Lesson 12 -- first quarter 1997
February 16, 1997
© Copyright 1996, Christian Light Publications
"My helpers." Hmmmm. Is this theme beginning to frazzle for you, or is it frazzling you? I wonder if I keep banging against it because you need to face it or because I need to live it. Perhaps God keeps confronting us with it because the church is becoming too helper-less, and helpless.
Priscilla and Aquila still receive recognition for being faithful helpers of the Apostle Paul. Marvelous! You might figure you would settle for serving without recognition, just so you could be close to and contributing in the ministry of such a spiritual giant. I doubt you would settle for that. No, I don't know you, but I know me. And I consider myself a reasonably typical specimen of Homo Sapiens. Wherein I have judged you incorrectly, attribute it to zeal and don't take it personally. But please think about this: if recognition isn't important to you, why didn't you pick up that gum wrapper in the parking lot?
"He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much" (Luke 16:10). Yes, ma'am; yes, sir! Don't bother trotting out your excuses and explanations; just keep them trussed up in the corral. So you didn't drop it. And it was just a little thing. And you had your hands full. And you aren't the janitor, sexton or trustee. And so-and-so won't learn responsibility and accountability if you "always" clean up after him. And if you had known I was going to make such a big deal of it you would have gone ahead and picked it up. And besides, why didn't I pick it up if it matters so much. Right. And if you refuse to help in little things, you won't get to help in bigger things.
Helpers. Who needs helpers? Summer Bible School teachers need helpers-- cutting stuff out, pasting things up, keeping order, doing some of their tasks at home. Missionaries need helpers--why don't you appoint yourself the local news provider or sermon note taker or useful object lesson finder, then mail your gleanings to them every two weeks or so? Say! You could do something like that for those of your congregation who can no longer make it regularly to church services and events. More ideas?
"Who have for my life laid down their own necks." Yes, yes, yes! I, too, would be willing to risk my life for my friend. In fact, I like to think that I would even die for my friend. And I think you entertain similar certainties. Good for us. We even point to the Scriptures for the basis and validation of our commitment to our friends: "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). May the Lord continue to work in our hearts to develop and nurture this kind of love in the hearts of His people.
Let's face it, though. In common, ordinary living, our friends just don't need us to die for them on a regular basis. So how shall we then participate in the privilege enjoyed by Priscilla and Aquila? Besides, how can we ever hope to express such love to our friends more than one time when we can die for them only once in a lifetime?! Surely the Lord didn't put these things in His Word just as a good motto or a nice sentiment. I believe He means for us to find the practical applications in all our relationships.
The true test of our love for our friends comes when our will, our way, our idea, our plan, our perspective, our desire, our opinion clashes with theirs. If you would literally lay down your life, would you lay down any of these other things also?
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