|Vol. 13 No. 7 July 2011||
Paul E. Marty
All too often, we make the mistake of becoming intimidated right out of doing the Lord’s work. Why do we make such a mistake? What leads us to thinking we cannot do the Lord’s work?
Firstly, many have fallen into the habit of thinking that ‘the Lord’s work’ is difficult and requires many talents (kind of like the one talent man). Then, we end up hiding our talent and not using it, so we lose the talent. Truth be known, a person with only one talent can do the Lord’s work.
Secondly, we live in a culture that believes that only elders, deacons, preachers and Bible class teachers are the ones appointed to do the Lord’s work and the rest of us are to be spectators. God makes the point over and over again in Scripture that each one of us shall give an account of himself to God. Let’s realize that we are all God’s servants, and we each need to do our fair share or our part in the kingdom of God. That is why in 1 Corinthians 12, the church is likened to a body. That great chapter makes the point that the foot is no less a part of the body than the hand or the head. The seemingly less important body parts have purposes, and also the seemingly less important church members have their places in the church of God.
Thirdly, there are those who believe that we cannot learn to do the Lord’s work, and that since we cannot learn it, we should avoid it. Jesus trained His apostles; they in turn trained others who could train others and so on (2 Timothy 2:2). We nowhere in Scripture read of an apostle or God making any demands upon any human being that were over and above the human being’s capabilities.
In conclusion, in the final Day of Judgment, if you remember the parable of the talents, it is neither about how much you did, nor is it about how much potential you had or how much you could have done, but did you do what you could and as much as you could to the best of your ability. Let us do what we can now so that we can have Heaven forever.
Most have heard of the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti, the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation awhile back. The magnitude 7 quake toppled buildings throughout the capital city, from shacks in shantytowns to damaging the President’s National Palace. It was feared that tens of thousands may be dead, and rescue workers were beginning the arduous process of going through the devastation looking for survivors. For the inhabitants left, many will likely face an increased risk of dengue fever, malaria and measles. There are shortages of clean water, and an estimated three million were expected to need some type of emergency aid.
In the face of such destruction and need, it’s interesting that one televangelist charged this disaster as perhaps having to do with a pact Haiti made with the devil in the past. Supposedly, they promised to serve the devil if he would free them from French influence. According to the televangelist, “They have been cursed by one thing after another,” since then.
I suppose it’s natural to question events such as this in light of the sovereignty of God. We know from Scripture that God has been involved in the course of nations in times past. To the people of Israel, He spoke through Amos and said, “‘But I gave you also cleanness of teeth in all your cities and lack of bread in all your places, yet you have not returned to me,’ declares the Lord. ‘Furthermore, I withheld the rain from you while there were still three months until harvest. Then I would send rain on one city and on another city I would not send rain; one part would be rained on, while the part not rained on would dry up’” (Amos 4:6-7).
There are important differences in what we find recorded in Scripture and events that happen currently in our world. First, God was dealing with His covenant people then to bring them back to obedience to His will. The Law of Moses is no longer in force, and the Haitian people are not bound by that covenant to God. Secondly, while God revealed then how He was involved in His creation, we no longer have His direct revelation to tell us such things today. God is still sovereign, and still in control of His creation, but specific details are not revealed to us. Earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornados and severe winter weather are all part of the natural order of the world. If God has a specific purpose in these events, it is not revealed to us.
There is a lesson, however, that any natural disaster should bring to mind. There are no guarantees about the course of one’s life. James reminds us, “Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (James 4:14). In view of the uncertain nature of life, we should live every day prepared for eternity. To live as if we know what will happen each day, as if we were in total control of every day, is arrogant. To live trusting God, in submission to His will, is our confidence, no matter what life brings. In Christ alone we have assurance for eternity (Hebrews 13:8).
What do I take from this horrible disaster? There were people in Haiti on the day of the earthquake thinking life would be like any other day, who no longer are here, but now can only face eternity. Live every day ready to face eternity, for it will happen, if not today, then sometime in the unknown future. “If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s” (Romans 14:8).