January 19, Tuesday

Editor’s Note: The AMI QT devotionals from Jan. 18-22 are provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (Ph.D.) who is the AMI Teaching Pastor.  He and Insil have been married for 28+ years and they have three children: Christy (teacher), Joshua (grad student) and Justin (college freshman).  They live in Philadelphia.

Devotional Thoughts for Today

Acts 1:20-6

“For,” said Peter, “it is written in the Book of Psalms: ‘May his place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in it,’ and, ‘May another take his place of leadership.’ 21 Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us, 22 beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection. 23 So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. 24 Then they prayed, ‘Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen 25 to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.’ 26 Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.”

BradyWhat’s harder than replacing Tom Brady as the quarterback for New England Patriots? Try replacing the father of a teenager girl. That’s the predicament an old friend faced when he married a woman with a daughter in the middle school. Unfortunately, to the daughter he was never more than an unworthy replacement—it didn’t end well.

Matthias also faced a similar situation. While he wasn’t exactly replacing a “Brady,” the position itself was a big shoe to fill. Now, it wasn’t as if he was under qualified, since he at least met the requirement of being with the Lord and the original disciples “the whole time” and a witness to the resurrection. But Matthias might not have met the higher criteria: “The thing that marks an apostle—signs, wonders and miracles” (2 Cor. 12:12), which apostle Paul, who came later, met.

Now, once Matthias was chosen to replace Judas by virtue of what, to some, appeared to be pure luck (casting lots), he promptly disappeared into the annals of obscurity; he is never mentioned again after Acts 1. Meanwhile, imagine what Matthias had to endure as a replacement, in view of the fact that some people had the gall to question Paul’s apostleship; so much so that he declared, “I do not think I am in the least inferior to those ‘super-apostles” (2 Cor. 11:5, 12:11). They probably called Matthias the “lucky” apostle.

So, whatever happened to him? Sometimes no news can be good news; and since we hear neither good nor bad news about Matthias, here is hoping that there was no bad news to report because he stayed out of trouble, unlike Judas. As for the absence of good news, perhaps his ministry philosophy was founded on Matthew 6:1: “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them.’” And then he might have clung to 1 Corinthians 4:5b: “Wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.” I hope Matthias was praised.

Meanwhile, let us cultivate a spirituality that does not seek attention from people. For instance, resist the urge to post your latest spiritual accomplishment on FB. How about keeping it just between you and Jesus.

Prayer

God, though I say You are the Chairman of the board of my life, I often seek to be noticed by men; I’m not even sure why I post what I post on my FB. Teach me to worship and serve You, my King, in secrecy. Teach me to cherish Your approval in Christ. May the Spirit fill me today for a fruitful labor. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Genesis 14

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Lunch Break Study

Read Matt. 6:1-4: “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

Col. 1:3-4: We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people—

1 Cor. 14:18: I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you.

Questions to Consider

  1. It is the new norm to expose ourselves to the whole world to witness what we are doing, including our private time spent with God. In light of the Matthew passage, what should we watch out for?
  2. Matthias, once chosen to be one of the twelve disciples, disappeared into obscurity as far as history is concerned. If you were Matthias, what would you have hoped as you breathed your last breath?
  3. In what ways did Paul “expose” his private spiritual life with the public? When it is okay to do it? How are you doing with this? Please think before you post on the social media; don’t do it mindlessly.

Notes

  1. We need to watch out for overexposing our spirituality and good deeds in the name of ministry or just wanting to “share.” As 1 Cor. 4:5 asserts, we need to check our motive before we publicly share what we do in private. It is something that we need to struggle with because we do need to share!
  2. Matthias might have said: “I don’t care what people think of me; as long as God approves of my life and rewards me in heaven for what little I did in His name, I am okay with being obscure among men.”
  3. Through these two verses, we find that Paul was praying for the Colossians and spoke in tongues more than anyone else. Here, Paul’s motive is more important than the act itself. In the case of the Colossians whom he had never met, his disclosure probably made his epistle more personable to them. With respect to the Corinthians who were abusing the practice of speaking in tongues, Paul was, in fact, saying, “Hey, I speak as a seasoned practitioner; stop abusing that gift!”

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Evening Reflection

Everyday life is such that we say and do things without any rehearsal beforehand. Undoubtedly, the “raw” things we say and do as an unfiltered reaction to others show the core of our being. So, in looking back to today, what did you discover about yourself with respect to God? Do you care more about what men think of you than what God thinks? Do you love the praise from men more than from God? These are sobering questions—but necessary ones. Reflect. Make adjustments as you repent

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