As I sit down to write this, I have an observation that, if you’re in this part of the country anyway, probably seems obvious: it’s cold outside! It was below freezing when I left the house, and I had to pre-heat my car and scrape frost off my windows. I saw a statement yesterday that it takes 90 Gallons of water to baptize someone, and 9 drops of rain to keep them from church. I chuckled a bit, but then I paused and thought about it. In parts of the world, people will travel while it’s still dark, sometimes hours, to get to the gathering, stay all day with little food or rest, and then leave when it’s dark again, making the long trek back home. Consider the matter of convenience (or inconvenience), that determines if we make it to Church or not. We don’t like the music, we don’t like the color of the Carpet, the preacher doesn’t remind me of the preacher I had as a kid, the preacher reminds me of the one I had as a kid, it’s too hot, it’s too cold, it’s never what I want it to be, the preachers/elders stepped on my toes, and I can keep going and fill up several pages with what I have seen or heard.
Make no mistake, God’s not after our opinions, and He’s certainly not about our comfort or happiness. He is after our hearts, so much so that He sent His Son to dies that we may be free from the debts of sin that we collected. He desires us to be Faithful, even if that means we’re uncomfortable. He desires that no man should perish, so that means we should speak to even our enemies about His great love and mercy. We should teach our kids that life is not about them, and drag their bodies from under the covers, off of their phones and devices, and in to the church house to hear the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the Word of God. It’s cold outside, don’t let that stop you! There’s an inconvenience for you, don’t let that stop you! There’s something you don’t like, don’t use it as an excuse to not hear the Word of God. Obey Christ. Gather together. Life is not about you, it’s all about Him.
As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”
When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’”
Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
“Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”