REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on August 17, 2014.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Important Precepts of Life Gleaned from a Hollywood Actor”
“Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.”
While watching “Forrest Gump” on my flight back from Vietnam, I was reminded of the story of Mykelti Williamson, a struggling actor who became famous after playing the lovable “Bubba” in the 1994 movie. Unable to afford an apartment early in his acting career, he once lived for 8 months in his Volkswagen bug where he managed to stuff his 6′ 2″ frame into it. But “he refused to feel humiliated or give up his dream of an acting career by returning to his mom’s house.” So what kept him going? No, it wasn’t a powerful sermon but something that a stranger had told him when the actor was a boy. “He was crying. He’d lost his job,” said Williamson, “but [the man] said, ‘Everything will be OK, because the harder you fall, the higher you bounce.’ I never forgot that.”
Whether the thrice-married Williamson is a believer, we can still learn something from his example. How so? Inasmuch as “good math” can be learned from a heathen teacher committed to mathematical truths, we can also learn something from unbelievers, who, having been created in God’s likeness (James 3:9), can show a thing or two about God’s precepts for life. After all, we are told to consider the ways of an ant and be wise.
One truth Williamson demonstrates is this: Hard work pays off, which is taught in Proverbs 14:23: “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” Another truth, applied to his pursuit of professional success (but not to his marriage) is this: Don’t give up, which Proverbs 24:16 infers (“For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again”).
So, when difficult circumstances seek to smother you, remember to hang on, but to what? One is our faith in Christ; and the other, a goal in life—without it caving-in comes easy. Williamson added, “Even in our bleakest, loneliest moment, we can survive if we have a goal.” The goal for the believers, as the apostle Paul articulated, is this: “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14).
So, do you have a particular plan as to how to win this prize? Proverbs 16:3 says, “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” So, what is your goal in life? It is never too late to ask God for one.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, whenever I want to give up and stop caring about my life, remind me of how Christ didn’t give up but, for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame . . . so that [I] will not grow weary and lose heart” (Heb. 12:2-3). Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: John 17
Lunch Break Study
Read 1 Pet. 2:12, 15: “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us . . . For this is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.”
Jeremiah 4:1-2: “If you, Israel, will return, then return to me,” declares the Lord. “If you put your detestable idols out of my sight and no longer go astray, 2 and if in a truthful, just and righteous way you swear, ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’ then the nations will be blessed by him and in him they will glory.”
Questions to Consider
1. What is one main factor that causes us to be ineffective in serving God and furthering his kingdom?
2. In what way did the failure of the Israelites to distinguish themselves among the nations hurt those very nations?
3. What is the best way to distinguish ourselves from the world so that what we do gives further credence to the greatness of our God?
1. We become co-opted by the values and practices of the secular world, thereby losing our Christian distinction, that is, our saltiness. As a result, we become good for nothing as far as representing God. In fact, we may become recipients of ridicule by the skeptics of the Christian faith.
2. Israel’s wayward ways, in effect, blocked God’s channel of blessing for the nations since her undistinguishable life prompted the nations not to hold God in high regard. They thought, “Why bother seeking the God of Israel when these Israelites prefer our god and our ways?”
3. Nothing is more powerful that leading a credible public life, backed by a corresponding private life, consisting of good and kind deeds performed “with gentleness and respect” (1 Pet. 3:15).
Did you have an opportunity to exalt God’s name today? Wrap up your day by briefly journaling what happened today. Pray for a more effective tomorrow.