Hebrews 6:12 – We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. (NIV)
Keeping the faith requires a lot of hard work, especially in our society. In contrast to fifty years ago, churches are faced with fierce competition for people to do other things on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights. Weekly worship and Christian education become just two other activities that have to be mixed in with a whole lot of other priorities in busy schedules. In other words, we've become slaves to timetables of our own making, instead of being servants to the Holy One who makes us and grants us time.
Through the virtues of faith and patience, we experience God's promises being fulfilled. My fear, as a pastor living in these times, is that there will be an awful lot of disappointed people from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, who will never get beyond the Pearly Gates simply because they couldn't fit Christ into their busy schedules. And as a pastor living in these modern times, I am sometimes as guilty of that as anyone else. In the midst of a busy church year, I can easily spend more time preparing, participating, reviewing, and being at meetings than being and meeting with God.
Faith seems much stronger in simpler times, but the truth is that people in the past also had their share of pressure, stress, and burdens. They just put God at the centre and worked their lives around Him. Perhaps if we truly want to get through those Pearly Gates, we'd better start to do the same.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, faith is all or nothing for You, but for us, it can be inconvenient, challenging, and hard to keep. Help us as we struggle to live our busy lives, and give us the courage to place You at the centre. Lord, enable us not just to keep our faith, but to live it. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.