Super-Gathering time is here, SuperBowl Sunday! Super Dooper! But, sorry to be the wet blanket here, starting next week without the NFL--the number one name in Sunday afternoon gatherings--what will people do?
Actually we gather together alot, and in the name of many different things don't we? I was nearly called to a gathering for a funeral in the name of a relative of mine (fortunately he survived the heart attack). We attend:
-business gatherings in the name of our company or -holiday gatherings in the name of our family. -political gatherings in the name of a party or idealogy;-religious gatherings in the name of a deity or theology-school gatherings, -sports gatherings, -club gatherings, -party gatherings, -birth & death gatherings. Life is one non stop activity of gathering, don't you agree?
Most of the time we don't think about it, but what are the benefits of gathering in a name? Here are a few. "In the Name of:"
- Claims our attention.
- Forges our focus.
- Stirs our passions.
- Shapes our values.
- Inspires our creativity.
- Earns our loyalty.
- Unites our hearts.
- Garners our strength.
- Utilizes our labor.
- Authenticates our accomplishments!
What is the most important difference in gathering in the Name of Jesus?
Unlike any other name, He alone has the essential claim on our obedience! It is through obedience to him that we climb the pinnacle of our humanity! Bob Dylan wrote a song, years ago, titled: "Got To Serve Somebody." He recognized that we all bow down to some name and consequently the character and quality of the name we serve shapes the character and quality of our own lives.
George MacDonald puts it this way:
"There is but one plan of salvation, and that is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ; that is, to take him for what he is—our master, and his words as if he meant them, which assuredly he did. To do his words is to enter into vital relation with him, to obey him is the only way to be one with him. The relation between him and us is an absolute one; it can nohow begin to live but in obedience: it is obedience....Tell me something that you have done, are doing, or are trying to do because he told you.
What have you done this day because it was the will of Christ?
- Have you dismissed, once dismissed, an anxious thought for the morrow?
- Have you ministered to any needy soul or body, and kept your right hand from knowing what your left hand did?
- Have you begun to leave all and follow him?
- Did you set yourself to judge righteous judgment?
- Are you being mindful of covetousness?
- Have you forgiven your enemy?
- Are you seeking the kingdom of God and his righteousness before all other things?
- Are you hungering and thirsting after righteousness?
An even more important difference is the promise of His presence in His gatherings!
- Have you given to some one that asked of you?
"Well do I know it is faith that saves us—but not faith in any work of God—it is faith in God himself. If I did not believe God as good as the tenderest human heart, the fairest, the purest, the most unselfish human heart could imagine him, yea, an infinitude better, higher than we as the heavens are higher than the earth—believe it, not as a proposition, or even as a thing I was convinced of, but with the responsive condition and being of my whole nature; if I did not feel every fibre of heart and brain and body safe with him because he is the Father who made me that I am—I would not be saved, for this faith is salvation; it is God and the man one. God and man together, the vital energy flowing unchecked from the creator into his creature—that is the salvation of the creature. But the poorest faith in the living God, the God revealed in Christ Jesus, if it be vital, true, that is obedient, is the beginning of the way to know him, and to know him is eternal life."
George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons II, The Truth in Jesus
While you're waiting for the NFL to start up again next fall, in the meantime why not find two or three others who'll gather with you in the name of Jesus and begin to explore what faith in Him can mean for you from this day forward?
Crazy outfits not required!