Today you should read: Revelation 2:12-17
Any KFC fans out there? A few months back, I taught on the subjects of perseverance and persistence, and the founder of KFC came up as a great illustration. He peddled his chicken recipe around quite a few times before anyone actually wanted it. In fact, some historians say that it wasn’t until his 1,010th time someone tried it or heard about it that it was accepted. Can you even fathom being rejected 1,009 times? That is serious persistence.
Or how about Dr. Seuss? We know him as the greatest children’s book writer of modern era, but did you know that 27 publishers turned him down? How would you respond if that happened to you? I would have moved on to a different career.
Those are some great lessons about perseverance, but they pale in comparison to the two churches mentioned in our reading today: Smyrna and Pergamum. Smyrna is one of two churches that doesn’t get rebuked by Jesus in this list. In fact, the Lord sees fit to simply encourage them and let them know that pressing on will be worth it in the end. The “crown of life” is awaiting them, and all who truly know Jesus, and it is far more valuable than any riches this world can offer.
As for the church at Pergamum, they receive admonition and encouragement. The encouragement is due to the fact that they were persevering in the heart of the lion’s den. Satan was at work in an evil, powerful way, and these believes had to face the darkness head on. But in this congregation, there were also a few sour apples. Some people strayed from orthodoxy, but God gave an opportunity for repentance to them (great picture for us when we are in sin!). And once again, they can persevere in the faith with persistence. It was admonition, but not the kind most of us think of when we hear that word. It was gracious, loving admonition. And we would be wise to heed it whenever we sense it.
What did the Lord teach you in this passage? How will this affect your walk with Jesus? Blessings on your Friday, CPC!
Posted by: Todd Thomas