Uncomfortable

Today is May 30, 2018 and it is appearing that the world has gone completely crazy!   ISIS is running rampant; Donald Trump is in the Presidency, who knows what is up with North Korea and most Christians in the USA have become comfortable and “lukewarm.”   I can’t imagine what the world will look like in a few years!   But regardless of the time, the message Jesus gave us regarding doing what the Bible says has not changed and never will. In short, we are to be faithful in serving Christ in the world and into the next.  

 

Ephesians 4:1-3

“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

 

We are to follow to the best of our abilities the call to ministry that Christ has placed on our lives.   This call might include several aspects, some of which are a bit out of the box.   If you remember God calls people like Moses who never felt comfortable or capable of doing the ministry that he was called to.   Why is that?   It’s because he wasn’t equipped to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt, but God was!

“Doing What It Says” will most likely entail some difficult, unpalatable choices that you had never thought of before.   Peter never anticipated stepping out of the boat much less being martyred upside down on a cross for his testimony about Christ.   Mother Teresa never thought she would end up in Calcutta watching people die on the street, and John Wesley never thought he would be riding around on a horse preaching to anyone that would listen in a field.   Nevertheless, God does things much differently than we ever would.   We simply have to be ready to accept His call and to the best of our abilities, prepare ourselves for Him to work through us and be open to whatever He wants us to do!   Guess what, I never thought I’d be writing a blog!   But God uses people that are willing, that’s the key.   We have to be willing to be used and ready to relinquish our calendar and agenda for His purposes.

NOTE TO SELF: Wonder what’s next?

An Attitude of Giving

Sometimes we feel as if the responsibility of giving rest solely on the shoulders of others.   “How can I give to others when there is so much that I need, or at least think I need?”   Giving is an attitude of the heart.   Giving is a place where we experience the opposite of what is normally expected.   When we “give” we assume that it means it will cost us, we will walk away with less.   Usually that is true.   But it is in the attitude and act of giving that we receive many rich blessings.

What a joy it is to watch a good friend of mine as he “joyfully gives” away the blessings God has gifted him with.   It is a joy to hear he and his wife talk about how money is meaningless to them, and without the opportunity to bless others as they have themselves been blessed, it would all be for nothing.

In one of my small member churches, the attitude of giving was one of generosity as long as “our needs” are served first.   I again want to emphasize, there was no outreach, no evangelism and certainly no sacrifice for the welfare of others going on… it was all about them.   That being said they still were a congregation of loving wonderful people but they had become so entrenched in their own traditions and expectations of what church was that they missed the opportunity to serve Christ.   They felt as if their church was a “victim” of decline, but they as a congregation had nothing to do with it!

 

Mark 12

41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.

43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

 

She gave to God out of her very need. The others that day were giving out of their very greed, selfishness, desires and agendas.   What about God? How does that honor God who has given up everything for us?   Jesus went on to explain to the disciples that day that it was not the amount that was given that was so important, but the attitude of the persons heart.   Her offering that day to God demonstrated her obedience, faithfulness, trust and love for the God that meant everything to her.  

That brings up an interesting question: “Does God mean everything to you?”

In that small member church, the offering became confused with self-preservation.   They were willing to give to themselves and tell themselves that they were honoring God but they were not willing to invest in what God was doing outside of what they felt “forced” to do through the apportionments paid to the denomination.   They enjoyed church their way, but not necessarily God’s way.  

What did the Book of Revelation say: “I wish you were either hot or cold?”