King David is quite possibly the most infamous king to ever live on the planet. Jesus, the Savior of mankind, came from David’s lineage. We all know the king wasn’t without his problems. Infidelity, poor decisions, fleeing from his enemies and abandoning his people–are just a few of the major problems David caused. Possibly the worst, and one that had lasting effects, was when David mourned for his wicked son Absalom.
David had been forced out of Jerusalem and only had a few loyal people willing to fight for him. Even still, when Absalom died David threw himself down and mourned, even saying that he wished he would have died so Absalom would have lived. This brought the morale of his troops to an all time low. Joab intervened and rebuked David: “For you have made it clear today that commanders and servants are nothing to you. . . now therefore arise, go out and speak kindly to your servants, for I swear by the Lord, if you do not go, not a man will stay with you this night, and this will be worse for you than all the evil that has come upon you from your youth until now” (2 Samuel 19:6, 7 ESV).
David did muster up the strength to talk to his troops and encourage them. Eventually they fell back in line and supported David, but David’s poor leadership led to many great losses, including the loss of morale. Right now morale in our nation is at a very low low. There is a lot of heartache going on in the lives of many and, like David, we need to encourage each other whether we feel like it or not. People need to know they’re not alone. They need to know that we stand beside them. There are many ways we can encourage people who are suffering and we need to go the extra mile to do so. The Lord will bless those efforts. He always has.
Paul talked a lot about unity in the church in Ephesus. He urged the Christians to live in a manner worthy of their calling, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, and bearing with one another in love. The purpose was to maintain the unity in Christ through the bond of peace. As Paul says many times elsewhere, the body of Christ is made up of many parts. Each member of the body has a different function, and one is no more or less important than the other. Some of what could be considered less noble parts are actually indispensable.
The model was healthy and holy. Paul intensifies the purpose of maintaining this unity: “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and to the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the of the stature of the fullness of Christ. . . we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-13, 15 ESV).
It’s important now, more than ever before, that we live this out. The church in this nation is on life support in many respects while it
could should be thriving. We Christians have an amazing opportunity to turn the weakened body into a unified, holy body that is bound together by peace through the Holy Spirit. But to do so takes equipping of the saints. We have our work cut out for us, but as followers of Christ we can do it.
There are countless opportunities to serve people in need and to teach them the good news of Jesus Christ. This coming year will be one of equipping, equipping, equipping!
“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42).
We have many generations of traditions surrounding the Lord’s Table. Most of these traditions are noble, and thankfully we are diligent in remembering Christ at the table. It’s refreshing to know that we hold a high view of communion. Personally, I like to envision sitting with the first Christians who sat around the table, eating, drinking, and sharing what Christ meant to them.
The letter written by the Bithynian governor Pliny to Emperor Trajan around 110 A.D. gives us an early glimpse of what a worship day looked like for early Christians. Pliny was writing Trajan about the “problem” they faced with Christians who permeated the Roman Empire. Trajan’s practice was to give them three chances to “repent,” denouncing Christ, or else they would be executed. He described the “offense” of the Christians this way:
They asserted, however, that the sum and substance of their fault or error had been that they were accustomed to meet on a fixed day before dawn and sing responsively a hymn to Christ as to a god, and to bind themselves by oath, not to do some crime, but not to commit fraud, theft, or adultery, not falsify their trust, nor to refuse to return a trust when called upon to do so. When this was over, it was their custom to depart and to assemble again to partake of food — but ordinary and innocent food.Christian History Institute
We know that the early Christians, even while being persecuted, were devoted to gathering to worship then gathering again for the Lord’s supper. Though we have removed the meal, there are ways that we can reconnect with the communal aspect of the Lord’s supper. We should always strive to rethink and reimagine the table. It was not an isolated, individualistic event. The Christians were united both at and through the table with Jesus as the meal. It was a time to celebrate salvation and to participate in the heavenly table, where all Christians of all cultures and all time gather together!
It is refreshing when we become giving in the breaking of the bread and the drinking of the fruit of the vine. We commune with and give to our fellow brothers and sisters. There are many ways to re-envision the Supper. It’s wonderful to think about the depth and meaning of this meal that has been celebrated for thousands of years!