APRIL 27, 2018

Decide & Do It

Dear Church,

While I am very rigid in many areas of my life, my time in morning devotions takes many forms.  Sometimes I go through a Proverb a day for a month.  I’ve gone through Psalms.  I’ve taken a passage from the Lectionary each day.  I’ve done “A Year with C.S. Lewis.”  I’ve worked through prayer journals.  I’ve taken a chapter or half of a chapter of a book each morning.  It all just depends on where the Spirit leads me.  But for some reason the last time the shipment for the quarterly Words of Hope Devotionals arrived, I decided that come April 1, which happened to be Easter morning, I would go through the Words of Hope Devotional.  With the exception of Easter, every other day in April has been written by Dave Bast.  Dave is one of the former pastors here.  Over the years I’ve really come to know and appreciate Dave.  Our paths cross at different conferences or at weddings.  His overall gruffness makes me laugh. 

Anyway, this past week, I thought Dave’s devotional on Felix was really good.  Felix is one of those little-known characters in the Bible.  If you didn’t immediately know who I was writing about when you read “Felix,” don’t feel too bad.  He’s only mentioned one time in the Bible in the 24th chapter of the book of Acts.  He was the Roman Governor during the time Paul arrived on the scene.  As Dave writes, more than likely Felix really wasn’t too thrilled with his job.  “Judea was difficult to govern.  The big problem there was the Jews, an independent-minded people who quarreled a lot over religion.”  (Sidebar – do you know any other independent-minded people who quarrel over religion a lot?)

Felix’s problem with Paul was that the high priest accused Paul of causing riots and being a leader of this new sect of religion.  As Paul stood before Felix, he was able to refute all criminal charges against him.  You can read more about his defense in Acts 24.  But what’s interesting is that while Felix didn’t condemn Paul, he didn’t release him either.  The Bible tells us that Felix knew about Christianity.  He just needed to make a decision about what to do with Paul.  As Dave writes, “Felix is a spiritual procrastinator.  He thinks that maybe later would be the time to respond to the gospel.  But somehow ‘later’ never comes.”

I think that’s a good word for us today.  So often we can set stuff aside.  I’ll get to that later.  In the Waterstone household this happens nearly every day when it comes to Willem’s homework.  “I’ll do it after we shoot hoops,” he says.  “I’ll do it after dinner.”  “I’ll do it after we plays scrabble.”  What happens far too often?  He must get his homework done at 7:15am while eating his peanut butter waffle because he procrastinated the night before.

The same can be said of our faith.  I’ll make worship a priority when I’m not so busy.  I’ll give more of my money when the kids are out of school.  I’ll invite my friends to church the next time I see them.  I’ll read my Bible tomorrow.  We’ll pray more as a family when I’m not so swamped at work.  I could go on, but I’m sure you get my point.  To be fair, being a spiritual procrastinator is really easy.  We have so many other options to fill our time and our attention with.  In a lot of ways, making more faithful decisions with our lives needs to be an intentional effort.  Maybe even more so today than in previous generations.

Now I’m really big on motivation.  And we all are motivated by different things.  Fear.  Achievement.  Goals.  But at some point, with any decision we need to make that first step.  Starting a year-long devotional journey begins on Day #1.  Deciding to give more of the Lord’s money back to Him begins this coming Sunday.  Doing devotions as a family before dinner starts tonight.  So, maybe use this morning’s blog as a kick-start to begin something that you know you should have been doing all along, or at least do a better job at it.  Just decide and do it.

Grace & Peace,

Pastor Matt