"Hanging in There"
July 14, 2015
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the Word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 2 Timothy 4:1-2
Daniel Fuller of St. Louis may be walking in the footsteps of Simeon Stylites.
Do I hear you asking, "And just who is Daniel Fuller and Simeon Stylites?"? Good question. Simeon was a monk of the Eastern Church who lived in the 400s. Kicked out by a local monastery because his rules for living were too harsh, Simeon went to live on a small platform that he built on the top of a pillar. Indeed, he lived on pillars for more than 37 years. That's living on a 40-foot pillar 24-7-365. Eventually, his faithfulness touched emperor and commoner.
And Daniel Fuller?
Daniel Fuller is a fellow who hangs billboards all around the St. Louis area. His lofty position has given him an interesting perspective on the area's current events, especially the many murders. Indeed, Fuller is so moved that he is committed to climbing up and living on top of a billboard until St. Louis can go seven days without a murder.
Fuller says he hopes he will be up on that billboard for only about a week. I hope so too.
I hope so, but I don't know. Last year St. Louis county had somewhere around 160 homicides. That averages out to more than three murders every week.
So what should Fuller do? Should he give up and forget about his project? I hope not!
* The Old Testament prophets didn't give up and forget their call to repentance because their audiences had turned a deaf and unreceptive ear to God's warnings.
* Jesus didn't give up and forget His redemptive work because a majority of the Jew's important people laughed at Him and orchestrated His murder.
* The disciples didn't give up and forget about taking the Gospel message to every city just because they encountered critics and skeptics who rejected their Redeemer and who hounded His disciples from one community to another.
* Martin Luther didn't give up and forget the message of salvation by grace, even though his teachings were rejected and condemned by the highest authorities of church and state.
All of this is just my way of saying God expects His people to hang in there. He wants us to hang in there when the response is less than we had wanted. He wants us to hang in there when the crowds aren't as overflowing as we had hoped. He wants us to hang in there, even though the offering plates are not always filled to overflowing. He wants us to hang in there and keep teaching, even if some of our class seems to turn a deaf ear.
He wants us to hang in there because faithful men and women are the ones the Holy Spirit uses to share the Gospel, with a lost world and a wandering generation. We hang in there because the world still needs to know: God so loved the world that He gave His only Son (see John 3:16).
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, use me and grant me the grace to hang in there as I am being used. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries