Make a DifferenceOctober 28, 2006
What did you do in the name of Jesus Christ today? I’m asking myself this question every bit as much as proposing it to others. We should, at the end of each day, be able to point out something or a number of things that we did which advanced the kingdom of God; be it witness to a neighbor, volenteer at a homeless shelter, visit a prison, teach, or even spend time in fervent prayer for those around us. (I have been striving to spend time in prayer for those with whom I have contact with prior to being with them, that the Lord would use me in some capacity.) I ask this question because I often feel as though I’m doing next to nothing. I could blame work as I put in many hours on second shift, or I could blame it on the hecticity of day to day living. These would be excuses, of course as we are to be a light regardless of where we find ourselves. Joseph was ill treated by his brothers, and later thrown into prison when Potiphars wife accused him of attempting to “force her” which was the exact opposite of what had happened. ( Genesis chapters 37 through 41 tell of Josephs ordeal.) Joseph was faithful to God despite being ill treated. Joseph had a good report and eventually, at the proper moment, he was called upon to interpet Pharaohs dream; an event which spared life in the face of unprecidented famine.
The American church has, for the most part, become fat and lazy. Many have chosen a “show” over substance, and pursuit of money over compassion for lost souls. Many tithe only because they want it given back “pressed down shaken together, and running over.” God has indeed promised to give back to us more than we give to him, but that shouldn’t be our motivation. Our motivation should be the furtherance of the gospel. This is a concept that the world understands better than many christians. Often times at work, when one of our co-workers is experiencing hardship, someone will go around the plant to take up a collection for them. Almost everyone will contribute to help out that individual. They don’t do it in order to get something back; they do it simply to be a good neighbor. There has been preaching in recent times about tithing, in which the “getting back” part is emphasized. The phrase “seed faith” comes to mind. We are obsessed with the temporal things which are going to melt with a fervent heat and be no more, instead of laying up treasure in heaven.
In an E-mail today was an interview of Pastor Pretlow that was done by Pastor Dan Catlin in Wichita Kansas who also heads up a homeless shelter. Both of these guys are quite understanding of the times that we’re in. Pastor Catlin mentioned that they receive donations for the homeless shelter from all over the country and that such wouldn’t be necessary if the thousands of professing christians in the Wichita (population 354,617) were more interested in reaching out to the homeless than in material accumulation. Here’s the web sites for both Pastor Pretlow and Pastor Catlin.
www.messiahsbranch.org Pastor Dan Catlin
www.wotcmi.org Pastor Pretlow
We are not saved by our works; we do not minister or support ministries for salvation. Nobody deserves eternal life and as a result, all of the good deeds in the world cannot save a person. It is true, however, that when a person loves Jesus, they will become more like him as time goes on. Jesus had much to say concerning this topic of tithing and giving of ourselves.
Matthew 6:19-21 “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Luke 6:35-36 “But love ye your enemies, and do good, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
Luke 21:1-And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in hither two mites. And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast into the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.
Keep in mind, that in those days, being a widow was a rough situation to be in. There was no social security or public means of caring for such. She really was giving of her own livlihood. Her affections were truly on things above. Just a thought; can you imagine if Jesus were to preach to the average “name it and claim it” crowd? I imagine that they would treat him in the same fashion as did the religeous people in the days of his earthly ministry. Jesus came to seek and to save sinners. He came to set the captives free. As you read the gospels, you see that his focus was always on the eternal. He headed the sick, he cast out devils, he preached the kingdom of God. He warned about the love of riches often. Todays generation is told of in I Timothy chapter six as we associate gain with godliness. Souls are entering hell every minute of every day while christians in America are believing God for a new boat. There will be a lot to give account for on judgment day. Again, let me stress that I’m preaching to myself concerning this issue. I waste a lot of time that could be better utilized in the furtherance of the gospel. At work, I struggle with runaway “goof off syndrome” and it will lead to more ungodliness if you don’t reign it in. Just as you have battles, so do I. We really need to be about our Fathers business as there’s precious little time left for doing so.
Read Matthew 25:32-46. This is the parable of the sheep and the goats. This is the parable that tells how when we visit those in prison and tend to the need of those who need it we’re doing it unto Christ. Likewise, when we neglect those who are in prison, or who are in need of basic necessities, we’re neglecting Christ. This is also an indicator of where our heart is. Whatever is in your heart, it will manifest outwardly in what you say and also in what you do. If you have in your house 400 fishing rods, every kind of lure known to man, an eighteen foot boat out by the garage, and are wearing a hat that says “pro bass shop” one could assume that you are very fond of fishing. It’s obviously something that you sink a lot of time and money into. This is a law that cannot be altered. Whatever is on the inside will manifest outwardly. Two more verses before concluding this post.
James 2:14-20 “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?”
Revelation 2:8-11 “And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”
The church of Smyrna didn’t have an abundance of material wealth, but had laid up treasure in heaven. They were a faithful fellowship. We need to stop heaping to ourselves treasures for the last days and be about the furtherance of the gospel; both in word and in deed. This materialistic “gain is godliness” mentality is one of the most destructive teachings of the day and the airwaves are plastered with it. Sound doctrine is hard to come by these days as most have resorted to appealing to the baser elements of the flesh. Well I need to wrap this up. Please seek the Lord Jesus and his will for your life. His will might be something that’s contrary to conventional wisdom. Just trust him and be obediant. I need to be doing this also. I pray that we would all strive to be a city, set upon a hill that cannot be hid.