May 5, 2017
Our legislators and elected leaders are facing some challenging days as they are working on the state budget during a special session which began on Thursday. The political rhetoric is sharp and frustrations are high. Many are discouraged about the situation as they seek how to best deal with our state's financial difficulties.
We usually try to hold a Bible study during any special sessions or budget meetings. I thought long and prayed hard as to what might be an encouragement to our leaders during these trying times.
I was reminded of one of my heroes from American church history who who faced trying, difficult times and yet served the Lord faithfully. Jonathan Edwards was a faithful well-known pastor, a brilliant theologian, and a popular author. Yet after 23 years of faithful, fruitful ministry, he was voted out of his church. He was fired! Many of those involved were part of his extended family. What makes Edwards one of my heroes is what he did next.
He preached an encouraging, compassionate farewell message to his church. He continued, at the congregation’s request, to preach for them for the next 15 months while they found his replacement. He then spent the next seven years at a frontier mission station serving as a pastor and missionary to native Americans. How could Edwards serve so faithfully in the face of such “failure” and disappointment? It was because of his deep understanding of the glory of God and of all that Christ had done for him.
While most know Edwards only for his most famous sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God", he preached many other wonderful sermons and wrote many other great works on the Christian life. Many consider his greatest sermon to be one titled "The Admirable Conjunction of Diverse Excellencies in Christ Jesus". Edwards begins in Revelation 5:5-6 where Jesus is described as "The Lion of Judah" and the "Lamb as if slain" and notes how vividly contrasting these qualities are. He then goes on to consider many of the contrasting qualities that are found in the person of Jesus Christ and demonstrated in His suffering and death on the cross.
It was Jonathan Edward's view of the glory of Christ and of all that He has done for us that kept him going through those difficult times. It is a clearer view of Jesus and a deeper understanding of what He has done that will encourage our leaders as they serve. This is the theme of our special session Bible study, "The Diverse Excellencies of Jesus Christ".
- Pray for our leaders as they meet to deal with the challenging issue of passing the state budget.
- Pray that Christian leaders might be encouraged as they serve and deal with these difficult issues.
- Pray that leaders who do not know Christ might come to understand who He is and what He has done for them.
Capitol Commission West Virginia