Greetings again my Brethren. Last month we ended up talking about how a pat on the back from God ought to be enough for us, but sadly that is not the case (in include myself in this group at times) in most Christians lives. God will never forsake His people who are those people who have not forsaken God. Did you know God will go far beyond our understanding to provide for our need? All throughout the Bible God has called upon unlikely sources (we must come to really believe this) to provide provision for His children. In 1 Kings we read such provision. (1 “And the word of the LORD came unto him (him being Elijah), saying, 9Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee. 10So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.” Kings 17:9-10) Who would of thought God would use a widow woman on her death bed. How strange of God. Well, one thing I am continuing to learn God is in the strange things. In these times it is best to keep our mouth shut and do(no matter who is doing the telling) what we are told. God used a widow woman to save the life of Elijah, the widow woman, and her son. Many lived because of obedience and it was strange obedience at that. Make no mistake God will use unlikely source to sustain our life if we have eyes to see and ears to hear. Now God does not always pull His magic wand out and do a miracle for us, oh no sometimes God expects us to minister to the poor and the rich (sinners and saints alike) of our substance. God gives us things not to heap them unto ourselves, but so we may be able to give things away. Giving is at the heart of the Gospel, for God so loved the world He gave. If God cannot make you a giver then He cannot use you. The ungodly shame of “giving to get” I believe is a sin before God. We give so that other may be able to receive. There is a parallel we find when Jesus did something for someone they then in turn give of themselves. In Luke we find this in action.And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him, 2And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, 3And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.” (Luke 8:1-3) Now it says, “many others, which ministered unto him of their substance. This is God model. Jesus ministered to them and in turn they ministered back to Jesus and others. They did not minister unto Jesus of Jesus’ substance, but of their own substance. Again God gives to us so we can give back to Him and others. Lastly
remuneration (a good ole pat on the back, maybe taking a salary from the church, other monetary benefits, and etc.) should never be a condition for ministry. It is not what we do for God that counts, but how we do it. God is not watching to see what we do, but He is watching to see how we do things for Him and others. I shared this thought with a pastor’s wife in Kenya and she jumped up out of the chair with a big smile on her face and said now I understand how I can compete with “the big ministers” of God. She thought she was in competition (like in a performance based religion) with others for God’s favour, but in reality we can do nothing to win God’s favour. Let me tell my friend those who have their names up in lights and on TV are not God’s superstars. In 1 Corinthians Paul addressed this thinking, “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! 17For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me. 18What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.” (1 Corinthians 9:16-18) Did you get that? “What is my reward then?” Paul then answers his own question, “I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.” In other words, I will give Christ no bill for my services so that I will not abuse the power of the Gospel. Now Paul could have given Christ quite a bill, “Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. 24Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. 25Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.” (2 Corinthians 11:23-27) Jesus asked the disciples, “When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing.” (Luke 22:35) I think this is the question Jesus is asking us, “lack ye any thing? The disciples said “Nothing,” but what are we saying.
Next month we will start a new section looking at “Principle of Service” by looking at harmony with our fellow workers and singleness of purpose. Can you hear Him now?