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Daily Devotional for October 19


October 19                                                  Matthew 10:34-42

A sign over the door at my neighborhood weight room pro-
claims in bold letters, "NO PAIN, NO GAIN." Anyone who
has ever pumped iron knows the message to be true.

Those guys who stop by the spa for thirty minutes once or
twice a week and spend their time talking about football get
nowhere. Nor do those women who work diligently for a few
days and then backslide, skipping weeks at a time. Bellies still
bounce and skin still sags on the bodies of half-hearted weight

Physical strength and muscle tone don't come without some
struggle and discomfort. In today's Scripture, Jesus tells us the
same is true for our Christian faith.

Our faith doesn't stop with peace of mind and a rosy outlook
on life. True Christian commitment often leads to tension and
conflict. Christians don't always feel happy. They face troubles
and plenty of them, some even coming from their own family

My pastor calls today's Gospel message one of the things she
wishes Jesus hadn't said. And it's true that being a Christian
would be so much simpler without the pain.

But Christ isn't saying that joy doesn't come, nor that we won't
find peace in Christ. Christ is simply saying that hardships may
stand in the way of our reaching those goals.

We can take heart, though, knowing that just as the crucifix-
ion was followed by the resurrection, so conflict is followed
by joy. Just as muscle aches result in stronger muscles, life's
toils result in stronger Christians.

A country and western ballad title puts it still another way.
"I Never Promised You A Rose Garden," it says. Neither did
Jesus. Just, in the end, roses.

From The Road to Emmaus - An inclusive devotional Edited by Joseph W. Houle

Emmaus House of Prayer - Washington D.C.1989

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