1 Chronicles 28-29; John 9:24-41
As a young man, Robert Robinson (1735–1790) enjoyed getting into trouble with his friends, so the stories go. At age 17, though, he heard a sermon by George Whitefield from Matthew 3:7, and realized his need for salvation in Christ. The Lord changed Robinson’s life, and he became a preacher. He also wrote several hymns, including his best-known “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.”
Lately I’ve been pondering God’s amazing grace toward us and the last stanza of that hymn: “O to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be!” The hymn brings to mind the apostle Paul’s words: “The love of Christ compels [or constrains] us . . . that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again” (2 Cor. 5:14-15).
We can’t earn God’s love and grace. But because He has lavished it on us, how can we help but love Him in return by living for Him! I’m not exactly sure what that looks like, but it must include drawing near to Him, listening to His Word, serving Him, and obeying Him out of gratitude and love.
As debtors, we are called to live each day for Jesus who gave Himself for us. Our Daily Bread.
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise. —Robinson
Exodus 29-30; Matthew 21:23-46
A friend once told me, “In my lifetime I’ve seen a lot of things change, and I’ve been against them all!” Perhaps he overstated the point, but many of us would agree that we don’t like change—especially if it involves altering our habits and attitudes.
That’s one reason Jesus was so unpopular among the Pharisees. He challenged their long-established system of good works and self-righteous living. Consider the incident when the town “sinner” entered the home of the town “saint” in Luke 7. Simon the Pharisee wasn’t impressed with the woman’s lavish display of affection for Jesus. Reading Simon’s self-righteous thoughts, Jesus immediately challenged his flawed perception of his own goodness by telling the story of two debtors—one who owed much to his master and one who owed less. “Which of them will love him more?” Jesus asked (v.42). Obviously, the one who had been forgiven more. Speaking to Simon’s I-feel-pretty-good-about-myself attitude, Jesus said, “to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little” (v.47).
The challenge is clear. Lulled into thinking how good we are, our love for Jesus wanes because we have forgotten that we too are among the ones “forgiven much.” And when that happens, ready or not, it’s time for a change!
Forgive us, Lord, for failures past,
Then help us start anew
With strength and courage to obey
And closely follow You. —Sper
When God starts changing things, He usually begins with changing us. Our Daily Bread.