Sunday, October 31, 2010

Be Careful not to Live in the Past

Do not say, "Why were the old days better than these?" For it is not wise to ask such questions.  Wisdom, like an inheritance, is a good thing and benefits those who see the sun. -Ecclesiastes 7:10, 11 

Back when I was a seminary student in Louisville, Kentucky, I worked a number of part-time jobs to make ends meet.  One of those jobs was a janitor at a Christian Church.  This was a church that at one time had been fairly large with several hundred people attending on Sundays.  However, the church had declined over the years and at that time might have had 40 or 50 people on a given Sunday.  The sanctuary would seat a large crowd, but compared to those former days there were not many people attending.  Sadly, this is an all too common trend; churches that at one time were large and thriving are now just barely able to keep the doors open each week. 

Such scenarios might cause us to reflect back on the time when the church was larger and doing more than right now, and we then begin to desperately desire those former days.  The Word of God cautions us on this, the reason being that if we focus on the past we will become discouraged about the present.  Hear me carefully on this: There is nothing wrong with desiring that a church grow, thrive, and have great crowds attending.  That is indeed what we are to be about as followers of Christ.  We desire that the churches be filled on Sundays.  However, if our focus in on the past we can quickly grow saddened and discouraged about any positive work going on right now.  You see, if our focus is on the past we are liable to miss out on the blessings that the Lord is doing in our midst right now. 

None of us is capable of going back and undoing or re-doing the past.  We must deal with the here and now.  Can we learn from past mistakes, failures, and victories?  The answer is yes, but those past victories will not win battles today.  What wins today’s battles is vibrant faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  While those past victories can inspire us today, they cannot on their own win battles for today.  Only the Lord can accomplish that – and He will by faith in Him.  

Wherever you are, whatever size church the Lord has placed you, seek to be the most dedicated and humble servant of Christ you can possibly be in that congregation.  Perhaps the church in which you serve is not as large as it used to be.  Begin praying that the Lord will turn that around and that a great wave of revival and a powerful movement of God’s Spirit will fall resulting in unprecedented growth.  God can do that and we must be faithful. 

Serve the Lord, right here, right now, in unquestioning faith.  Seek the Lord today and tell others about the love of Jesus Christ and His wonder-working power.  And pray that a great revival will sweep across the land.

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