Persevere

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1581 edition of the Geneva Bible

Daily Reformation, 2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27

About the Reformer

It is astonishing that in the midst of the war of theological passions, [Luther] could prepare such devotional books as his commentaries and sermons, which are full of faith and practical comfort. He lived and moved in the heart of the Scriptures; and this was the secret of his strength and success.

On the second of April, Luther left Wittenberg, accompanied by Amsdorf, his friend and colleague, Peter Swaven, a Danish student, and Johann Pezensteiner, an Augustinian brother. Thus the faculty, the students, and his monastic order were represented. They rode in an open farmer’s wagon, provided by the magistrate of the city. The imperial herald in his coat-of-arms preceded on horseback. Melanchthon wished to accompany his friend, but he was needed at home. “If I do not return,” said Luther in taking leave of him, “and my enemies murder me, I conjure thee, dear brother, to persevere in teaching the truth. Do my work during my absence: you can do it better than I. If you remain, I can well be spared. In thee the Lord has a more learned champion.”

—Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church

Pulling It Together

“You’re not taking care of our church!” he declared to the pastor. In fact, the people were still receiving pastoral ministry, sound preaching and teaching, and the church was growing a little. Indeed, new ministry had begun with people beyond the congregation. But that was the problem: the gospel was being extended to others when the people wanted all of the pastor’s attention. The pastor, who had spent so much time and energy caring for them over the years, was finding purchase for the gospel seed in fertile soil elsewhere. He would continue to work that new soil, for that was his calling and his heart’s desire. Yet to the people he still cared for, it seemed they no longer had his full attention—that he had essentially died to them.

Here is where one must either cease from God’s will or see it through. A “death” as occurred. What is God calling you to do? All too often one sees and responds to what brothers and sisters desire you to do for them. But what does God want you to do for him? Sometimes the will of God matches the will of the congregation but sadly, you must admit this is rarely the case in scripture and, as it often turns out, in the life of the church. What will you do?

© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reformation: Devotions with the Reformers

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