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Pastor Jim Jackson, Richmond Hill Presbyterian Church

“But” It’s a short word, but I consider it to be one of the most important ones in the Bible.

Interestingly, that word can be several things in speech or writing.

Possibilities: adverb, preposition, conjunction, or maybe an interjection.

Today I’m thinking of but as a conjunction as found in numerous Bible passages. But it’s often used in a sentence, signaling a change. An example: He was drowning, but a friend jumped in and saved him. You see, if it had not been for that little, three-letter word, the fella would have been left under water and we, left wondering what happened.

In some instances, but signals a change for what is better.

A good example is seen in the first verse of that beloved hymn “Amazing Grace.” It reads: “I once was lost but now I am found, was blind but now I see.” The wonderful difference seen here is one of a great consequence in both this life and the one to come.

The story of the Prodigal Son illustrates what I’m trying to say. My best count is that little word is used maybe seven times in that timeless story of recovery.

“But when he came to his senses…” But allowed the young man an opportunity to confront himself and make a better choice for his life.

2. “My father’s hired hands have more than enough, but I’m dying of hunger.” But allowed the fella to imagine a better life for himself.

3. He got up and came to his father, “but while he was still a long way off “ his father had compassion on him…” But allowed the prodigal’s father to demonstrate his love, even before a word was spoken.

4. Speaking about how well he had behaved on the farm, the elder brother used our three-letter word to vent his painful complaint: “But he became angry…” You may want to check other uses of the word “but“ in Luke 15, BUT I’m running out of space, hoping that I made my case. Now that allows me to duck out before wearing you out. But I am especially happy for Ephesians 2:4,5: “But God, being rich in mercy,… loved us even when we were dead in transgressions, made us alive together with Christ…” No ifs,ands or buts about it.

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