October 16, 2013
I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord, and they shall be My people and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart. Jeremiah 24:7
Football Coach Matt Labrum of Union High School in Roosevelt, Utah, is like Brussels sprouts. By that I mean either you like him a lot, or you can't stand him.
You see, Coach Labrum recently made the news because he suspended all 80 members of his high school football team. Understand, he did so not because of their poor playing on the field. No, he took his controversial action because of their attitude when they were off the field.
And what could a team do that would prompt such harsh discipline?
Well, let's see, some were skipping class; some were disrespectful toward their teachers; some were cutting class; some were cyber-bullying other students. It was a long list and one that prompted the coach to say, "We felt like everything was going in a direction that we didn't want our young men going. We felt like we needed to make a stand."
And what a stand it has been. The boys were told if they wanted a spot on the team they had to earn it. They were told rather than practicing for the homecoming game they were going to do community service.
And the reaction? Like I say, either you love the coach, or you don't.
If I read the Bible correctly, there have been a number of times in history when the Lord looked at humanity and said, "I think they're going in a direction I don't like." Most certainly, God felt that way when Adam and Eve sinned -- that time He kicked them out of the Garden. The Lord was upset with people in the days of Noah. Their disobedience prompted the destruction brought about by the flood. Read through the narrative of the Children of Israel and you will be overwhelmed by the number of times God was displeased with and, for a while, suspended their relationship.
Now I know what Coach Labrum wants from his boys. He has told them about his expectations in a letter he shared when they were suspended.
Would it surprise you that the Lord has done the same with us? Look once again at the text which is the basis for today's devotion. The Holy Spirit inspired the prophet Jeremiah to write: "I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord, and they shall be My people and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart."
Jesus said the same thing to the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well. That day He told her, "But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship Him" (John 4:23).
When a person considers the sacrifices the Savior made to win our forgiveness and salvation, when you think upon God's great grace that offers an eternity in paradise, it isn't much to ask. No, it's not much at all.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, grant we may be given a faith which gladly and willingly serves the Savior and shows our thanks in the way we live our lives. In Jesus Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries