Thought for the Day – 20th August 2020
Faith and fulfilment – Matthew 11: 2-15
“ When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offence at me.’
As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: ‘What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written,
“See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.”
Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John came; and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. Let anyone with ears listen!“
What do we think about John the Baptist?
We are told he was “….sent from God….as a witness”. He was privileged to introduce Jesus, and baptize him. John was the herald and John prepared the way! Then he was jailed and beheaded. John never saw the fulfilment of his work. His ascetic life in the harsh sun and cold winds of the desert hills, his moments of joy in identifying the Christ, ……..abruptly ended. John saw neither the cross nor the resurrection. He’s there for a moment, playing his own vital part in God’s plans, and then the action moves on, other people take over and events develop in ways John could never have expected.
But isn’t that like our life? We plan and work, making our contribution the best we know how. We try to shape things in the way nearest to what we believe is God’s will. Not seeing clearly beyond the next decision, but trusting him to work things out.
Now that’s the key word – TRUSTING. Being prepared to commit ourselves to his direction, doing all we can to stay sensitive and responsive, but leaving the end result with him.
The fulfilment for us may not lie in seeing the end in our beginning, but doing our own little bit with all the faithfulness we can bring to it, after all it’s God’s plan, not ours. We know he will be there at the end, just as he was in the beginning. We know too that, if what we are doing is within his will, it will be accomplished, whether we see it to fruition or not. That thought can take a lot of the frustration out of our work and help us put it into perspective. We are part of the continuing process of the kingdom of God, beginning before us, going on beyond us, yet surrounding us and carrying us along, in love.
Lord, your purposes go way beyond our understanding. We can only look back to yesterday and ahead to tomorrow. When we are puzzled and uncertain help us to remember that you are in control. And, whether we can see the end or not, help us to trust you and accept that you know where we’re going. Amen