I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
1 Corinthians 9:23
Martin Luther loved to preach. He loved to climb into his pulpit and proclaim to souls the Good News of Jesus. He preached often. Someone estimated that throughout his ministry, Martin Luther preached about 7,000 sermons. This means that, on average, he was climbing into his pulpit about every two days. That is a lot of preaching!
On one particular day, however, Luther climbed into his pulpit with a heavy heart. There was a serious problem in his congregation. People who professed to be Christians were actually taking part in theft. The kind of theft that Luther meant was that people, who professed to be Christians, were allowing their time in the Gospel to be stolen by the priorities of this world.
In essence, Luther said this from his pulpit that day. He said that we would never think of letting our cash money sit around in some public place for fear of someone stealing it. And yet, so many of us do not give a second thought to letting the priorities of this world snatch up our time in the Gospel. To know that this was taking place brought Luther much grief. “We are really in a bad way,” he said [SL.XI.1615,6-7].
In our 21st Century Culture, Martin Luther’s concern still retains its bite. Perhaps you’ve felt the blood drain from your face when you realize you left your wallet at the food court in the mall; when you realize you left your car unlocked with the keys inside; or when you wake up and realize you forgot to close your garage door for the night.
And yet, think of all the precious jewels of time in the Gospel that you and I have left lying around—precious jewels left unguarded, discarded, forgotten—so much so that, sooner or later, the priorities of this world just picked them up and walked away.
As you and I would rush back to the mall to reclaim our wallet, may the Holy Spirit refresh us with an even greater zeal—a zeal to reclaim our time in the Gospel. For the Good News of Jesus is the greatest treasure we have.
Lord Jesus, you have washed me clean in your blood. Bring me to repentance for all the times I have allowed the priorities of this world to steal my time in the Gospel. Give me zeal to reclaim it. Amen.
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