon planted a seed that he may never have known took root and resulted in a woman coming to faith, and hopefully each of us are doing that daily, working the soil to nurture the Word of God in those who are open and receptive and praying that the Spirit use us to be those "productive" Christians, not dry Christians.

Pray that we seize moments and opportunities to nurture the Word of God to the lost and that the Spirit work that faith in their hearts.

Hope Men's Ministry

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