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Wednesday, January 5, 2022

"The Solid Rock" from "Gospel Hymns for Daily Strength" facebook page)

"The Greatest Resignation"
(Part 1)

Message summary: The greatest resignation is resigning from following Christ and being His disciple.

Listen to this message on your audio player.

“From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more” (John 6:66).

Harry and RuthLast night Harry and Ruth came over to our place for a visit. We met because I will be conducting their wedding ceremony in several weeks. They're a Christian couple, both widowed, and have found new love in their later years. Brooksyne knows Ruth from our local Mount Joy Gift and Thrift where she serves as a volunteer cashier and where Ruth also works. Ruth is especially admired for her decorating skills in displaying donated items in such a way they have the look and appeal of a purchase you might make at your local department store.

In seeking to get to know them better, I asked Harry what he had done for a living, assuming he was retired. He told me, "Oh, I'm still working", which initially embarrassed me since he appeared to be older than me and I was concerned I might have offended him assuming he no longer worked. I was relieved when he told me he was 80. But he still works 35 hours a week at the same wire factory he has worked at for 59 years! How often do you hear a story like that these days?

He enjoys working and staying active but he also told me how much the company values his work. Growing up on a dairy farm he had learned early the practice of working hard and being responsible, character qualities any company will value.

But his company, like many others all around the country, is now dealing with the difficulty of finding workers. Lately I've been hearing the term, "Great Resignation" such as this headline in yesterday's USA Today newspaper, "Great Resignation: The number of people quitting jobs hit an all-time high in November as openings stayed near record".

This great resignation describes the mass exodus from the workforce. It's an interesting and troubling phenomenon but in a nutshell it has spiritual causes. Far too many no longer ascribe to the "work ethic" nor practice the first part of the fourth commandment which states "six days thou shalt work".

But today let us consider an even greater resignation. Resigning from following Christ and being His disciple.

John 6:66Surely our first daily text is one of the saddest expressions in the Bible. “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more (John 6:66). This was the response by many who, upon hearing the teachings of Jesus, responded this way, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”  (John 6:60). This remains the reaction of many when confronted with His teaching.

Some of Christ's teaching indeed seems hard in the sense of being hard to understand. Some issues make sense to us, others we accept by faith, not fully understanding with our mind. However I have learned that there are many previously hard teachings that become easier to grasp after a period of maturation and experience as a Christian.

But some of His teaching is "hard" in the sense of it being hard to live by. The call to serious discipleship is hard. I believe that's the sense in our daily text. Many years ago I read a book dealing with discipleship. The author, with deep conviction, expressed the teachings of Christ without any soft-pedaling so that each point brought about some discomfort in my usual "comfort level" of following Christ. I believe the sense in the text is “hard to live by”. We can see from some of the disciple's response: “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.”

Mike Ratliff writes in “The High Cost of Discipleship”,

“The message of salvation that is normally preached or taught in the vast majority of churches these days has been contaminated with Humanism. The focus is on becoming a Christian for some great benefit or reward from God based upon little to no personal cost. Masses of people respond to that false gospel as well. The genuine gospel that our Saviour preached during His earthly ministry may have mentioned the benefits of being saved, but He emphasized the cost of becoming His disciple in such a way that it caused many of His hearers to not follow Him anymore. In fact, whenever He saw that the people were flocking to Him to have their felt needs met, He would speak a message to them that expressed that those who are His disciples are the ones who have counted the cost and seen that the eternal is all that truly matters.”

After many of His disciples walked away, “Jesus then said to the twelve, ‘Do you also want to go away?’” (v.67).

Peter spoke up and uttered one of the greatest faith statements in the entire Bible: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (vv.68,69).

Amen, that’s my belief today as well and I want it to be every day! Let us, like Peter, consecrate ourselves to God and continue as His follower. “A faithful follower I would be, for by His hand He leadeth me.” By the grace of God let us resolve never to go back to our old way of life or be a part of the greatest resignation.

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, there is no one or no thing that deserves our complete allegiance, but You, our Lord, have the words of eternal life. Though others may refuse to listen or turn away from the message of salvation we choose to persevere. We persevere in trial and in victory, in the ups and downs and in the course of everyday life. We do not want to be among those who walk with You no more. We seek to steadfastly follow you and do Your will in all things so that we bring honor to Your name. Amen.

Interesting observation: The first daily verse is the only 6:66 (chapter 6 verse 66) reference in the entire New Testament!

Lou is a man we visited weekly for several years in the course of our chaplain work. A big, burly man with abounding tattoos he was a bit intimidating when I first met him but over time we established a friendship and I sought to encourage him as he has shared the struggles he deals with. Lou gave me permission to share his story in hopes of helping others.

He’s an ex-con and told me what he does whenever he is tempted to go back to his old way of life. He takes out his faded inmate ID card which reminds him of his past.

Although I am sure most of us don’t carry a prison ID card t
hat got me thinking and I will pose it to each reader today. What do you have as a disincentive to ever going back to your old way of life?

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"I Have Decided to Follow Jesus"  Video  No turning back, no turning back!!!

"He Leadeth Me"  Video  Sovereign Grace Music

"I Won't Go Back"  Video  The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

"Turn It Over"  Video  Zach Williams

"Wait On You"  Video   Maverick City

"Though You Slay Me"  Video  Shane & Shane

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

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Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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