We are in the midst of an extreme hot spell. The past two days it has set a record of 108 and 106 respectively. It looks like the high will be over 100 for the next 4-5 days at least. It is a dry heat which is unusual for the St. Louis (Troy, IL) area. I know there are those who live in the southwest who brag about the dry heat. You can have it. I am used to the miserable heat and humidity of the Midwest and frankly, I prefer it to this intolerable dry heat. I reckon that makes me a true midwestern when I prefet our normal summer to this dry, hot summer weather.
This dry heat burns everything up. No wonder the southwest is a desert. Nothing normal can live in this heat, by normal I mean the stuff that we are used ot in the midest- things like grass, tomato plants, peppers, flowers, etc. We have to water and water just to keep them alive. The heat keeps them from producing like they should. We are anxiously awaiting our first ripe tomato, but this heat is sure keeping them from doing what they are meant to do - produce fruit for us to eat.
And all this got me thinking (imagine that). I started thinking about spiritul life. Our souls are like the plants of the field, the grass of the yard, the tomatos in the garden. They need to be watered with the Living Water of our Lord Jesus Christ. They need to regularly be given that refreshing Word of God to keep them alive and growing, to help them to produce fruit in keeping with repentance.
When we avoid worship and avoid receiving the Lord's Supper as so many people are prone to do today (You don't need to go to church to be a Christian.), what is happening to our souls? Oh, they are like the grass. They grow for a while without being watered. They might even need to be cut once in a while because they get too tall. But when the heat is on, when the devil puts to screws to you and starts to really press you in your faith (sickness, death, loss of job, anger with another person, gossiping, cussing, etc.) what happens? Are you able to withstand such pressure? Can you faith stay alive? Look at the grass. For those of you who are reading this in the Midwest, go look at your yard at this point and tell me what you see. Is is lush, green and growing? Do you just love to walk barefoot through it because it is like a thick carpet of green wonder? Or is it dry and brown? Does it crunch when you walk through it? Do you wonder if it will ever look nice again?
Of course it will. It will rain and it will green up. But let me ask you this, if it only rained 2 times a year, or it only rained once every couple months, what would your grass look like? It would be dry and brown (much like the grass in the desert southwest in the "dry heat"). You wouldn't have much of a yard. If you only water your soul with the Word of God on Christmas and Easter, or once every other month or so, what is the status of your faith? Is it lush, vital and growing? Or is it stagnant and brown? Is it even alive?
I cannot and will not judge you. But I will let God's Word judge the status of your heart. "Let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing..." (Hebrews 10:25). "Remember the Sabboth day by keeping it hold." (3rd Commandment) "And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers." (Acts 2:42)
"Everyone who drinks of this water (earthly water from the well) will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The ater that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." (John 4:13-14) Jesus gives living water. He gives that in His Word and Sacraments. To deny them, to disdain them, to avoid them, is putting yourself on spiritually dry ground that can and will lead to eternal damnation. Ouch! Did I just say that? Yes I did. If you avoid the Word of God and don't take the Sacrament, you are putting your soul in dire straits. Like grass that will finally die out and blow away if it is never watered (walk through the desert) so it is with your soul. Water of life comes from the Word and Sacraments.
Can you be a Christian and not worship, not drink deeply from the water of life that Jesus gives? Of course you can. But will you? And more than that, why would you want to try to go without the living water when He gives it to you so freely and willingly.
As you take a long drink of a cool glass of water today, when you are dry and thirsty, think about your soul. It needs refreshing too. Hot, dry, weather, burned up grass and no rain. Makes me think about lost souls. What about you?