Someone wrote this sad statement yesterday, “We have no Christian friends here to call on.” The situation was one of death in the family. Having friends in Christ is a blessing in so many ways. Being part of a congregation of God’s people enriches our lives here on earth and enlivens our hope for heaven. God put us in community for our present and everlasting good. In the body of Christ we serve the saints and, in our need, are supported by them when our burdens are heavy.
From CMA’s site, A.B. Simpson today:
The man who missed his opportunity and met the doom of the faithless servant was not the man with five talents, or the man with two, but the man who had only one. The people who are in danger of missing life’s great meaning are the people of ordinary capacity and opportunity who say to themselves, There is so little I can do that I will not try to do anything.
One of the finest windows in Europe was made from the remnants an apprentice boy collected from the cuttings of his master’s great work. The sweepings of the British mint are worth millions. The little pivots on which the works of a watch turn are so important that they actually are made of jewels.
God places a solemn value on a single talent. He puts a large responsibility on the humble workers and persons who would try to hide behind the insignificance of trifling opportunities. Our littleness will not excuse us in the reckoning day.
Talk not of talents; what hast thou to do?
Thou hast sufficient, whether five or two.
Talk not of talents; is thy duty done?
This brings the blessing whether ten or one.
Faithful in that which is least -Luke 16:10
Napoleon Hill wrote, “You cannot succeed in life by scattering your forces and trying to do a dozen things at the same time.” I agree with this, because it seems to be true.
Then again, there’s Ecclesiastes: “Divide your merchandise among seven or even eight investments, for you do not know what calamity may happen on earth. … Sow your seed in the morning, and do not stop working until the evening; for you do not know which activity will succeed—whether this one or that one, or whether both will prosper equally” Eccl 11.2, 6.
So which is it? Do we have two different principles at work here?
“When we trust that God chooses the part we play, then we need not worry about our obscurity and anonymity, only our obedience to play our part.” —Christine Caine
Amen. He sees us. That is enough. Do your work.
Obviously, no congregation will be made perfect, except by the blood of Jesus. Still, we have to face each other’s faults and our corporate faults each time we come together.
In her free book, Worship the First-Century Way, Katheryn Haddad seeks to revive congregations by dying to self.
Some churches are in denial about their faults and need. Humility is required to confess our faults and ask God for help in our need. The church of Jesus Christ receives the weak, forgives one another repeatedly, and loves all the saints, regardless of the progress of their journey. This is not a denial of following God’s pattern, but an embracing of it.
What a dignity and glory it would give our lives, could we uniformly realize this high calling! What a difference it would make in our actions toward our fellow men! God can always be depended upon. He is without variation. God’s Word is unchangeable, and we can trust Him without reserve or question. May we so live that men can trust us, even as they trust God!
From A.B. Simpson’s devotional. Not so sure he nailed the Exodus text, but his point is well taken.
“Remember, confrontation is about reconciliation and awareness, not judgment or anger.” —Dale Patridge
Napolean Hill wrote, “It’s easy to find fault with any job. Whatever your occupation or profession, there are always some unpleasant and mundane tasks you would rather omit. It is also easy to allow the things you dislike to dominate your thoughts and for you to overlook the fact that the things you dislike about your work are really a very small percentage of the overall job. Make it a point to find something good in your job every day. It need not be a big, important event; simply finding joy in doing one thing particularly well will suffice. Then, instead of looking forward to the end of the day, you will find yourself actually looking forward to going to work.”
The saint has it even easier. He sees his job as another place and point in time for serving the Lord. The more difficult the work climate, the more his light is needed. The joy he knows in the Lord is needed by everyone around him. He seeks opportunities to share the presence of God. His is no superficial, candied faith that sickens those around him, but a profound settledness in the Lord that draws people to him. If a slave of the first century could joyfully serve the Lord in the hardest conditions, certainly we today can see our jobs as something much more, as a channel of grace to a needy world.
“Life in community is no less than a necessity for us — it is an inescapable ‘must’ that determines everything we do and think. Yet it is not our good intentions or efforts that have been decisive in our choosing this way of life. Rather, we have been overwhelmed by a certainty — a certainty that has its origin and power in the Source of everything that exists. We acknowledge God as this Source. We must live in community because all life created by God exists in a communal order and works toward community.”