Lesson 9 -- second quarter 2009
April 26, 2009
© Copyright 2009
So tell me again why we don't do miracles like these anymore?
Whose good works are more oustanding -- Peter's or Tabitha's?
Which would you rather do?
Which do you do?
No. Neither did Jesus do them through him every day.
Following Jesus isn't about being used to bring about miraculous events such as this every day. I venture to say that most Christians in the early church never had the thrill of being used by Jesus in this manner. Following Jesus is about faithfulness and obedience to Him. It is about love and service to Him and for Him. It is about living "in the name of Jesus." When we follow Him like that, He can use us to accomplish His purposes in the lives of those He sends our way. Now that is amazing! (And that He would do every day, by the way!)
"Give of your best to the Master, give of the strength of your youth." In the Old Testament, God refused any imperfect sacrifice. His standard has not been reduced. God wants our best. So many have the mentality that God should (and will) be satisfied with whatever He can get from us. No He won't! He wants our best or nothing at all.
Fitness in our country is a big deal among Christians and heathen alike. Some work hard to be strong in their heads; others, to be strong in the rest of their bodies. Some go to college, take night classes or study by correspondence. Others jog, do aerobics or lift weights. To what purpose? For the pagan, it is the corruptible crown. For the Christian, the compelling motivation for improvement and excellence ought to be self-sacrifice for the King and the Kingdom.
Oh, you say that you aren't at your best yet...that you need to improve more before you can give it back to the Master? God wants your CURRENT best! You can always give your best. Always. And while you are giving your current best, continue to work toward perfection. Thus your best two years ago is not in the same category as your best today, and your best today should be inferior to your best five years from now.
How much of your best does the Master get? How much did He get this past week? I challenge you to make some more lists. This time list the things you did in the last week. One list should include whatever you did for yourself (or for others with selfish motives). The other list should itemize what you did for God. Did God get a "good deal"?
I know a young lady from another denomination who decided to become a Mennonite. For some three months she wore a covering and attended our congregation. Then she quit. Among the reasons she gave came one like this: "I felt like I needed to have better opportunities to minister to others. Your youth group is too ingrown and fun-conscious." Rightly or wrongly, this reason surprised me. Maybe she is right. What about you? Are you giving of your best to hiking, volleyball, softball, basketball, sewing, camping trips, cars, dating or such things?
The Lord wants your best; don't worry about whether you can match someone else's best. God wants to light your candle while it is yet quite complete, so that He might get maximum returns from you. He wants you to give your best heartily and with your might because when you reach the grave your opportunities will be exhausted. I assume you entertain the great expectation of going to be with the Lord when you die. That means you are the Lord's! That also means that while you are yet living here He expects to have you live for HIM (Romans 14:8)!
Acts 9:36, Romans 16:4, and Philippians 2:30 speak of believers who gave their best to the Master. One was "full of good works," a couple of others "laid down their own necks," and another "for the work of Christ...was nigh unto death."
God gave His best for you. It is not unreasonable for Him to expect your best. My friend, let us determine to devotedly live this little piece of life called "Time" for the Lord. Cast aside your this-worldly ambitions. Throw away your self. Invest your best for God. You were not put here to have fun, to live it up, and to have comfort and convenience. You are here so that you might have the unparalleled opportunity and privilege of giving and using your best for God's purposes.
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