Imagine 8-year-old Danny coming to bat three times in a Little League game. He strikes out twice and singles once. After the game, a famous major league player approaches him. “Danny,” he says, “I liked the way you hit that single and hustled to first. You’re going to make a good ball-player someday.”
Danny beams. He’s receptive and eager to improve. So he’s all ears when the pro adds, “But Danny, you tend to top the ball. You’ve got to change your stance and the way you hold the bat. Let me give you a few tips.” The advice is heeded because it combines commendation with correction.
Many people view God as a stern disciplinarian who issues warnings and threats without praise. But that’s not the picture we get in today’s Scripture reading. The Ephesian church had left its first love (Rev. 2:4) and needed to renew the warm glow it once had or it would cease to exist (v.5). Jesus gave the Ephesians a stern warning, but in calling them to repent He also recognized all that was good in the church (vv.2-3,6).
That’s how God motivates us. He affirms our faithfulness to Christ and reminds us of what we can become. But He also points out where we fall short. We can be thankful that God not only corrects us, but He also commends us.
For Further Study
Read Revelation 2 and 3. Seven times Jesus said,
“I know your works.” For what did He commend the
seven churches? For what did He correct them?
God’s commendation gives us encouragement; God’s correction gives us hope.