Rejoice

Scripture selection: Luke 10:17

The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

Jesus said, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.  I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

At one point, Jesus’ followers – whom he had sent out in his name – returned with a glowing report.  They were doing the same sort of thing he had been doing!  Even the demonic submitted to them – mere human beings!

Jesus affirmed that they had indeed been given extraordinary power and authority in His name.

He also warned them to not get ahead of themselves.

“Rejoice,” he said, “that your names are written in heaven,” not that the spirits submitted to them.

We too should rejoice at what we are able to do – not in our own power – but in God’s.

Ministry is challenging and important and taxing and joyful – all at the same time.

We must be empowered by the Holy Spirit for all God calls us to do as His people.

Yes, even the demons believe and shudder.

But the real joy is that we are allowed to do God’s work, in God’s name, to His glory.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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