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A WORD FOR TODAY, August 24, 2023
“Bring out the blind people who have eyes, and the deaf who have ears. Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the peoples be assembled. Who among them can declare this, and show us former things? Let them bring their witnesses, that they may be justified, or let them hear, and say, ‘That is true.’ ‘You are my witnesses,’ says Yahweh, ‘With my servant whom I have chosen; that you may know and believe me, and understand that I am he. Before me there was no God formed, neither will there be after me. I myself am Yahweh. Besides me, there is no savior. I have declared, I have saved, and I have shown, and there was no strange god among you. Therefore you are my witnesses’, says Yahweh, ‘and I am God. Yes, since the day was, I am he. There is no one who can deliver out of my hand. I will work, and who can hinder it?’” Isaiah 43:8-13, WEB
What do you believe about God? This might seem like an outlandish question to ask a Christian, especially since the Church has established a very basic understanding of what every Christian should believe. Yet, the world often sees our faith in a way that we do not mean it to be seen. So, as Christians it is important to not only think about what we believe, but also to think about how to live our lives so that the world will see our faith as it is meant to be seen.
For instance, I once read an article in Reader’s Digest about Anaheim Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton. Hamilton was an All-Star when he played for other teams, but he had a difficult time when we went to Anaheim. He struggled with substance abuse but credits his relationship with God for his recovery and continued sobriety. Unfortunately, he has relapsed several times, and that might be the reason for his inability to play as successfully as he had once played. He was even booed by the crowds. During an interview, the baseball great told a columnist that he turns to the bible for strength when dealing with the rejection of the crowds. The columnist then asked, “Does it mention anywhere in the Bible what it takes to hit more home runs?”
The author of the Reader’s Digest article wrote, “Of all the things my non-sports-fan friends dislike about sports, the biggest one is how athletes are always thanking God for their achievements. It drives them crazy. The notion that God - who has his hands full of larger matters than the score of the Maaco Las Vega Bowl - would pick one team over another is self-aggrandizing ‘spiritual’ megalomania at its worst.” The author goes on to say that this is a completely different understanding of faith.
When a man like Josh Hamilton says that he’s amazed at what God’s done in his life, the world sees that as thanksgiving for a successful career, riches, and talent. But what Hamilton was referring to is the way God helped him see his addiction and helped him overcome. Hamilton was the most successful when he was faithful to God, not because God was rewarding him, but because he was living a life that honored God. By staying sober and living as a witness to God’s mercy and grace, Hamilton stayed healthy and focused. He played better because he was not distracted by alcohol and drugs or causing problems for others.
We don’t believe in God because we think He will reward us for our faith. We don’t believe that God will make us successful or that He will cause our favorite sports teams to win because of our faith. When we believe in God, we live a life as His witnesses in the world with a life which impacts others positively. The article continued, “Christianity isn’t some peripheral notion of Hamilton’s life; it is his life. As a Christian, Hamilton believes that everything he does, from showing up to church on Sunday to going food shopping to hitting a home run or striking out, is done for the glory of Christ. Hamilton isn’t thanking Jesus for helping him hit a homer; he is thanking Jesus for everything. From the homers to the strikeouts to the millions of dollars and all the boos and cheers in between.”
What do you believe about God? The answer to this question will help you live the life God is calling you to live. He is God, and though He does not help our favorite team win the game or give us success in everything we do, knowing that He is near helps us to be the men and women that He has created us to be. And when we live as if God is with us always, we act in ways that lead to good things for ourselves and the world.
A WORD FOR TODAY is posted five days a week – Monday through Friday. The devotional on Wednesday takes a look at the scripture from the Revised Common Lectionary for the upcoming Sunday. A WORD FOR TODAY is posted on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Word-for-Today-Devotional/339428839418276. Like the page to receive the devotion through Facebook. For information and to access our archives, visit http://www.awordfortoday.org