March 13, Monday

The AMI QT Devotionals from March 13-20 are provided by Pastor Jason Sato of OTR in Cincinnati.  Jason, a graduate of UC San Diego (B.S.) and Westminster Theological Seminary in California (M.Div.), is married to Jessica, and they have two young children: Jonah and Lily. 

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT FOR TODAY

The Right to Surrender Our Rights

1 Corinthians 9:7-12 (ESV)

Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock without getting some of the milk? [8] Do I say these things on human authority? Does not the Law say the same? [9] For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned? [10] Does he not certainly speak for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of sharing in the crop. [11] If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? [12] If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more?  Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ.

Some of America’s most celebrated heroes are those who stood up for their rights and the rights of others: Cesar Chavez fought for migrant workers’ rights; Susan B. Anthony fought for women’s rights; Martin Luther King Jr. fought for civil rights.  They were courageous and inspirational. They are still admired today and rightly so.

But the heroes of the Christian faith are surprisingly different.  They did not fight for their rights but willingly surrendered them: Abraham surrendered his home and even his son, Isaac; the apostle Paul surrendered his bright future, his right to be paid for his labors and his safety; and of course, Jesus surrendered His glory and even His life.

Yes, the American heroes mentioned earlier made great sacrifices as well.  But the heroes of the faith did not surrender their rights to further the rights of others, knowing that rights are important but not ultimate.  Their rights became disposable in light of their greatest treasure; they laid down their rights to invite all people to receive King Jesus.

According to the Declaration of Independence, all men possess the unalienable rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  Is it possible that there is something more important than the safety and livelihoods of our families?  Is it possible that there is something more important than our freedom to control our own futures?  Is it possible that there is something more important than the happiness that the things of this world can bring?

According to the Word of God, the answer is “yes,” and that “thing” is the Good News of Jesus Christ going forth to every nation, bringing eternal salvation to the world.

Prayer: Father, often my desires and rights hinder me from spreading your Good News.  Give me Your strength that I may hold these gifts from You with open hands.  May all things find their proper place in Your purposes and not my own.

Bible Reading for Today: Matthew 1


LUNCH BREAK STUDY

Read Luke 12:13-15 (ESV):  Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” [14] But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” [15] And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

Question to Consider

  1. Is it possible that the man in the crowd who called out to Jesus had a legal claim on the inheritance?
  2. Why does Jesus reject the role of judge in this matter?
  3. What sin lies underneath this man’s “rights”?

Notes

  1. Yes, in the Ancient Near East, the eldest son received a double portion of the inheritance but the other children received their shares over what’s left.
  2. While God is a God of justice, Jesus didn’t come to earth solely to make the world an economically equitable place (“the poor you have with you always”).
  3. The sin of covetousness.

EVENING REFLECTION

Reflect on your day.  What rights did God invite you to surrender to Him for a gospel purpose?  Pray for grace and strength to put His purposes before your rights and needs.

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