From the Preacher’s Pen…

As we continue to see from God’s word, the “Great Commission” is our commission, our charge from God for what He expects us to accomplish here on earth as His family.

The way to actually accomplish what God asks us to do is to begin now! Let me share a favorite story of mine to remind us of just how important it is that we continually encourage one another and that we get our priorities right from the start…

The Unused Cup

Early one Sunday morning, a group of party leaders came by the White House to see President James A. Garfield to discuss a bill they thought should be passed by Congress. They were surprised when he said he had a very important appointment and would only talk to them later that afternoon.

“But Mr. President,” one man asked, “What could be more important than THIS?”

Garfield arose and walked to the door, turned to the party leaders and said, “Gentlemen, I have an appointment at the Lord’s table!” He then left with Mrs. Garfield and went to Sunday morning worship.

President Garfield’s “appointment at the Lord’s table” was a reference to the Lord’s Supper, a memorial of the sufferings of Christ observed by Christians every first day of the week (Acts 20:7). The Apostle Paul gave the following instructions to Christians concerning their “appointment at the Lord’s table”:

“For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for YOU; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

An invitation has been extended to each member of the human race to come in obedient faith (Acts 16:30-31), confessing Jesus as Lord before men (Romans 10:9-10), turning away from sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31) and being immersed for the forgiveness of their sins (Acts 2:38) so that they, too, may take their “reserved seat” at the Lord’s table with those who will inherit eternal life.

Consider the declarations of an “Unused Cup”…

“I am an unused cup for communion… left last Sunday from the worship service, giving testimony of an appointment unkept, a trust broken….

“I was filled in anticipation… that some Christian would drink of my contents and be reminded of the price of their redemption.

“Here I sit— unused… Yet I bear witness of a love extended, a fellowship desired, and a grace made available. ‘This is the NEW covenant in my blood,’ Jesus said.

“Here I remain… reminding one and ALL that God’s gift MUST be claimed. He forces neither himself nor his blessing on anyone — but He eagerly awaits acceptance.

“There is a cup for YOU each Lord’s day… and no one else can ever use it! It is a sacred appointment that each of us has with the Lord to do this in remembrance of Him” (cf. Hebrews 10:24-29).

Yes, there IS an appointment to be kept for the child of God at the Lord’s Table AND there is ALSO a seat reserved for YOU! The Lord’s Table is set…

Will you keep YOUR appointment?

— Adapted

Who can we encourage regularly? Each faithful Christian needs and appreciates a regular dose of encouragement. Don’t you? Each Christian who is struggling with some challenge in life needs and appreciates a regular dose of encouragement. Don’t you?

Each Christian who feels overwhelmed in the battle, who may be slipping a little and in danger of drifting away needs and appreciates that extra word of encouragement and that extra shoulder to help bear the burden.

Need more opportunities? That Christian who has drifted away and who’s heart is growing cold and indifferent toward their Savior might yet respond to an extra dose of encouragement and in so doing you might fan the flame of their faith back to life.

That non-Christian neighbor or friend might well be waiting for you to invite and encourage them just one more time that they might come to know their Savior.

Always keep in mind, in heart and in active practice the encouragement of God to us: But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good. (2 Thessalonians 3:13)

But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. (Hebrews 3:13)

Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

And with all this in mind, let’s go out and have a great week of service together to our Lord!

— Lester P. Bagley