And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” And the Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus. And when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael to be king over Syria. And Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint to be king over Israel, and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint to be prophet in your place. And the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael shall Jehu put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha put to death. Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.” I Kings 19:13b-18 ESV
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:15-17 ESV
George Bailey was a very good man, but he was having some terrible trouble. Eight thousand dollars had been stolen from his business, and if he couldn’t get the money back he would lose his business and go to jail. He tried to get some help, but the man who could have helped him was the one who had stolen the money, and he refused to help. George became desperate. He felt all alone with his troubles, and didn’t want to live anymore. He didn’t think his life was any good, and so he planned to jump off a bridge. But his guardian angel stopped him, and showed him all the good things he had done in his life. When George went home, he found out that he had many, many friends who had put their money together to get George out of his trouble. George learned that he wasn’t alone and that his life and his work had done good things for many people.
Elijah felt a lot like George Bailey. He was running away, afraid of Queen Jezebel, and he felt all alone. No one else served the true God except him, he thought. He had tried to speak God’s words to the people, but it seemed as if no one had listened. He didn’t think his life was worth living anymore. Elijah asked God to take his life away. But God gave Elijah two wonderful gifts to give him a reason to go on living. He gave him some work to do, and he told him he wasn’t alone. God had worked through Elijah, and he would continue to do so. There were 7000 people in Israel who had stayed faithful to the true God and didn’t worship Baal. God had saved a group of people who remained faithful to him.
God gives us the same gifts he gave Elijah. Sometimes we feel as if we are all alone, but we never really are. Not only do we always have God with us, caring for us and helping us, but God gives us brothers and sisters in our church family. There are people who care about us and can help us because they love the same God we do. God also gives us work to do. We might be a son or a daughter or a brother or a sister or a student or a friend. We might be many of these things at the same time, and each of these things has work to do–things like loving, helping, serving, studying, doing chores, and obeying. Our lives mean something because God made us and gave us work, and when we ran away from him he sent Jesus to die on the cross for us and bring us back to him and into the family of God’s people. Our lives have meaning through Jesus.
Dear Jesus, thank you for dying for me to bring me back to God and into God’s family. Help me to do the work you give me to do every day. Amen.
Capra, Frank, dir. It’s a Wonderful Life RKO Radio Pictures, 1946. Film.