The Church, Patient and Faithful


Luke 2:36-38

There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.


The woman, Anna, was patient and faithful, awaiting the arrival of the Messiah. All the years of waiting she remained in the temple, worshipping, fasting and praying. It was a long wait, but it was certainly worth it all. From the moment that she laid eyes on Jesus, she knew who he was and she immediately praised God. She then went on to share the good news of Jesus with all who were seeking redemption. 


Some of the older church fathers have suggested that Anna represents the church, awaiting the second coming of Christ. If this is true, then she provides for us an outstanding example of what it means to be faithful throughout the course of time. 

While we love instant results, they will not always be forth-coming. Serving Christ and his bride is a long-term commitment. For far too many of us we have somehow come to the conclusion that finding a church is like going shopping, we become consumers, looking for the right place to meet our personal needs. We want instant results and instant gratification. 

If Anna’s personal needs were to have been met she never would have sacrificed her life in faithfully remaining in the temple - or would she? Maybe Anna understood her personal needs more than we do ours. Just possibly, she recognized that her need was to be as close to where the Messiah would be as possible, and she was willing to put aside everything else for that purpose. She didn’t do what felt good, she committed herself to what she knew was right, living self-sacrificially in service to God. 

The call to the church, is to be patient and faithful for the long-term. Commitment to Christ through the life of the church is vitally important. We may need to wait many years before we see the results of our faithfulness. In the meantime we are to gather and worship, committing ourselves to prayer and fasting. In doing so our eyes will be opened and our hearts prepared to recognize when God is at work. Then, join with God and share the good news of redemption with all who are hungry for salvation. 


Lord, may the faithfulness of Anna be an encouragement to faithfully follow you, when it’s easy, and when it is not. Amen. 


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