THE WEEK OF TRINITY I – THURSDAY

LESSON: PHILIPPIANS 3:7-11

Without faith it is impossible to please him [God]. Hebrews 11:6

We should not form an estimate of Lazarus with his sores, poverty, and troubles only from external factors. For there are many people who suffer want and trouble without ever deriving any benefit from it. King Herod had to endure terrible sufferings, as we are reminded in the Acts of the Apostles (12:23). But his status before God did not improve thereby.

Poverty and suffering in themselves do not make men acceptable to God. But the poverty and suffering of one who is already acceptable to God is something precious in God’s sight, as the psalmist declares, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:15).

We must look into the heart of Lazarus and search there for the treasure which made his sores so precious. This, without a doubt, was his faith and love, for without faith nothing can please God, as the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews reminds us (11:6). The heart of Lazarus must have been so constituted that, even in the midst of his poverty and wretchedness, he looked to God for all good and found his only consolation in reliance on God.

Moreover, he experienced such rich satisfaction and pleasure in God’s goodness and grace that he would have readily endured more suffering had that been the will of his gracious God. It was a real, living faith which, through the realization of God’s goodness, softened his heart so that nothing was too onerous or difficult for him to endure or do. Faith makes the heart experienced when it experiences God’s grace.

SL 11:1199 (12-14)
AE 78:59

PRAYER: Give us such faith in You and Your sure purposes, heavenly Father, that we do not measure our lives simply by what we have done or failed to do, but by our obedience to Your will, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit forever and ever. Amen.