2 Chronicles 24:17-22; Acts 6:1-7; Acts 7:59-8:8
Joash rejected the prophet Zechariah’s admonitions, favoring instead courtly sycophants, and finally killing the Lord’s prophet. As the early church was increasing in size, some of the people wanted a church leadership that would do their bidding. Knowing this threatened to stultify the very word of the Lord that brought the Church’s gain, the apostles stayed on task. They appointed others to care for the physical needs of people while they devoted themselves to prayer and preaching.
When the Church was persecuted and scattered, the tendency might have been survival, focusing on physical necessities. Instead, having learned from the apostles, they devoted themselves to teaching the word in whatever city they were sent by the Spirit of God. Later, Tertullian (AD 160-225) devoted his time to reading the word so much that he memorized much of the Bible.
There are obvious questions in our Readings this day after we celebrated the birth of her Savior. Would the Church rather be served or will she be a servant of the word of her Savior? Will the self-serving voices among us quiet the word of the Lord or will there be devotion day and night to prayer and the ministry of the word?
Prayer: Spirit of Jesus, give us strength and courage to preach your word. Amen.
Today’s devotion was written by Mark Ryman, Pastor of Saint John’s Lutheran Church in Asheboro, NC.