Monday, July 21, 2008

god v. gifts

SEEK GOD, NOT HIS GIFTS (from John Michael Talbot)
Gospel Reading: Matthew 12:38-42

An evil and unfaithful age is eager for a sign! v. 39

Are we "gift- oriented"? Are we "sign-seekers?" Many get excited about healings and prophecies and apparitions in other lands. But often, as soon as the excitement wears off, faith wanes and their lives return to old secular ways.


Jesus recognized that miracles and signs give witness to God’s power, although he said with some exasperation, "Unless you people see signs and wonders, you do not believe." And yet Luke affirmed in Acts that Jesus was, "a man whom God sent to you with miracles, wonders, and signs as his credentials." Signs also accompanied the apostles and the early church: "A reverent fear overtook them all, for many wonders and signs were performed by the apostles." Jesus himself promised, "Signs like these will accompany those who have professed their faith." So these and other scriptures tell us that signs and wonders are given by God to establish and strengthen saving faith!


The story of Thomas helps us understand this apparent inconsistency. In order to strengthen Thomas' faith in his resurrection, Jesus appeared to him and said, "Take your finger and examine my hands. Put your hand into my side. Do not persist in your unbelief, but believe!" Then he said, "You became a believer because you saw me. Blest are they who have not seen and have believed." So we see that Jesus gives us signs and wonders because he knows we are weak. He loves us, so he meets us where we are. Yet he highly commends those who believe without seeing.


Do we have such faith? Do we seek the gifts or the Giver of the gifts? Is it enough to simply remember the powerful salvation God has repeatedly brought into our life, or must we be constantly reminded? An adult remembers and calmly goes forward; a child must be constantly reminded and prodded to keep on going. Let us have the faith of a mature Christian. Let us be children no longer. As Paul wrote, "Let us, then, go beyond the initial teaching about Christ and advance to maturity."

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