September 12, 2011
But David said to Saul, "Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me ... Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God." 1 Samuel 17:34-35a, 36
Back when there was a Concordia Junior College in Milwaukee we had a prof who said, "Find out what you're willing to die for and you'll have a pretty good idea of what you should live for."
It was good advice.
For example, King David was willing to die protecting the livelihood of his father's family. That's why the young shepherd risked his life fighting and, if necessary, killing lion and bear.
Of course, there is the story of Brooke Collins, a resident of Juneau, Alaska. Last week she let her dogs out and one of them, a dachshund named Fudge, started to bark. When she looked, she saw Fudge in the mouth of a black bear. She said it was carrying him off "like a salmon."
Collins took off after the two, managed to catch up with them, and did the only thing she could think of: she punched the bear in the nose. Now I don't know what kind of punch Brooke Collins of Juneau, Alaska, can throw, but the bear dropped the dog and headed off for the mountains.
Now I could say Collins was foolish. If I did I would get about a gazillion letters accusing me of not loving dogs or pets (but I do love them). So instead of me making the judgment, I'll let Collins judge herself. Thinking back upon the incident, she said it was stupid to punch a black bear in the snout to save her dog.
All of this takes me to the point of the devotion: Jesus Christ. As I look at Scripture, one thing is crystal clear: the Lord decided that saving sinners was worth sending Jesus into this world. Saving you is the reason Jesus lived; it is the reason He died.
This act of the Lord which has redeemed our souls and forgiven our sins doesn't make sense -- not by human standards. On the other hand, our redemption is the work of an incredibly gracious God. Now the only question which remains is this: as the recipient of Christ's blood-bought salvation, I'd like to know how will you spend your life? For what are you willing to live and die? Will you, as Luther suggests, "thank and praise, serve and obey Him?"
I pray that response will be most certainly true.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, You loved us when we were unlovable. So that we might be rescued from our spiritual enslavers, You graciously sent Your Son to take our place. For us He was willing to live and die. Now, in light of what He has done, may I live and die giving thanks. In His Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries