Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Monday, 15 July 19:
2 Chronicles 27:2 — But the people still followed corrupt practices.
2 Chronicles 27 is about the life of Jotham, and it is noticeably a very short chapter, which is particularly conspicuous considering Jotham is one of the few kings who “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.” He is even found in the lineage of Jesus (Matthew 1:9) Why so short? After all, not only did Jotham live an obedient life, “order[ing] his ways before the Lord his God,” he also completed some important construction projects and prevailed in battle against the mighty Ammonites and other kings (2 Kings 15:37) through God’s grace. Perhaps the key point concerning the lack of commentary on Jotham is found in 2 Kings 15:35 – “Nevertheless, the high places were not removed. The people still sacrificed and made offerings on the high places.”
Jotham lived well personally and did some big things to support the comfort and security of his people (professional success and relevance); but under his reign, idolatry, corruption and immorality continued to permeate the kingdom. He did not have the influence he should have had on the kingdom as a messenger and instrument of reconciliation with God. (see 2 Corinthians 5:11-21)
God calls us to holiness – “For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore, whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.” (1 Thessalonians 4:7-8) God also calls us to professional excellence – “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” (Colossians 3:23) But most importantly, God calls us to be ambassadors for Christ, entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation, and he has given us the Great Commission. (Matthew 28:19-20) How we fulfill that calling is crucial.
But today’s readings say, “…aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you.” (1 Thessalonians 4:11) Isn’t this telling you to keep quiet, mind your own business, and leave others to live as they desire? Of course not. This is a call for brotherly love, personal responsibility, and good stewardship of time, energy, effort, resources and opportunities to serve as an instrument of God’s common grace and as a messenger of God’s special grace of salvation. Treat others with love, and take responsibility for what God had given you. Don’t complain about what’s wrong with the world or about what others aren’t doing. Do what God has called you to do with a graceful spirit. Don’t curse the darkness but light a candle. But be the salt and light God called you to be. If you become a king, spread the gospel throughout the kingdom. If you are a stay at home parent, spread the gospel to your children and with those with whom you come in contact. Make the most of every opportunity.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 15 July 19: Be the influence God prepared you and empowered you to be.