Note: The AMI QT Devotionals for November 21-27 are provided by Pastor Yohan Lee of Radiance Christian Church in San Francisco, CA.
Devotional Thought for Today
They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated—38 of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
If you are like most Americans, you probably watched your share of movies this holiday weekend. You younger and hipper folks out there probably went to the theaters; cheap and lame folk like myself just turned on the television and found a Star Wars marathon on TBS, a bunch of superhero movies on TNT, more action movies on FX, and of course rom-coms on Oxygen. Because I am male, I am slightly ashamed to admit that I’ve watched my share of rom-coms. One somewhat common theme we see in this genre is the bad guy turned good by the right girl. In theory, it’s a cute plot, but now that I have daughters, I hate it. I hate it because Hollywood is trying to sell us a love story that the guy in these movies has no business buying. Example, when Jack Nicholson tells Helen Hunt in the 1997 film As Good as It Gets that “She makes me want to be a better man,” the audience is touched and everyone hopes these two get together. We neglect the fact that Nicholson played an OCD, narcissistic, jerk who was not good enough for Hunt’s character. I would never want my daughter dating a guy like that! Don’t try to convince my daughters that this is a great love story! By the way, I’ve heard many a college student and young man use that cheesy line to make would-be girlfriends swoon. Ladies be warned—it comes from a movie!
All kidding aside, I think we all romantics at heart in our movies. We don’t care if the lead man is noble in character or actually worthy of the love of the girl he pursuits, as long as the film makes us feel good. When I read today’s passage, the author of Hebrews reminds us of many great men and women of God who loved God and his people so fiercely, yet were not loved in return. In fact, just the opposite, they were stoned, sawed in two, and killed. His description of these people hits the description of these people on the head, the world was not worthy of them (vs. 38).
Truthfully, not much has changed since the first-century. Some of the greatest men and women of God have loved the people of this world, and have gotten very little or nothing at all in return (think Mother Theresa types who served lepers in Calcutta). And if you find yourself feeling like this, meaning you have been serving a people who don’t seem to appreciate your efforts or are not changing, then I want to encourage you to press on. Christian life can be tough at times; we are called to love and pray for those who persecute us. We do this because we have faith that this is what our Lord would have us do. We imitate his example, knowing that our efforts will be rewarded. If you think about it, the Gospel is the ultimate rom-com in which an utterly worthless people are loved and pursued by a worthy and good God. Will you do the same?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for your example. You loved and sacrificed for a people who were not worthy of your love and sacrifice. Help me to follow your example, to love and serve a people who may not respond in kind, because I have faith in you.
Bible Reading for Today: Proverbs 16