Be Restored in '24: persevere
The first two weeks of 2024 are almost over! The human heart beats about 100,000 times per day, as of today, you will have over 1.2 million beats since the start of the year. Don’t be too alarmed, because the average person gets roughly 2.5 billion heartbeats in their lifetime. A commercial reminds us to invest our wealth of heartbeats into what is important. We have a wealth of them and we do not want to squander it. This is probably a far more important question than we want to admit. Our time becomes an investment of our energy and all of us want to use our energy for what is best, not for something useless. That’s precisely the problem, what will be the best use of our heartbeats? On an old comic variety show, the wife asks her husband, “How’s the rat race? He responds, “The rats are winning!” Life is discouraging at times. We desire to do something glorious with our heartbeats, but we find ourselves fragile, frustrated, and fatigued! What difference does it make? Many times, we are tempted to “lose heart.” We don’t feel like we can overcome the obstacles to find greater strength or value as life passes us by. In our sermon series Be Restored in ’24 we turn to a parable of Jesus found in Luke 18:1-8. This seems like such a simple story of a widow who keeps returning to the judge to seek relief from her adversary. It tells us the reason Jesus tells the parable so that his disciples would pray and not lose heart. The title of the sermon this week is Persevere. Gaining perseverance is important for all of us. It is that part of us that does not give up, nor does it give in to all the negative forces, whether it is anger or apathy. All of us are at times, like this widow who is facing more than we can overcome! When we persevere in the right things, when we invest our heartbeats in what matters rather than what is easy, God shares with us the great power of an enduring faith that can only be found in eternal hope! These words of Jesus help guide us to find a faith that can fill our heartbeats with strength, hope and purpose. Our prayer for you is simple, may you be filled with the strength to not give up or give in to the adversary you are facing, as you read Luke 18:1-8.
Luke 18:1-8: Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ 4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!'” 6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (NIV)