I cannot tell you the number of Christians I know who are collecting dust waiting on manna to rain down from heaven. These same people moan and complain about how their loved ones have not come to Christ and how their lives are so messed up. It would be pitiful if it were not so enraging. I donâ€™t know what Bible theyâ€™re reading fromâ€”not even from the NTFV (New Touchy-Feely Version)â€”because Christianity is a belief that requires action.
And this is never more true than when it comes to the stewardship of the gospel. You want to know the secret of why most Christians are poor stewards of the gospel? To put the gospel into effect takes sacrifice and too many American Christians are looking for microwave ministries that allows them to wedge Godâ€™s work into their busy workaday lives. I can only imagine what the Apostle Paul would think:
â€œI now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.â€ (Colossians 1:24-29)
Ah, well, thatâ€™s the Apostle Paul Bro Dave; he was an anointed man of God. You donâ€™t think he ever got tired of preaching the gospel, sharing the good news to mostly ears that wouldnâ€™t hear and when they would it would all too often lead to his beatings? We have record of Paul needing to hear a good word from Jesus while striving for the gospel:
â€œWhen Silas and Timothy had come from Macedonia, Paul was compelled by the Spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ. But when they opposed him and blasphemed, he shook his garments and said to them, â€˜Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.â€™ And he departed from there and entered the house of a certain man named Justus, one who worshiped God, whose house was next door to the synagogue. Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized. Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, â€˜Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.â€™ And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.â€ (Acts 18:5-11)
I am so glad that I can turn to Jesus for a good and encouraging word to keep fighting for the faith. It is wonderful to know that I have His Holy Word to comfort and counsel me when it seems all around me is falling apart. And when I do that, I am compelled to take action, not to sit around and wait on God to rain manna down on me. Instead of waiting around for a blessing, I want to be a blessing. Let me share a story with you that illustrates the difference between waiting for blessing and being a blessing:
A man was walking through a forest when he saw a crippled fox. â€œI wonder how it manages to feed itself?â€ He thought.
At that moment, a tiger approached, carrying its prey in its mouth. The tiger ate its fill and left what remained for the fox.
â€œIf God helps the fox, he will help me too,â€ The man thought. He went back home, shut himself up in his house and waited for the Heavens to bring him food.
He lay there in bed waiting for God to provide for him as he had for the fox, but instead just starved.
Just when he was becoming almost too weak to go out and work, an angel appeared.
â€œWhy did you decide to imitate the crippled fox?â€ asked the angel. â€œGod has given you gifts and abilities to contribute to the world and make a living, while looking after the crippled foxes of the world. Get out of bed, pick up your tools and follow the way of the tiger!â€
I only have one question today. Which one are you, the fox or the tiger?
Indeed which one are you? I want to be the tiger! I want to not only minister the gospel to the needy, but I also want to protect it!
More on that tomorrow…
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Copyright Â© 2012 David Jeffers