Farmers have always stopped to give thanks for the blessings of a bountiful harvest. We too should stop and give thanks to God for all He has given us. We may not have everything we want but we are blessed.
There was One who laid down His life freely two thousand years ago so you and I can live not only in this life but for all eternity. Jesus didn’t just wake up one day and decide He would pay the penalty of death for humanity’s sin. This was His life’s mission. At one point when He was talking with the Jewish religious leaders He repeatedly acknowledged, “I lay down my life” (John 10:11, 15, 17, 18). He didn’t just say these words but lived them by actually dying a horrific death on the cross. He came so that “may have life, and have it to the full” (v. 10).
When God led the Israelites out of Egypt (Exodus 13:17-18), He chose a longer way because the “shortcut” to Canaan was fraught with risk. The longer journey, note Bible commentators, also gave them more time to strengthen themselves physically, mentally, and spiritually for subsequent battles.
The shortest way isn’t always the best. Sometimes God lets us take the longer route in life, whether it’s in our career or other endeavors, so that we’ll be better prepared for the journey ahead. When things don’t seem to happen quickly enough, we can trust in God—the One who leads and guides us.
This heartwarming story illustrates the point Jesus made when he said, “give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38).
It can be tempting to hear this and focus on what we get out of giving, but doing so would miss the point. Jesus preceded that statement with this one: “love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the most high, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked” (v. 35).
Have you ever fought a dragon? “Dragons” are the supersized dangers and frailties of life that we’re inadequate to fight alone.
But in those battles, we have a champion. Not a fairy tale champion—the ultimate champion who has fought on our behalf and conquered the dragons that seek to destroy us.
What “dragons” are you facing in life? How can Christ’s victory on the cross provide encouragement as you deal with them?