August 11, 2013

A daily choice

John Chrysostom (349-407) was a popular, respected preacher. Contrasting allegorical interpretation often used in his time, his straightforward understanding of the Scriptures offered practical application of the Bible to everyday life. Today’s devotional is his commentary on these verses…
By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. (Hebrews 11:24–26)

Chrysostom says that Moses didn’t simply leave the palace of Egypt, but he “refused” and rejected it. With heaven set before him, why admire an Egyptian palace?

I felt like that looking at artifacts in the Smithsonian. With all that God promises me, of what value are the relics of yesterday or today? Even the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is nothing compared to my eternal inheritance or even the spiritual freedom I enjoy today.

However, Chrysostom also points out that Moses could have compared his earthly privileges and the treasures of Egypt with his heavenly resources, but he didn’t. Instead, he compared them with the reproach of Christ and being mistreated with the people of God. That is, he considered it sin not to be ready to suffer with other Christians.

Notice that I didn’t think of that. I compared the stuff of this world with the good stuff of being a believer. Unlike Moses, I am far quicker to regard the good of following Christ as better than the good of this world, rather than the suffering of following Christ being better than the good of this world.

That I am often a fair-weather Christian shows up when life becomes uncomfortable and I start whining. Now I’m remembering the words of the prophet who asked, “If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses? And if in a safe land you are so trusting, what will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?" (Jeremiah 12:5)

The writer of Hebrews reminds me that Christ suffered yet did not respond in wrath. He was reviled and endured all things. Moses also chose this rather than comfort. Today, Chrysostom leaves me with the same question to ponder: For what will I choose – a life of ease or disgrace for the sake of Christ?

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