Birds fly. Flowers bloom. Honey sweetens. Water dampens. Light illuminates. It’s automatic and appropriate that they do these things because that’s how they were made. This is their nature and design, and it is right to expect them to act in a certain way just as it is right to expect saving faith in Jesus to work itself out in love. It is normal. It is natural. When God’s grace remakes us into people of faith, the new love we have for God will burst forth in acts of love for others. We can’t help but love. We can’t stop loving. We will live this out imperfectly, but this is for sure: A faith that saves is a faith that loves.
God has not blessed us with time just so we can use it binge-watching Netflix. He has not blessed us with money just so we can spend it on more comforts. He has not blessed us with abilities and skills just so we can serve our own interests and passions. The generosity of God has been extended to us with blessings of time, talent and treasure that we might both enjoy them ourselves and extend them to bless others. Those of us who are trusting in Jesus have been entrusted with showing the world His heart for them by being His hands and feet and mouth to them. You have been blessed; now go be a blessing.
You are not someone else; someone else is not you. God has ordained that each of His children be equipped with gifts, abilities, opportunities and resources to fulfil a specific purpose in a specific place to a specific people. Some are more visible and more vast than others, but all are important. To avoid falling into the trap of comparison as we seek to live out the plans Jesus has for us in His kingdom, it is important for us to remember that the measurement of godly stewardship is not fruitfulness, but faithfulness. It is not the size of your platform that is most important; it is what you do with what you have been given.
God wants you to be great. But… It’s not about size. It’s not about strength. It’s not about superiority. It’s not about success. At least, not in the ways that the world calculates those things. In the world we live in, the more people who serve you, the greater you are. In the kingdom of God, the greater you are, the more people you serve. God intends for your greatness to be in ways that are radically different than the world’s standards, for He measures greatness in the cross of Jesus Christ and in every act of His children that expresses that same kind of servant love towards those in need of it. By grace, be great today.
God certainly works in supernatural ways at times, but He also works at making supernatural changes inside of His people so we who have been touched by His grace and generosity will pay it forward to others. You can’t do everything, but you can do something to make a difference … one need at a time, one moment at a time, one person at a time. Therefore, show the world His heart for them by being His hands and feet to them. The church of God, His people, you and me, are His Plan A for blanketing the world with good works and spreading the good news of Jesus everywhere we go. There is no Plan B.
Even as Christians, one of the human weaknesses that we must continue to seek divine strength to overcome is our bent to be selfish. We need the mind and heart of Christ: a mind that regularly thinks of others rather than just ourselves, and a heart that is compassionate enough to serve and support others even at our own expense. It should be the golden rule, not the exception, to give up what we want so others can get what they need. That is when we are like Jesus. Today, go out of your way to do for others, joyfully remembering this: Jesus went out of His way from heaven to earth to the cross to do for you.
God helps us help one another by giving spiritual gifts of His grace to every person in His family. We don’t earn these spiritual abilities; they are gifts. They aren’t all the same; they come in various forms. We don’t let them gather dust; we use them. They aren’t to be used selfishly; they are to be used to bless others. We don’t use them to bless others so we are praised; we do so that Jesus may receive the glory. So, let us do our part today with the resources we have been entrusted to steward for the good of those around us. One way God shows grace to us is through others; one way God shows grace to others is through us.
There are three questions we should regularly ask in an honest-as-we-can-be evaluation of our spiritual journey with Jesus. First, how am I relating to God through my daily prayer and Bible time? Second, how regular and authentic is my corporate worship with others? Third, how am I stewarding my time and resources for the kingdom of God? These are essential parts of us knowing Jesus and making Him known so that God is honored in us and we are happy in Him. When we have been less-than-faithful in these areas, let us ask God for grace to begin again, rejoicing that He will never stop being fully faithful to us.
There are many things that God requires us to do as followers of Jesus. But it’s important we understand that it is grace-driven effort and not human effort that enables and encourages all of our obedience, service and every form of performance as Christians. We do everything secure in grace, by faith in grace, through reliance on grace and in gratitude for grace. His work saves us before we do our work. His work guides us to do our work. His work gives us power to do our work. His work makes us happy to do our work. Let us remember… Whatever the will of God calls us to do, the grace of God will cause us to do.
There is nothing that I have which was not given to me. Everything about who I am and what I do that is good is a gift from God at work in me, for me and through me. Every ability I possess. Every resource I use. Every opportunity I take. Every person I serve. Every task I complete. I am what I am by the grace of God. I do what I do by the grace of God. It is the provision and power and presence of Jesus with me that makes everything possible. Here is the one thing I know to be true, the one thing I count on every single day, the one thing I will say about any good that comes from my life: Not I, but Christ in me.
There is a heavenly scene that should run through our minds often as we run the race of life. When we grow weary from serving, we should think of it. When the good we do doesn’t seem to be doing much good, we should think of it. When the risk or sacrifice of living out our faith is high, we should think of it. Here’s the scene: We cross the finish line. We see the smiling face of Jesus. We fall down before Him. And we hear Him say “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your master.” Know this… Every long day. Every hard day. Every costly day. In that moment, it will all be worth it.