Great Plains Daily Devotional for 8/7/2021

Today please be in prayer for

Norfolk First UMC
Stanton UMC
Winside UMC
Elkhorn Valley District
Norfolk First UMC
Stanton UMC
Winside UMC
Elkhorn Valley District
Lyons, NE Memorial UMC
Oakland First UMC
Rosalie UMC
Walthill First UMC
Elkhorn Valley District
Chambers UMC
Elgin, NE UMC
O'Neill First UMC
Elkhorn Valley District

Today's Lectionary Text

Matthew 7:24-29

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great was its fall!”

Now when Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.

Today's Devotional

Who amongst us has not sung the children’s song inspired by the words of Jesus in this text from Matthew? The images of the houses built on rock and sand and the rainstorms that threaten them make for a great action song that kids love. My kids asked for it frequently at bedtime, and now my grandchildren too. I’m not sure why this is, but my family’s favorite part is always ‘the foolish man’s house went SPLAT!!’ We really got into the splat part.
 
I doubt that Jesus set out to create a children’s song for his listeners, but he did appear to want an emphatic ending to the Sermon on the Mount which covers a lot of ground in Chapters 5, 6 and 7 in Matthew. This sermon is a fairly complete summation of all of Jesus’ teachings -- all of his most important points about the kingdom of God and how different God is than what has always been taught. This is essential stuff and Jesus really wants people to hear what he is saying, but that’s not all. He begins and ends this text by saying he wants people to not only hear the words, but to act on them. What? Even the hard ones like Love Your Enemies? Yes even the hard ones. Jesus is not a lecturer who wants you to intellectually understand his words -- he wants to change our lives and turn the world upside down by our doing the will of God. And if we do? We are the like the one who built his house upon the rock, standing firm against all of life’s storms. And if we don’t? We are like the one who built his house on the sand, who could not withstand the storms of life and therefore went splat! I don’t know about you but I’ve probably heard Jesus’ words and his call to action many times in my life and I’ve probably/likely splatted more times than I’ve stood firm on solid rock. But I am thankful for the grace which is offered freely in all of Jesus teachings as well.
 
--Rev. Galen Wray, retired elder
 

Prayer for Reflection

Gracious and Loving God, thank you for your teaching and call to action in all your words. May we be doers and not hearers only. Help us stand firm more times than we splat. Amen.
 

 

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