“We are accountable to God for what He has given us and how we use it for His Kingdom.” Pastor James MacDonald laid it out for the ones listening to his message this past weekend. God gives us our gifts and talents to help the Body of Christ. For those who have mercy, there are people in the Body who need mercy. For those who have the gift of encouragement, the Body needs that encouragement. For those who have the talent of singing, join the choir or the worship team. For those who have the gift of administration, the Body needs someone to organize and manage.
We all have opportunities that we can fulfill because God has equipped us to do it. If the Body is lacking something fundamental, then someone has not stepped up and stepped into the role. As we take care of each other, unbelievers will notice. God expects us to use what He has given us. This is my take away from the message on Luke 19:11-27. Jesus also said that we are to shine our lights and not hide them under a bushel. I know there is more that I could do in the Church Body. How about you? Have you stepped up?
Time is not an excuse for not serving in the Body of Christ. If you don’t have time, then the priorities are wrong. It’s important to know what God expects of us. We have been given freedom with boundaries, which are for our protection. We are free to use everything we have been given by God; but like our money, we are to give to the Body of Christ first. Maybe I’m stretching the point too far, but it’s really important to know that God wants the best for us and the best starts with giving back to Him first – money, talents and gifts. It all comes from Him for our use; but how we honor Him with it is essential. The more we have, the more He expects from us.
One more thought about money. I get that we don’t have to live by the “tenth” rule since it was Old Testament rules. God said to bring the whole tithe (means a tenth) into the House of God – it pleases Him for us to do so. But if we no longer have to live by the Law of Moses, how much more should we give because we are living under God’s grace? A tenth of all we have is nothing in comparison to what He has given us through His Son, Jesus Christ! A tenth is the least we should give. Grace is more generous than the Law.
In Mark Batterson’s Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge, Mark wrote about God being our Senior Partner (Day 36). He wrote about a man in his late 90’s who decided on day one of his business that he would give God 51% of the business. He wanted to honor God from the get-go. At some point the man felt convicted about keeping 49% for himself. The parable of the merchant who found the pearl of great price and sold everything he had to obtain it changed this man’s perspective. At that point, he became a salaried employee and put everything else in God’s Hands. This man truly believed God and God blessed his company.
That’s pretty shocking, isn’t it? But this man believed that the treasure in heaven is more essential than any treasure that could be had here on earth. It was deeply convicting to me. I remember the story of the woman at the temple treasure who put in two mites, which was all she had to live on. She believed God. Can you imagine doing that today? I can’t, but what does that say about me? Mark’s last point for that day was “What we keep we ultimately lose; what we give away we ultimately get back.” He wrote that “if we don’t hold out on God, God won’t hold out on us.”
We will all be accountable for everything God had given us. I could also mention our bodies. It is the first of the year when most people have a resolution to get healthy or lose weight. I believe also we will be accountable about how we took care of God’s temple – our bodies. I know, you know it. But sometimes we need a little push to do what’s right. This might be your push to change a few things this year. If we want different results, then we have to do something different. What are you going to do different this year?
It’s never easy to do something different, but it would be the best thing for us. God hasn’t changed. He still provides for us even in this day and age. Let’s trust Him to do mighty things for us and through us as we put Him first this year. Are you up for it?
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21