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DAILY DEVOTIONS
 

  In more than three decades of my Christian life, I have been blest by 2 types of Daily devos' (matter not exceeding 500 words) in universal Christian literature. Not only those Devos' which have a different theme everyday but also the ones which revolve around a certain theme over a period of time, say a fortnight, have richly edified me. In fact, both styles have their own inherent advantages. If the former style caters to the varying spiritual needs of a christian from day-to-day, the latter aims 'to ground' a child of God in a certain subject in order he derives the full benefits of the deep insightful study of a certain topic, spread over a fixed span of time.

In my Daily devo page, I have consciously tried to go in for 'a blend of both the styles' whereby within a constant theme, I would be aiming to focus on different facets of it which admittedly is a closer imitation of the 'Constant theme' style than the 'Varying topics' one.

As the month of December coincides with the Christmas season, in this month I intend to dwell exclusively on all the topics revolving around Christmas using the visit of the Wise man described in Matthew 2 as the base.

Let me wish you a happy and an edifying read… oh yes-MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL OF US!

Suresh Manoharan




December 22nd

A balance in everything…



The Levites—Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan and Pelaiah—instructed the people in the Law while the people were standing there. They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people could understand what was being read – Neh 8:7-8

The priests, who are Levites—indeed the whole tribe of Levi—are to have no allotment or inheritance with Israel. They shall live on the offerings made to the LORD by fire, for that is their inheritance – Deu 18:1-2

Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust – Acts 14:23

The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, "Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain," and "The worker deserves his wages." - I Tim 5:17-18
 
  Our study of the visit of the Wise men as a part of the broader Christmas story with special reference to their third gift –Myrrh- has taken us ‘places’. These ‘places’ have been We had concluded yesterday’s meditation with a lead-up thought…. What purpose does the dichotomy in the Church of Clergy and Laity serve?

Before, we answer this question; we need to answer a bigger one, which is ‘What is the original purpose of Man’s creation?’ The answer is “to worship Him”, which is summed in the first commandment, which reads thus…

“Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Deu 6:5

For that to happen, there has to be constant instruction (Neh 8:7-8) much like what a coach of an aspiring athlete for a consideration does to fine tune his ward to pursue and attain athletic excellence…only that the stakes (eternal rewards) in the spiritual realm are infinitely higher.


Fine balance is the hallmark in all of God’s creation bearing his stamp of infinite genius. Be it in the Solar system or the Ecology or the family system, we see the ‘principle of symbiosis’ working conspicuously. Life in our planet is preserved by a marvelous inversely dependent symbiotic relationship between plant and animal life. Plants inhale carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen, whereas the animal world does exactly the opposite. Similarly father and mother in a traditional family unit of a working father and a housewife mother functionally undertake disparate activities to bring-up their young ones’. Dear friends, is not a clear picture emerging in your minds at this juncture? Our God who in His sovereign wisdom has created a finely balanced world, has in the spiritual realm too created a wonderful balance of clergy and laity each mutually depending on one another. Very consistent with the rest of His creation. Right?

Both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament the Scriptural instruction is loud and clear. The Clergy (Pastors in the New Testament context) are to spend their life time familiarizing themselves with the will and ways of the Creator in order they teach the same to the laity in order the purpose outlined in the I Commandment in essence is achieved, whereas the laity on their part are expected to support them with their offerings (I Cor 9:13).

What then about Missionaries who have call different from that of clergy? Who is to sustain them? Let Bible do all the talking…

Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers, even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church about your love. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. We ought therefore to show hospitality to such men so that we may work together for the truth. 3 John:5-7

These are the words of commendation of apostle John to a prominent Christian namely Gaius of the early Church who was rendering great financial and social help to the early missionaries.

What about apostle Paul, who largely never depended on any sponsor (I Cor 9:15-19)? It is a measure of his magnanimity that he let go of even his legitimate rights to accept financial assistance (I Thess 2:9) from the people he was ministering unto, (resorting instead to tent-making to sustain himself - Acts 18:2-3) for fear of they mistaking him for profiteering fake god men, who abounded then, just as they do now (II Cor 2:17).

Tomorrow lets focus upon to this dangerous breed of ‘false teachers who with an eye on the purse of the gullible, virtually fleece them’, in order we keep them at an arm’s length.

Prayer:

Father, thou in thy love have ordained ‘men after thy own heart’ to shepherd thy flock lovingly. Give us the discerning spirit to recognize them and whole-heartedly appreciate and support their work. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
 


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