April 25, 2017
“But woe to him who is alone when he falls.” (Ecclesiastes 4:10)
Have you observed how much Jesus valued community? He taught: “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20) He also gave a great teaching regarding prayer community: “When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action.” (Matthew 18:19, The Message)
When Jesus made that observation about being present when two or three gather in His name he was not giving us a consolation for poor attendance at a meeting. Jesus was being descriptive and prescriptive about the reality that His risen presence is among us in a special way when just two or three of us come together in His name.
King Solomon, thought to be the wisest man on earth in his day, also wrote about the value of community. He tells us in Ecclesiastes 4: “two are better than one, for when one falls the other will help him up.” Then, in verse 12: “a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” This could mean that when two or three are in community, the presence of God among them forms the threefold cord that cannot be easily broken.
Are you in community? If you are not, follow the teaching of our Lord and the wise counsel of Solomon to seek spiritual community. I’m not telling you to just go to church. I am writing about that special relationship with two or three people where you have accountability and deep sharing of life and faith. If you cannot find one, start one.
It only takes you and one other person.
Dick Woodward, 19 April 2013
August 6, 2013
“Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for Him is a waste of time or effort.” (1 Corinthians 15:58, The Message)
We are exhorted by the Apostle John to confess Jesus Christ (1 John 4). That is a compound Greek word that means to speak the same thing or to agree with the values of Jesus. I challenge you to clarify your value system and apply these eternal values I have focused for you. The eighth and final eternal value is: the work of God is a greater value than the works of man.
In his two swan songs (Psalm 127 and the book of Ecclesiastes) Solomon told us it is possible to work very hard in vain our entire lives when we work for the wrong things.
Many years ago a Methodist missionary, who had labored in India for fifty years, was saying farewell to the people of India, whom he loved very much. He had won the respect of many of the large gathering of influential, high-caste Indian political and professional leaders who gathered for his farewell address. After he proclaimed the Gospel that night in the mighty energizing power of the Holy Spirit, his concluding words to them were: “If what I have told you tonight and for the past fifty years isn’t true, it doesn’t matter; but, if what I have told you is true, then nothing else matters!”
I want to conclude my perspective on these eternal values the same way that missionary concluded his message to those leaders in India. If what I have written about the meaning of these eternal values isn’t true, then what I have written here doesn’t matter. But, if what I have written here is true, then nothing else matters!