Rye Congregational Church
Celebrating God’s Love “In the Heart of Rye Since 1726”
Biblical • Traditional • Independent
Sunday Services at 10 a.m.
Welcome to Rye Congregational Church
For where your treasure is,
there your heart will be also.
~ Matthew 19:21
We come into the world with nothing and we go out the same way; “you can’t take it with you”, so the saying goes. This sentiment resonates with the Bible story of Job, who lost everything to misfortunes of truly biblical proportion, upon which Job resigned himself to his fate, saying, “Naked came I from my mother’s womb, and naked will I depart again”. Amazing also to behold was his faith and gratitude to God – still so strong, even when he had nothing left: “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised” (Job 1:21) Though Job had accumulated unparalleled wealth and worldly status, these things did not come to own him as God demonstrated for the world to see, leaving us an example of how to live in this world, acquire things along the way, and yet be undiminished before God.
I think we have all seen both types in this life. Some are diminished in spirit as they grow in wealth while others continue to grow in spirit regardless of this world’s circumstances. Though they are weak, yet they are strong. Though they may be poor, yet are they rich. When times are prosperous, they do not forget God. When times are hard, they do not lose hope in Him. They are immovable and thus reveal the presence of God’s Spirit within them; for no human being, in his or her own strength, could be that way. Often that resilience derives from an inspired example, a parent or teacher who helped form their character early in life. Perhaps it is the product of a continued walk with God through dark valleys and mountaintops alike. Perhaps their strength is in answer to prayer – the trembling cries of a “strong person” who is yet a mere child alone in God’s presence.
In this regard, as in all else that recommends a course pleasing to God, Jesus Himself showed us how to live: “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, He offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the One who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverent submission” (Hebrews 5:7). Reverent submission to the will of God is the key, I think. Job’s response can be described that way. We struggle our way through life in our relationship with God, but there is place for reverent submission to His will. The struggle is in coming to know His will, in finally seeing it through the foggy lens of earthly life. Our peace is in finding His will, our joy in living it. Though there is much around us to blame, perhaps more than we realize, our struggles are self-imposed, peace and are joy delayed by our own resistance and waywardness.
Where is the heart? What light does it follow? What home does it seek? In the end, it will be gain or loss for each of us, depending on how these questions are answered. Jesus walked the right way. Following Him assures us of at least three things: we will never get lost, we will never be alone, will will always have a treasure the world cannot offer or comprehend.
From the pastor’s desk at Rye Congregational Church, a Happy Thanksgiving and a Blessed Christmas Season to you all!
(The Preacher in the Rye)