August 29

Matthew 11-12, Psalm 87

My wife and I were very young when we were married, only 21 years old. Our family was not very pleased with our decision and after we were married there were some open arguments and some cold wars. After marriage I then went on to medical school and soon after in my third year of medical school I began to read the Bible and shortly after turned my life to Jesus and accepted Him as my Lord and Savior. This seemed to further alienate me to the rest of my family as I was deemed a Jesus Freak. Though I loved my family there were years that I felt they respected nothing that I stood for that or I had become which was often a source of sadness. I remember going to my niece's wedding 25 years ago, still feeling this way, when I met my oldest brother's friends from work at the wedding. I had never met any of them before. One of them came over to me and said to me, "so you are Eddie's youngest brother, John, that he often speaks about". They all joined in an it was a little embarrassing but shocking when I realized that though I perceived that my brother had no respect for anything that I stood for, I never realized that in fact he felt just the opposite, just never really knew how he felt. We so often make the mistake of seeking affirmation on earth for the life we live, and somehow think that no one notices. But we make a mistake, in that the only One who truly matters does notice.

We read in Matthew 11:2, that John the Baptist sent two of his disciples to ask Jesus a question. While his disciples are there Jesus answers their question. We then read in Matthew 11:7-11, "As they departed, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: "What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?...But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet...Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist;...". John never heard these words while on earth, for his disciples had left when Jesus made these comments known. We make a mistake when we care if the world notices what we do in service for the Lord. Jesus said in Matthew 10:26, "Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known." The world may not notice, but God sees it all. How often we live our lives in fear of others and their reactions to us, but Jesus said in 10:28, "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." Our life will find true meaning when it is lived in service to Him, not as social media is used for to be noticed and admired by others. We read in 10:39, "He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it." Martyred missionary, Jim Eliot, said before his death, "He is no fool who loses what he cannot keep, in order to gain what he cannot lose."

Each of us walks around with different burdens which weigh us down. It could be our children, our parents, our spouses, paying the bills, our jobs, etc. For some it is the feeling of going through life unnoticed and the burden that our lives don't matter. Jesus said in Matthew ll:28-30, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." A yoke was placed around a pair of oxen to help pull a load. Jesus offers Himself to take the lead and carry our burdens for us. Whatever our burdens are, we can lift them off of us and give them to Jesus. If you feel the burden of going unnoticed, simply serve the God who always notices. If we feel weighed down by the weight of our family troubles, realize that we are simply stewards, nothing more. Our children have always belonged to Him and not really us. We are simply to be faithful to Him in how we raise them, but ultimately they are His and the choices that our family members make is between them and their Father in heaven. Christians should be the most free, joyous, unburdened people alive, but often we refuse to take Jesus at His offer and don't experience the life He offers us.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster