Newsletter Article – September 2020

Therefore, while the promise of entering His rest still stands, let us fear lest any should seem to have failed to reach it.
(Hebrews 4:1)

God’s promise of rest always stands. From the very first sin until the very last moment before Jesus returns, God always has His arms open wide. Inviting all of humanity to cast off the burdens we have placed upon ourselves. To embrace Him as our all in all.

But not everyone accepts His invitation. Some never enter His rest. Many times we simply gloss over this statement because it seems like it’s none of our business. Other times we stress greatly when a loved one faces that situation. Whether it’s a child, a sibling, a cousin or acquaintance, the fear hits us harder when the person refusing God’s rest is close to us.

Why is that? Why do we care more for the eternal destiny of those closest to us, but we hardly give a though to the obnoxious neighbor down the street? To “explain everything in the kindest way,” we worry more because they are closer to us. St. Paul says, “As we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10). “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8).

This last Scripture is what sticks with us. No one wants to be “worse than an unbeliever.” That is probably the greatest fear that paralyzes evangelism programs. “We can’t go out to our unbelieving neighbors because we need someone to straighten out our kids and bring them back into church.” We also live in a society that has outlawed conversations about politics and religion. Now, generations walk around this world without the ability to carry on a decent conversation on a difficult topic. We just avoid them. That makes us worse than an unbeliever. Keeping quiet when we know we should speak.

That fear threatens our own rest. We are so worried about offending others with the message of rest that we refuse to share it. Jesus tells us, “Everyone who acknowledges Me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32-33). Here, our rest is threatened. But Jesus also offers us hope. We want to be acknowledged by the Father. We can do that by overcoming the fear and acknowledging Him before everyone. Amen.

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