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
1 Corinthians 9:16 (ESV)
For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!
My daughter, around her second birthday, more or less potty-trained herself; my wife and I simply acted as cheerleaders. Now, when a toddler uses the toilet, you congratulate and celebrate; the child should feel proud and accomplished. However, when a forty-year-old man properly uses the toilet, it would be an odd moment to give hi-fives.
The apostle Paul declares that preaching the gospel gives him “no ground for boasting.” He is not doing anything noteworthy; this is not a spectacular achievement. He is simply doing his duty, fulfilling his ordinary responsibility as a Christian; in fact, to neglect preaching the gospel is not neutral but a warrant for being cursed! Of course, God does not judge us when we stumble through evangelism. He is not disappointed by our lack of skill or our growing pains, just as a parent knows that “accidents” are inevitable for a potty-training child.
At the same time, imagine a smug businessman in a well-tailored suit, who is wearing a diaper over his pants. Christian “maturity” without a growing ability to share our faith is, likewise, out of place, to say the least. There are many elements to a growing faith and we are not to neglect any them; and we cannot just grow only in the areas that are comfortable to us. A briefcase or a power tie cannot cover up a diaper forever.
Evangelism can be difficult. It is time-consuming since it’s relational; thus, it can be uncomfortable at first. But, this should be and is an ordinary part of being a child of God. Witnessing God raising the dead to life, up close and personal, is the extraordinary privilege of an ordinary child of God. Oh Lord, may our response be obedience and wonder.
Prayer: Father, we thank You that the harvest is plentiful and there are many people in our cities that belong to You. Give us courage that we may be good stewards of the Good News. Surprise us over and over again at the power of Your Gospel to transform lives and make people new.
Bible Reading for Today: Matthew 2
LUNCH BREAK STUDY
Read Matthew 28:16-20 (ESV): Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them.  And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.  And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Question to Consider
- Jesus has risen from the dead. Why do some disciples doubt?
- How does Jesus address their doubts?
- According to the passage, what kind of life will people enter into when they believe in Jesus?
- The disciples remember that Jesus was recently tortured and murdered. They may be excited but afraid of what might happen to them.
- Jesus declares His authority over all heaven and earth. He also promises to be with the disciples “to the end of the age.”
- When someone believes in Jesus, her old life will be over and a new life will begin (baptism). She will also be given freedom from slavery to sin and power to love and obey God.
Reflect on your day. Who did God place in your path who does not know Jesus? Did He give you any open doors to develop a friendship or share about Jesus with any of those people? Pray for open doors and boldness to get into the lives of those around you.