On Sunday, after our delightful church family Zoom meeting, Di and I set off down to London to see our son Simon and his lovely wife Dawn and the twins. I was tired from not sleeping well after my Flu and Pneumonia injections the day before. I do not look forward to the queues of traffic in London and there are things to do here at home, like getting ready to show people around the house we need to sell. However, we set off. I was so tired on the way, that we drove into a garden centre and I had a quick nap in the car before setting off again. When we arrived, the twins had just woken up from their afternoon sleep and were bright, happy, and full of life. They wanted to be held by us and we were able to entertain them and see the fun new things they could do. We walked to the park with them, had a little picnic on the bench near the swings, saw a magnificent double rainbow and took lots of photos and pictures on our mobiles. As we left later on in the evening, after spending time praying together, we reflected on how glad we were that we had made the effort. We could easily have said, “ we will come when we are not so busy and tired” but then we would have missed the delightful smiles on our grandchildren’s faces, all the photos we now have, magnificent rainbows and being able to chat together on the journey and pray together. Making the effort was the key.
God’s blessings in our lives are not based on our effort, but on faith in what Jesus has done for us (Gal 2.16), but the Scriptures do encourage us to make every effort to grow in our faith and knowledge of Him. In 2 Peter 1.5 Peter encourages the believers to make every effort to add to their faith goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love. Peter wants them to have these qualities so they will be productive in their relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. When Jesus was about to be arrested and betrayed, he asked the disciples to be with him in his hour of need. As they drifted off to sleep, he says “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me one hour?” (Matt 26.40). The writer to the Hebrews in Heb. 12.14 encourages us to “make every effort to live at peace with everyone” and in Eph 4.3 Paul encourages us to “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace”. It is clear from these Scriptures that making an effort forms part of our growing relationship with God and one another.
As we start a new week, could I encourage you to be part of our family of people and make every effort to grow in our knowledge of him and live out our lives with actions that please him. To pray together (particularly with others this Tuesday evening from 7.30—8.30 on Zoom), to come along to our first church service since lockdown, this coming Sunday, at Bridlewood school, even if we do have to wear face masks and are not allowed to sing! -To keep engaging in Zoom joint meetings as well as serve one another where we can, so we become productive, grow together and see the kingdom advance in Swindon and the surrounding area. It all takes effort. Making the effort though has great rewards.