“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners — of whom I am the worst.” — 1 Timothy 1:15
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We often see famous athletes driving fancy sports cars and wearing expensive jewelry, but not all professional athletes and coaches are wealthy. Players and coaches in the lower levels may not be in as much of the spotlight as those at the highest levels, but they work just as hard. And behind the scenes of every athletic program, there are support staff members who have far less than the athletes.
Imagine Johnny getting up early six days a week, putting on his backpack containing a lunch and a change of clothes, and riding his bike five miles to keep everything operational for those in the limelight. If somebody drives by him when he rides his bicycle, they may hear him whistling or singing Gospel songs as he rides along in the heat, the cold and the rain. Johnny, his wife and their children always have food to eat and clothes to wear. They don’t have a lot of the things others have, but they are one of the happiest and most peaceful families in the community.
In the Bible, we see King Solomon with everything he wants and living in luxury. It is not a sin to be rich but it is a sin to let our money and stuff cause us to forget about God. When the Lord led Solomon to write the Book of Ecclesiastes, He warned us about the danger of forgetting God when we get a better job and have fewer needs. It’s important to live for the Lord whether we have plenty or barely enough. “When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God …” (Deuteronomy 8:10-11).
When Jesus called His disciples to work with Him, they left good jobs and learned to live with less money. The apostles shocked people by rejoicing through their sufferings. They focused on God rather than gold. When a crippled man needed money, Peter didn’t have any money to give him but did something better. “Then Peter said, ‘Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.’ Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong” (Acts 3:6-7).
During Paul’s ministry, he received many more scars than silver coins. As the authorities tried to stop the spread of the Gospel, they ordered their henchmen to beat him with whips and rods without mercy. Occasionally, Paul mentioned his scars to say that he was committed to the task regardless of what happened to him, but he spent most of his time thanking God for His mercy in saving scoundrels like him. “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners — of whom I am the worst” (1 Timothy 1:15).
We too should spend much of our time — especially on Thanksgiving Day — thanking God for His mercy.
— Bill Kent, Pastor of Memorial Baptist Church, Sylvania, Georgia
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