Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "There Is A Book That All May Read"1 (Lyrics)
Ezekiel 34:10 – Thus says the Lord God, "Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will demand My sheep from them and make them cease from feeding sheep. So the shepherds will not feed themselves anymore, but I will deliver My flock from their mouth, so that they will not be food for them." (NASB)
In 1965, Pierre Berton wrote a bestseller entitled The Comfortable Pew: A critical look at Christianity and the religious establishment in the new age. He ends the book with an optimistic prescription that a transformation is possible.
- But there seem to be two ways in which a truly Christian reformation could come about. It could come about through some terrifying persecution of the Christian Church — a persecution that would rid the Church of those of little faith, of the status-seekers and respectability-hunters, of the deadwood who enjoy the club atmosphere, of the ecclesiastical hangers-on and the comfort-searchers. Once the Church becomes the most uncomfortable institution in the community, only those who really matter will stick with it. At this point, one would expect the Church to come back to those basic principles of love, faith, and hope that have made martyrs out of men. (pp.142-3)
Jesus never sat in a comfortable pew. Jesus walked and talked and healed people. He went to them and met them outside of a building. He preached on a mountain and He preached from a boat on the sea. He used simple language that everyone could understand and relate to. He loved all who came to Him, no matter what they had done. He accepted them the way they were.
Do we dare leave our comfortable pews and venture outdoors, to love and accept people the way they are? Or do we continue to go into a building on Sunday and sit in our usual spot and in our minds say, "Feed me" — instead of feeding God's people?
John 21:17 – The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my sheep." (NIV)
Prayer: O Lord God, forgive us again for not heeding and listening to Your voice. Help us to see others as Jesus sees them. Help us to go out and serve our fellow human beings. Help us to leave our comfortable pews and reach out to a hurting and desperate world in need. Amen.