4 Posts from March 2013

Moving Beyond Theory and Wishful Thinking

John 14:21

Let me guess. You are tired of the superficial.

You want to be a force for good in a world of evil—a person of authenticity in a world of hypocrisy. You are weary of witnessing what you see happening around you. You want to be part of the answer, not part of the problem.

There is no question that Jesus expected each of us to shine the light of God’s love among this dark, lost world. We are to spread it abroad and to share the truth that we have been granted. In our homes, schools, workplaces, recreations, and in every other area of our lives, there are ways we can serve others.

That means moving beyond theory and wishful thinking. That means reaching out, taking risks, and doing what Scripture commands.

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Encouragement to Those Who Serve God

Hebrews 6:10

Because Jesus Christ, the Son of God, took upon Himself the role of a servant while He was on earth, so must we.

The one who could have been or done anything, consciously and voluntarily chose to be one who served, one who gave.

So then, if we are to become increasingly more like Christ (that is still our goal, isn’t it?) then we, too, are to give and to serve. Not just stand and preach.

To those who serve, to those who stand and preach—as Jesus Christ once stood and preached many, many years ago—He promises a reward. And we can be sure He will keep His promise.

Four truths will help put all of this in proper perspective.

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Can One Person Make a Difference?

Ecclesiastes 9:13–16

In our overpopulated, impersonal world, it is easy to underestimate the significance of one. With so many people, most of whom seem so much more capable, more gifted, more prosperous, more important than we, who are we to think our part amounts to much? I’m just one person, who cannot make much difference.

That’s the way most folks think. They really do!

Aren’t you glad Patrick Henry didn’t? And Henry Ford? And Martin Luther King, Jr.? And Walt Disney? And Martin Luther? And Winston Churchill? And Jackie Robinson? And Irving Berlin? And Abraham Lincoln? And Charles Wesley? And Dwight L. Moody? And Corrie ten Boom?

“But it’s a different world today,” you say. Back then, there was room for an individual to emerge and stand out in a crowd, but now, there’s no way!”

Wrong. God has always underscored individual involvement . . . still does.

  • How many did it take to help the victim who got mugged on the Jericho Road? One Good Samaritan.
  • How many were chosen by God to confront Pharaoh and lead the Exodus? One.
  • How many sheep got lost and became the object of concern to the shepherd? One.
  • How many were needed to confront adulterous David and bring him to his knees in full repentance? One.
  • How many prophets were called to stand before wicked King Ahab and predict a drought? One.
  • How many did the Lord use to get the attention of the land of Israel and prepare the way for Messiah? One.

Never underestimate the power of one! And that one just may be you.

—Chuck

A Parable for Our Time

Matthew 25:14–30

Jesus told a story of three men who were asked to steward their master’s treasure while he was away. When he finally arrived back, the master asked the stewards how they had managed his finances.

The first servant told his master that he’d doubled his treasure and now he had ten talents to give back. The second man had doubled his portion as well and now he had four to offer. The landowner was delighted with both of them.

He then turned to the third servant, who had been given a single talent. This servant had been afraid to take a chance, so he had buried his talent in the ground, then returned it to his master. Poor guy. You can almost feel his shock at what comes next. His master exploded in anger: “You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed?” (Matthew 25:26 NIV). Then he added, in effect, “And yet you buried my gold so that now you’re giving me back only what is mine?! Those who risk nothing, do nothing, invest nothing, and fail to obey my command, I will take away even what they have.”

If you think Jesus was trying to get our attention with that story, you’re right. Read on. In the very next sentence, He tells of the day of judgment when the Son of Man, surrounded by all His holy angels, will separate the sheep from the goats. To those who have obeyed the Master, however great or however small their initial gifts, the very gates of heaven will fling wide open. It is not the size of the talent that matters at this point but the faithfulness of the servant. Those who have obeyed will be welcomed with open arms and abundantly rewarded. Those who have disobeyed, however, and those who simply sat on their treasure will be shown to the nearest exit. This is not a salvation by works but a revelation of responsibility. This declares how the saved are to steward God’s resources.

I can offer no more sobering challenge than Christ’s own words, not mine. Our Lord Jesus says, “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love” (John 15:10).

Oh, that we pastors might take that admonition to heart and obey His Word so that we might rejoice in our Father’s love!

—Chuck