“Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ; strive side by side for the faith of the
gospel.” Phil. 1:27
Dear Redeemer Family:
Autumn means a return to routine: to work, to school, to church too. I’m sorry, the usual time
of vacations has ended for most people. The great annual “play time” is over. But then again,
I really didn’t feel much like playing in 100-degree weather. It was brutal. Now, we enter once
again into a more organized time, if you will, of discipleship. And discipleship implies discipline.
There are real implications when we choose to follow a Christian way of life. But discipleship
does not just imply hardship or suffering. There is joy also implied in pursuing a life of faith.
Redemption, grace, and the promise of abundant life await those who follow Christ.
The season even begins with Jesus warning would-be disciples to consider the cost of
discipleship. A theme that the Lutheran theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer will pick up and devote
to an entire book with the same title. The ramifications of following God are shown in the
stories of Naaman, Jacob, Zacchaeus, and Paul. There is no promise that leaders will even
receive gratitude: Moses has to deal with blaspheming people and an angry God; Jesus sees
only one in ten healed lepers come back to give thanks. It kind of sounds like modern American
politics. Gratitude is not something which is expressed nearly as often as it should.
When we consider the ideal of discipleship, we always come up short. It might come as a
consolation this season to see how God works in and through the most unlikely people. Jesus
gives praise to an unjust magistrate, a dishonest manager, and even a tax collector. In the Old
Testament lessons; God chooses the trickster Jacob to be patriarch over his brother Esau. And
an enemy commander, Naaman, to be healed of leprosy. As I often say concerning how God
works, expect the unexpected.
In this new season, as we seek to live out our lives in faith, and in “the routine.” We may expect
the non-routine. As we live out our faith, God may just step in at the most unexpected times
and cause us to shine our faith in strange ways. Be prepared for this to happen. God often
works this way through his disciples, and has for a very long time. Be faithful.