Tim Johnson, editor
April 20, 2008
The term Beatitude is defined as "a state of utmost bliss" (Webster's New Collegiate). It is used to refer to the list of pronouncements made by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:1-10 which begin with, "Blessed are&ldots;" They are actually pronouncements of eternal blessing by God upon those who are as described, rather than statements that those so described are "happy".
What if Satan wrote his own Beatitudes? Wouldn't they be a pronouncement of things pleasing to him, just as the real beatitudes manifest traits that are pleasing to God? Wouldn't they lead to eternal cursing rather blessing? (cf. John 10:10)
What might Satan's "Beatitudes" be like?
So, which set of "beatitudes" fits you best? God's or Satan's?
-- Adapted from an outline by Philip Strong
With his thumb, a hitchhiker says, "You furnish the car, gas, attend to the repairs and upkeep, supply the insurance, and I'll ride with you. But you must be going my way, and if you have an accident, I'll sue for the damages." Sounds pretty one-sided, doesn't it?
There are hitchhikers in other places than just along the roadways. Unfortunately, there are sometimes hitchhikers in local churches. These members seem to say "You go to the Bible classes, attend all of the various assemblies, do the visitation and personal work, shoulder the responsibilities, take care of the meeting house and grounds and all of the things that need doing, and I'll go along for the ride. But if things aren't done to suit me, I will complain, criticize, and probably get out and hitchhike to another group."
You've seen them too, haven't you? You've seen professing Christians that seem to just be along for the ride. They frustrate the growth and progress of the local church. Because of indifference or lack of total commitment, they add nothing to the furtherance of the Lord's cause. The only thing they add is more work for the faithful. Preachers and elders are usually at a loss to know how to awaken them to a sense of their personal responsibility. Many times they become so accustomed to riding the coat tails of others that they seem to know of no other way to travel.
What do we say to hitchhiking church members? Shall we let them keep on depending on others without learning to pull their own weight? Shall we stand quietly by while they slip closer to eternity, unprepared to meet the Lord's judgment? No, someone needs to remind these 'thumbing' members that they will never be able to hitch a ride to Heaven. And going along just for the ride hinders and holds back the congregation's work. If you know of a church member hitchhiker like these we have described, why not lovingly talk to him or her about their soul and the need for their help and cooperation.
Hitchhikers are not permitted on the interstate expressways today. Let's remember that they are not allowed on the Lord's highway either. Hitchhikers, please read Matthew 25:1-46!
~ Bob Dickey
West Knoxville church of Christ article database, www.wkcoc.com