Commitment & Stamina
A devotion from the Book “Commitment & Stamina”
(c) 1982 Kirk Press - by Bobbi Johnson-Tanner and Doris Tanner
Scripture:John 6:35-40 (Good News Translation)
“I am the bread of life,” Jesus told them. “He who comes to me will never be hungry, he who believes in me will never be thirsty. Now I told you that you have seen me but will not believe. Everyone whom my Father gives me will come to me, because I have come down from heaven to do not my own will but the will of him who sent me. And it is the will of him that I should not lose any of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them all to life on the last day. For what my Father wants is that all who see the Son and believe in him should have eternal life. And I will raise them to life on the last day.”
The communists have called Christianity the opiate of the masses because of the “pie in the sky by and by” teachings of some groups. There is some truth to this for all of us who have been miserable in life at one time or another. “Things can only get better”, or dreams of relief “from problem and pain” in the future are all part of the human pattern. Hope does spring eternally in the human breast.
The commitment to Christian hope, however, means much more than clutching at a belief in the release from earthly cares. It means we know we are surrounded by the love of God, that he cares for us now and will care for us after death and that the hope which gives us so much motivation for effective living is partly, if not totally, the acting upon us by the Holy Spirit, our Comforter. Our hope, our belief in the future, our assurance of pardon, our promise of life as the ultimate reality, keeps us moving confidently even in the face of death.
Unit Leader Nancy Aasen writes: “Friday was one of the most eye-opening blessed experiences I’ve had in Covenant Players. We did a 2½ hour workshop and 1½ hour performance for the Kennedy Center in Morgantown, WV, a minimum security men’s prison. Needless to say, I was frightened about leading a workshop there – being able to relate to the men, get their cooperation and respect, since I was a woman…
“Soon my fears were dispelled. We found the men to be open, honest and enthusiastic toward us. Some of the creativity was great. We had discussions after some of the plays and the participation was full. We shared personally with a number of the men and hope we may be hearing from them later. It was an amazing experience. It dismissed a lot of my ‘prison’ stereotype feelings and renewed again in me the wonder of being able to bring Christ’s message of hope to others in need.”
Unit Leader Scott Hamilton writes from Military II Unit in Germany: “We worked for guys in the field, some of whom hadn’t been home to their families for months. The ministry we have with these men really comes home during discussions afterward, knowing you’ve lifted them up that day plus possibly giving them something to really think about. [This] gives us a real source of job satisfaction.”
Anita Pearsall, Unit Leader of the Rocky Mountain Region, reports: “I think one of the greatest challenges we encounter is to perform at our optimum when there appears to be no audience response. Recently our unit performed at a psychiatric hospital. The patients were for the greatest part, either intensely medicated or not ‘psychologically coherent’. Our entire day was spent going from ward to ward performing and sharing Christ’s message – unaware of whether we were reaching or communicating to any, and feeling personally inadequate, discouraged at our seeming lack of success. At the close of the day, the chaplain who had supported us all day appeared happy and pleased with our work. He told us that if the patients do not like what is going on, they get up and turn their chairs so that their back is turned. All our audiences had faced us throughout the entirety of each program. We had communicated!”
From Ohio, Mitch Ellis writes that his unit had performed for an evening mass at a university, doing the play ANYBODY KNOW THE WAY. “Afterwards, a man came up and began
talking. He explained he was an alcoholic who had been sober for several months, but his wife, a Christian, was leaving him. He was himself trying to accept the Lord, but could not understand why he had to go through all that he had. The line from the play, ‘different paths for different people, I reckon’ opened up a new understanding for him in the ways of the Lord. He said the play gave hope and a reason to persevere. Praise the Lord!”
Jesus said, “What my Father wants is that all who see the Son and believe in him should have eternal life… I will never turn away anyone who comes to me…” With this great promise before us, we can truly commit ourselves to hope eternally with confidence and faith.
II Corinthians 1:5-7 (Good News Translation) "Just as we have a share in Christ’s many sufferings, so also through Christ we share in God’s great help. If we suffer, it is for your help and salvation; if we are helped, then you too are helped and given the strength to endure with patience the same sufferings that we also endure. So our hope in you is never shaken; we know that just as you share in our sufferings, you also share in the help we receive."
PRAYER: Thank you, Father, that through your son, Jesus Christ, I have eternal hope. Give me the confidence and strength of the Holy Spirit this day that other people will see You in me – and receive your love.