In social jargon, the “fifth wheel” is the person without a date or a mate. If that person happens to be you, you just might experience some uncomfortable moments. You might even feel like a “misfit” and wish you were home by yourself. These times could cause a person to feel worthless. If you read today’s scripture passages again, you might notice there is a little problem with the math. In Matthew, 1 coin buys 2 sparrows, but in Luke, 2 coins buys 5 sparrows. Shouldn’t 2 coins buy 4 sparrows? Yet, there it is, written in God’s Word, 5 sparrows. It is as if the 5th sparrow is worthless. As if because it cost nothing, it therefore has no value. But then, notice what the rest of verse 6 says: “Yet God does not forget a single one of them.” Always remember, everyone of us is important to God. Perhaps, we can’t preach like Billy Graham, sing like George Beverly Shea and maybe we haven’t been used of God to do miracles, but of this one thing, we can be sure. We are just as important to God’s eternal plan as any of those people. Abraham, Moses, Joseph, David, and Elijah all had their moments. But Jesus said: “None is greater than John the Baptist”.
**The idea for today’s devotional was from a sermon entitled “Does God Know That I Exist?” by Rev. Eddie Herring
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
14 But even though my condition tempted you to reject me, you did not despise me or turn me away. No, you took me in and cared for me as though I were an angel from God or even Christ Jesus himself. – Gal. 4:14 NLT
In this letter to the Galatians, Paul reminds them that he became as much like them as possible without violating his conscience. In our words today, we would probably say that he spent time making friends and building a bridge of confidence so that they would be more willing to listen to him. As the saying goes “people have to know you care before they care what you know”. As it turns out, Paul got to spend quite a bit of time in southern Galatia because of his sickness that he developed. This may have been the beginning of what Paul later referred to as “a thorn in the flesh”. It was very possibly a severe eye disease causing some amount of pain and facial dis-figuration. Paul implies that it might have made some of the people treat him badly and others would have plucked out their own eye and given it to him. But Paul pushes on and asks them the same questions we must ask ourselves and others today. Does our telling you the truth make us your enemy? Or once you know and understand the truth, does it make any sense to turn away from it? Just as Paul did, we have to get the people to understand that our witnessing to them is not because we feel that we are better or more holy than they are. It is because Jesus died for all of us simply because He loved us enough to do that for us. And His love for us requires us to show that same love to others.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
1 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.—Gal. 6:1-3 (NIV)
When we see some Christian brother or sister that is caught in a sin, we should pray for that person. While we are praying for that person, we should also ask the Holy Spirit to give us the words we need to say to them. We need to ask God to give them a receptive spirit to the words and speak those words in love and offer to help them, if we can. Be sure we are not belittling or harsh in our comments. At the same time, we must be sincere and not back down if we personally know that we are speaking the truth and it is not just hearsay. Correcting our brothers and sisters just might be the hardest thing we are ever asked to do. Why? Because we are not perfect and never will be. We will have to risk rejection and possibly a bad reaction from them. If they respond badly, you may be tempted to react to their actions. Don’t!
Do not gossip (or as we Christians love to say, “share”) about the incident or the person. The next thing is to take other witnesses with you. 15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.–Matt. 18:15-17 (NIV)