Note: I have been called into service by the Court System. I will be out for jury duty all week. Prayers would be appreciated. In the meantime I am recycling a devotion I wrote earlier. If you have read it before I apologize, but the reminder is always good. If you haven’t I pray God will teach you as He taught me there is more to Easter than Sunday morning. God bless each of you.
Happy Easter! All my friends were sharing that message one Easter morning. As everyone shared the wonderful message of a Resurrected Savior I was grieving the loss of my brother. While everyone else was in church hearing the good news “Christ is alive indeed!” I am in church pondering what all that means. Has my brother resurrected into a new life? A new Spirit? I wish I knew the answer, but only Christ knows the answer to that question. It is not for me to judge the actions or the life of my brother. It is for me about loving Him and praying all is well with him.
So what about Easter? Why do people flock to church on that day when they don’t any other day? Why do people feel the need to attend church on Easter? For me the answer is simple: hope! They want to believe there is more after this life. They want to believe in a Resurrected Christ. It is so simple to believe when you are sitting in church listening to the message of good news or hearing beautiful music as the choir sings. It is so easy as you share the Good News with people sitting beside you. So then what happens? The message is drowned out on Monday morning when life returns to everyday living. When trouble comes, stress rolls around and when things aren’t going well the message is drowned out. It reminds me of the parable of the seed found in Matthew 13:3-8, “Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
In Matthew 13:8-23 he goes on to explain the meaning of the parable, “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
The Easter visitors hear the message. They hear the good news and for the day I think they believe it. Some may even want to change their lives, start going to church and live the life of the Good News, but then Monday morning rolls around and they wonder if life is really any different. We as the body of Christ need to do more than just give a message of Good News on Easter morning. We need to not only give the message we need to live that message during the week. We need to be in their offices when they go back to work on Monday. We need to be in their schools as students come on Monday with questions. We need to be in the workplace as people head back to work. They need to know, “Yes, life can be different”. Yes the Good News you heard yesterday is real. There is hope in the power of the blood. We need to be encouragers in our workplaces, in our churches, in our schools; anyplace God is calling us to deal with everyday people who are living everyday lives. We think one message on Easter Sunday is going to change people’s lives, it will not my friend. What will change people’s lives is seeing Christ is alive today in the lives of those with whom they work, laugh, socialize and even go to school. What will change people’s lives is when we show them how to respond as Christ did to trouble, turmoil, disaster and even death. What will change people’s lives is when they see us in our celebrations, in our joys living life as Christ did. What will change people’s lives is when they see us share the blessings God has given to us and not expecting anything in return. I am learning by studying the fruits of the Spirit it is not about judging others. It is about loving others where they are. It is about sharing God’s grace, love and mercy with them. It is about planting the seed, tending the seed and then letting God do His part.
On Easter morning the minister or the Choir may have planted the seed, but we need to tend to that seed and water that seed so Christ can build a root system that will become strong and hardy. The tomb is empty; Christ has indeed risen! But it doesn’t stop there. WE are called to be disciples of Jesus Christ. Because He died I am forgiven. Because He was broken I was made whole. Because I am forgiven I forgive others; because I was made whole I am called to bring those broken to Christ so they may experience healing and wholesomeness. For those of us in Christ Monday after Easter let us prepare to step up and become disciples where God has called us to work, in our neighborhoods, and in our schools. Let us encourage those who are questioning the Good News and wonder if it would really work for them. For those of you who are questioning the Good News let me add this, “Yes it really works I know. I have experienced God’s grace, mercy, and His love. He was with me when I experienced the death of a loved one. He cries when I cry and He grieves with me. He was also with me as I celebrated a new life a few weeks later. As I shared in the joy with my daughter and her family, Christ knew that same joy. I will be forever grateful to Him for all the blessings in my life.” Easter is more than just pretty dresses, Easter eggs, and going to church one Sunday. Easter is about an empty tomb, about sharing the Good News the weeks following Easter; it is about planting a seed. I pray that not only will you find joy in experiencing an empty tomb, but you will be ready to step out in faith and live a Godly life to which each of us has been called. It just doesn’t stop with an empty tomb. That isn’t the end of the story. That is only the beginning. Enjoy the rest of the story as Christ becomes real in your life.
Dear God, thank You for the Ultimate Sacrifice of Your Son. He died so my sins would be forgiven. He was broken so I may be made whole. The tomb is empty, yet you have called me to go and tell others. You have called me to be a disciple where I walk among people. You have asked me to be a fisher of men, a gardener, and a follower. You have called me to share the Good News with others. That is a tall order, but I can do all these things because You have given me the strength, the courage and the power
to do all these things and more. Help me to be open to those who are hurting, in distress, having troubles or are just lost. Let Your light so shine in me that others will find their way to You and may I always remember to give You the honor, the glory, and all the praise. Amen