Gospel Gazette Online
Vol. 16 No. 7 July 2014
Page 14

Acts of Service

Torrey Clark

Torrey Clark“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. …your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you…” (Matthew 6:1, 4 NKJV).

Most of the acts of service done in the name of Christ go unrecognized by people. They are done behind-the-scenes by people who are not in the “limelight.” Not every time we do something to expand the borders of the Lord’s kingdom in our world will we be recognized for doing such. Jesus said if our motivation is to garner the praise and attention of men, we are sinning. However, this does not mean that it is wrong to receive praise for right-doing or give praise to others for right-doing. We all need encouragement, affirmation and validation (Romans 12:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; Hebrews 10:24-25). If we do not get it, sometimes we can get down on ourselves and start to believe what we are doing is not important. As Christians, we are in the business of building each other up, and we should not neglect opportunities to give praise where it is due.

To you who visit the lonely and the sick when no one sees, who prepare meals for those who cannot, who pray unceasingly for your brethren, who send cards, who spend hours of your time planning and organizing church functions, who wash countless dishes and clean mountains of clothes so your family can function to serve Christ, who spend hours meeting with the wayward and sin-sick when it doesn’t seem to do any good, who work hard on the job to provide for the physical needs of others, who leave tracts and speak to others about Jesus, who go above and beyond the call of duty to make sure your Bible class is the best it can be, and to all of you who do right when no one sees, “Thank you!” We thank God for you. Remember that God sees all and rewards all (Matthew 6:6, 18; Hebrews 4:13; 1 Corinthians 15:58). Let us all strive to serve Christ faithfully this week and encourage one another to do the same!

A Thoughtful Gift

David A. Sargent

David A. SargentLast year, Brenna Martin graduated from high school. One of the things that she will remember most is the graduation gift that she received from her parents. She posted her thoughts about her gift not long after she received it. Here are her words.

I graduated High School this week. When my Dad said he had a present for me, I thought I was getting some cheesy graduation card. But what I received was something truly priceless…

Following the ceremony he handed me a bag with a copy of Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss inside. At first I just smiled and said that it meant a lot and that I loved that book. But then he told me, “No, open it up.” On the first page I see a short paragraph written by none other than my kindergarten teacher. I started tearing up but I’m still confused. He tells me, “Every year, for the past 13 years, since the day you started kindergarten, I’ve gotten every teacher, coach, and principal to write a little something about you in this book.” He managed to keep this book a secret for 13 years, and apparently everyone else in my life knew about it! Yes the intended effect occurred… I burst out into tears.

Sitting there reading through this book there are encouraging and sweet words from every teacher I love and remember through my years in this small town. My early teachers mention my “pigtails and giggles,” while my high school teachers mention my “wit and sharp thinking.” But they all mention my humor and love for life. It is astounding to receive something this moving, touching, nostalgic, and thoughtful. I can’t express how much I love my Dad for this labor of love.

The book Oh, The Places You’ll Go! has a cash value of less than $20, but to Brenna, it is “truly priceless.” She will cherish the comments from her teachers and coaches, but what makes the book so valuable to her is that her Dad worked on “this labor of love” for 13 years.

If the value of a gift can be determined by the time and thoughtfulness behind it, consider the worth of God’s greatest Gift for you and me. The apostle Peter wrote to Christians regarding the price that was paid for their redemption. “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake” (1 Peter 1:18-20).

Our sins condemn us (Romans 3:23; 6:23), but God loves us so much that He provided a Gift – His Son Jesus – to pay the price for our redemption (Ephesians 1:7). That Gift, which provides salvation and eternal life to those who accept it, is precious – not only because it is the precious blood of the Son of God who died for us, but also because of how long ago God determined to provide the Gift. “He was chosen before the creation of the world.”

In order to accept God’s offer of salvation and life through His Son, one must place his faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and be baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38) and follow Him faithfully (Revelation 2:10).

God planned to save us through the blood of Jesus His Son before He even created us! That Gift is “truly priceless.” “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15). Won’t YOU accept the GIFT on His terms?

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