From Force Of Habit

April 21, 2018
by Joel Jongkind

For decades now, I have always had a pocket knife in the left-hand pocket of my trousers. In my work pants, I have a regular-sized pocket knife to work in the garden, or to do minor repairs in the house or in my little workshop. In my dress or casual pants, I have a very small knife, which has a blade, a nail file, and a very small pair of scissors. To be honest, I don't use them all that much, but I have them with me from force of habit.

Then one day, I lost my little knife. It wasn't in my pocket, and it wasn't on the dresser where I usually put it in the evening. I retraced my steps for the day. I had opened an envelope and a cardboard box in another room in the house. I looked everywhere, but it was nowhere to be found. It may seem silly — after all, it is only a little knife — but it really bothered me. It kept niggling on my mind, and all day, I kept looking in every place that I thought that it might be, but I could not find it. Then in the evening, I found it in my easy chair. It had slipped out of my pocket, and it was between the armrest and the seat. I was relieved.

Over the years, I have also noticed a number of people who have slipped out of the church for one reason or another. Even though they may have grown up in the church, gone to worship on a regular basis, and were involved in the activities of the church, they gradually concluded that it did not fulfill their needs. Some were not happy with things which were going on in the church, while others had been hurt by what someone had said to them or about them. Some felt that they were only going to church because they always had, from force of habit. One gentleman told me that he had heard those Bible stories so many times already that he did not need to hear them any more. Some have admitted that they had actually lost their faith, and they didn't miss the church at all. Others have found something else to do on a Sunday.

In Luke 15, Jesus told three parables about losing something. One of them was about a lost coin:

Luke 15:8-9 – Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, "Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!" (NKJV)

I was happy when I found my little knife, and so was my wife, for she knew that I would quit fretting. Jesus tells us that the woman called her friends and neighbours to be happy with her, but He goes on to tell us:

Luke 15:10 – Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. (NKJV)

When we can be so happy about something earthly that is lost and found, let us pray earnestly that people who have lost their faith would find it again. There will indeed be joy in their family, the church, and certainly in heaven — Jesus said so.

Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we pray for all the people who have lost their faith, and for those who have wandered away from the church community. We ask that You would speak to their hearts and return them to faith. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.

About the author:

Joel Jongkind <austria67@bmts.com>
Meaford, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Good word Joel.


    Amen! Well said.


    What are we doing to get these people back to Church,
    You state the problem well but what is the answer?


    I get obsessive when I lose anything. Even say a prayer and get it back.
    Good to think the Lord never gives up on the lost or strayed.


    Hello;
    I always enjoy your devotionals. They are straight forward, short and to the point.
    Thank you.


    Joel – thanks for this message. Sadly, it is true that many have wandered away from the church and yet people today are more lost and disconnected than ever. Thank you for this devotional.


    Good Morning Joel,
    I was very pleased to receive another of your fine ‘sermons’. I can relate well to the knife incident!!
    I look forward to seeing more of your devotions in future.
    Blessings to you and family.


    Dear Joel
    Thank you so much. I needed to hear this affirmation again this morning. My soul weeps for those in my family who have wandered away and for those who need our love in this world.
    God bless you always.


    Hi Joel
    Your devotional couldn’t come at the most proper time. I have been searching for my husband’s keys; this is the second set that he lost.
    Because of his short term memory loss, due to dementia, he can’t remember when it was that he had them. We were in the city a couple of days ago and he might have lost them down there somewhere. Oh well, there are things that are always worse.


    Hi Joel
    God has answered my prayers for my step son. He has suffered with depression and some difficulties. A couple from church really took a liking to him and now rent him a room. It is going great according to all of them. He is going to church, men’s group, Bible study and joins in with grace at the table. Praise God for answered prayer. Now to bring my hubby back. I know one thing at a time.
    God bless.


    Amen to this Joel. It is so sad when people slip away from their faith and fellowship.
    I too carry a little pen knife in my pocket as many years ago l got so fed up with being down at the barn and having to run back up to the house for scissors or a knife! When l misplace mine l too search and search for it even though l do have another one l could use and l am so relieved when l find it. The Lord must get lots of chuckles from his creation and our funny ways.
    Blessings.


    Thank you for Today’s Devotional. I am always pleased when I see a new parishioner at church and do make time to say “Hello” and introduce myself.
    I confess that I do miss those who have fallen away and do not see the value of attending any longer. As you suggest, I shall pray for them and will invite others to join us on Sundays who I know are Christian and do not have a church.
    Thank you for your messages.
    Blessings.


    Oh Joel, there’s other reasons folk wander from a particular church. They’re made to feel unwelcome, ie, shunned, or even told bluntly not to come back! They may not have lost their faith so they search until they find a welcoming church. It may even be in another, more welcoming denomination. No wonder their former denomination is shrinking…and its members wonder why! When a particular church becomes an exclusive club, it’s chosen to die as its members die! That’s so very sad. Jesus said that whoever receives a little one receives Him! Aren’t we all the “children” of God? Jesus said the converse is also true! Whoever denies anyone who seeks Jesus, denies Jesus Christ Himself! End of rant. Blessings.


    Dear Joel,
    Thank you very much for your devotional.

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