Our nation is filled with memorials. We can find monuments and statues everywhere of great people who made a difference in our history. We are also a nation of battlefields. The Revolutionary War and the Civil War are two important events that we should never forget. Throughout our country the battlefields of these wars remind us of people who exhibited the fullest measure of courage and sacrifice. Blood sanctified the ground as we choose to remember those who died there. I have visited some of these battlefields and always left with a renewed appreciation of those who fell on that sacred ground.
History’s greatest battlefield was Calvary. On that lonely hill the Savior fought the battle for our soul. The sacrifice of His blood paid the price for our freedom from sin. He fought the battle alone and won the victory. The forgiveness of our sins and our eternal destiny was the victory He secured for us on the cross of Calvary. In order to assure that we never forget what was accomplished for us on the cross Jesus instituted what we call the Lord’s Supper. As we gather together and take of the bread and the cup we are reminded of the broken body and the shed blood of our Lord. Communion is really a war memorial. We are commanded to frequently observe this ordinance. We are told in 1 Cor. 11:24-26: “And when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, take, eat; this is my body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of me. In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, this cup is the new covenant in my blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes”.
The next time we observe the Lord’s Supper remember we are really visiting a war memorial. When we take the bread and the cup let’s be sure to do it to honor and worship our Lord. After all He told us to do it “in remembrance of me”.
My wife and I frequented a local restaurant because of their reasonable prices. However the food at times lacked in flavor and quality. The waitresses were not courteous and the place was losing business. The owner put the restaurant up for sale and it was purchased. The new owners did a complete remodel of the facility. They hired a new chef and put out a new menu. When we visited the restaurant we were overwhelmed with the changes. The new management had transformed the menu, the quality of the food, and the whole atmosphere. Everything was new, even the care of the wait staff.
Under new management is a wonderful way of describing what happens when a person trusts Jesus Christ as his Savior. Paul told the Romans about this new management in Romans 8:9-11: “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” The old management of the flesh is no longer in possession of our lives. We are under the new management of the Spirit. His indwelling brings about a whole new atmosphere that Paul calls “life”. We are promised eternal life, we get to enjoy overcoming and victorious life, and we can daily live abundant life. We also get to participate in a Spirit-led life. Our old management of the flesh ran us into the ground with sin, defeat, and hopelessness. It eventually would lead us to eternal death. But when we received Christ, old things passed away behold all things became new (2 Cor. 5:17).
Are you still living under the old manager of the flesh? Don’t you think it is about time to receive Christ and put your life under new management?
Raising 6 children was a challenge to my wife and me. Especially when we took them into a store or a public place. Most of the time they were very well behaved. When we would take them into a candy store their eyes would bulge with the assortment of treats in front of them. Often we would tell them to narrow their choices and choose just “one thing”. For some of our kids narrowing down the choices to one thing was particularly difficult.
For the child of God life is filled with many choices to invest our attention, our years, and our delights. We may have spent our time working many jobs. We may have lived in different cities, and we may have had many friends in our life. However, in the midst of a life of many things there needs to be an overwhelming “one thing” that should characterize the believer. David puts in words what ought to be that “one thing” in Psalm 27:4. “One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple”. David’s “one thing” was to worship and to love His Lord. Of course David had many responsibilities yet the overwhelming purpose of His life was to put the Lord first and to honor Him.
I think we get so focused on many things. Jesus even had to rebuke Martha who was rushing around getting supper ready and was consumed with many things. Jesus told her that “one thing” was needful. Martha needed to do what her sister was doing, spending time listening and loving her Lord. When asked what the greatest commandment was Jesus told them to love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul and all your mind.
Are we scattered and preoccupied with a to-do list? Are we setting our affections on our families, our possessions, and our advancements? Don’t you think it is time for all of God’s people to narrow down our priorities to that all-consuming “one thing”?
Two men that I respect greatly recently went home to be with the Lord. Both men were committed believers in Jesus Christ and both men lived a long time. One lived to the ripe old age of 99 and the other 98. They died exactly two weeks apart. One was well known and spent his life serving the Lord in the spotlight and the other one was little known and spent his life serving God in the shadows. Billy Graham was faithful to the Lord with the talents and gifts God gave him and used them to the fullest. Norman McGowen, a retired World War II hero and mail carrier used his gifts to the fullest as well. Billy preached the gospel faithfully to millions, Norm taught his Sunday school class faithfully in a local church I pastored in Bremen Indiana. Billy and Norm both finished their course leaving behind an exemplary life that we should follow.
As I contemplate the legacy of these men I naturally wonder what kind of impact or example am I leaving behind. The apostle Paul had similar thoughts when he wrote: “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:6-8). Billy and Norm both will receive their crowns for faithful service to Christ. I wonder if we are finishing strong, fighting the good fight and keeping the faith. I am afraid that some believers have given up fighting against sin. Some of us are no longer keeping a watch on the faith revealed to us in scriptures. Instead of finishing their course strong, many believers are just coasting across the finish line.
Billy and Norm encourage me to live in such a way that I too may here those words: “well done, thou good and faithful servant”.
Pastor Stultz has been writing this weekly devotional for many years. In 2009, he published a compilation of devotionals in book form, also called Moments of Meditation