E-votional - Always
June 2-8, 2003


“And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:20 (NRSV)


   It was odd, it was different and quite uncomfortable. It was time to say good-bye. The hopes and the dreams continue, but they begin to take a different shape, why? It is time for me to leave the equation. Yesterday was my last Sunday at Tatum United Methodist Church. It was time for good-bye, but, there, in the midst of everything, something else seemed to linger, something more. It seems the something more was and is, in fact, the more.

   Hear the Good News, When Christ returned from the grave, only to say good-bye to His disciples, His friends, the ones whom He loved, He said good-bye, and more. The Gospels tell us Jesus led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. They worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. They went out and proclaimed the good news everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it. It was more than good-bye, it was good-bye and.
As Christ left the Disciples, they were faced with living in the world, ministering to the world as an agent of change. In order to succeed in the mission and commission bestowed upon them, they needed to first Grow. 1 Peter reminds us we are always in the state of growth. This need mandates that we must feed our growth with
Obedience and love. We do this by loving the unlovable and doing the right thing even when it is the hard thing to do. We can and must do this through service. Following the example in the story of the healing of the paralytic, we learn that service and serving our brothers and sisters often times require us to be innovative and unconventional in order to meet the needs of others as we bear witness to the love and grace of Christ within our own life.  The last element Jesus leaves us with as He Ascends to Heaven is the need to live a faith of Integrity.  In the parable of the sower, we are opened up to the daunting and humbling responsibility of sharing the Good News of Christ with others.  If this is our task, we must do this with the utmost integrity.  This is his good-bye.  But what about the "more"?  
With this commission and good-bye comes a promise, the "more", the and, the always.  Jesus' presence with them ,with us, as we live out our faith is the promise which we derive strength and confidence from and where he keep our faith.  This commission is perhaps the most difficult and all-encompassing directives we will ever be faced with, yet it is the one directive that bridges our inner hope and search in life to the wholeness and sense of purpose in life.  Good-bye And.  What a parting gift.


   Gracious God, I thank You for the opportunities You have brought before me.  I pray that as I face the new challenges ahead, You will enable me to serve You in everything that I do.  Help me to grow, to love and live with integrity.  Bless me where I have been and where I go. Thank You for all you have done in my life and all you will continue to do, for I come to You through Jesus Christ, my Lord, my Savior! Amen.

Grace & Peace

David Banks
Jewett United Methodist Church
PO Box 254
Jewett, TX 75846
(903) 626-4003


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