Jeremiah 23:16-32; 1 Corinthians 9:19-27; Mark 8:31-9:1
There are many false preachers who promise good from the Lord, filling folks with vain hopes for a better and more prosperous life. The line goes like this: Just think positively and good things will come to you (and while you are at it, send my ministry a donation). If only Jeremiah, Paul, Mark, and Jesus had heard of this incredible formula for easy lives, how differently things could have turned out. Jeremiah died in obscurity, having perhaps one convert. Tradition tells of Paul being beheaded in Rome. Mark died a humiliating death in Egypt, his body then heaped on a public bonfire. Jesus was crucified by the very people he loved.
They did not seek easier lives. At the expense of life itself, they proclaimed the Word of God. They knew there was but one prize and set all of their hopes on that goal. They set their minds on the things of God—not on easier lives. Christians are called to deny themselves, take up their crosses, and follow Jesus. We are commanded to do so at all cost, even that of a prosperous life—or even life itself.
Prayer: Set my mind, O Lord, upon things of heaven, that I may follow you. Amen.
Today’s devotion was written by Mark Ryman, Pastor of Saint John’s Lutheran Church in Asheboro, NC.