Today's Devotions

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Showcase: Freedom

  • Freedom of Simplicity, Richard Foster +

    In Freedom of Simplicity Foster gently encourages us to see that our identity, our sense of comfort and security must Read More
  • Freedom and Authority-by JI Packer +

    "Authority" is a word that makes most people think of law and order, direction and restraint, command and control, dominance Read More
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Don  Carson

2 Kings 8; 1 Timothy 5; Daniel 12; Psalm 119:49–72

ALTHOUGH I DID NOT KNOW IT, while I was in my last year of high school my parents made a quiet vow before the Lord.

For reasons too complicated to go into here, they decided that unless certain things happened, at the end of the year Dad would resign from the pastoral charge he had maintained for fifteen years.

I finished school, left home, and went off to university. Within a month or so I received a letter from my parents: Dad had resigned as pastor of that church.

My parents had very little money. There was no other French-speaking church that was open to him. At this juncture Dad felt too old to start another church in another locale. He refused to consider pastorates in English Canada: both his call and his heart were tied up with Quebec. So I found out what my parents had decided: they were moving to Hull, on the French side of the river across from Ottawa, the nation's capital, where Dad would support his family as a federal translator, and give as much time as he could to the French-speaking church in Hull.

I did not get "home" until Christmas. Somewhere along the line I probed my father to try to understand his reasoning. Granted his conviction that he should stay in a French-speaking part of Canada, the question soon arose as to how he would support his family. "For Scripture says," Dad explained, "that if a man does not support his own family, he is worse than an infidel": he was using the King James Version form of words of 1 Timothy 5:8: "If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever."

Obviously this text has some exceptions. If a man is too ill to work, for example, he is exempt—and judging by the tone of the entire chapter, the church itself should pick up whatever support is necessary, if the family cannot manage. But what strikes the reader about many of the instructions in this chapter is the way the church's provision for the social needs of her people is prescribed with extraordinary sensitivity to the dangers. At the risk of oversimplification, the pattern Paul lays out can be summarized like this: those in genuine need are looked after by the church, but those with the capacity to find their way and support themselves must do so—both so as not to be a burden on the church, and for their own good—or be charged with abandoning the faith. Laziness is not next to godliness.

I cannot think of many times when I had greater respect for Dad's obedient faith.

Reflections to Consider

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Audio & Video

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  • Walking towards Easter: Jesus's Tears +

    These scriptures reflect the pain and suffering, the tears Jesus felt leading up to his crucifixion. Read More
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    Proverbs 15:23: To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good Read More
  • Living after Easter +

    Acts 1:8.  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my Read More
  • Loving like Jesus and the good, good Father +

    Jesus calls his disciples--and us--to love. Read More
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Hidden Blessings

  • Easter: transforming how we relate to others +

    As we prepare for Easter, let’s prayerfully consider some questions regarding John 17. Read More
  • Jesus as the cultivator of our heart +

    Day after day our heart experiences dozens and hundreds of interactions: with others, with news stories,  with our thoughts, or Read More
  • Sing to the Lord: Thinking about to praise God each day with songs from our hearts +

    One of the overriding themes throughout scripture is praising God regardless of our circumstances. Read More
  • A focus on blessing others +

    We are called to be a blessing to the world first to those around us. Read More
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