|Volume 18 Number 2 February 2016||
Doing What We Can
Donald R. Fox
We all need some sort of help from time to time. It’s pretty common to hear someone state that he or she will help and do what one can. There are limitations because of physical or mental capacities, though. The first thing that came into my mind concerning doing what we can is that the doing must have God-given standards and values. As a Christian, my guide regarding what is right or wrong is the Bible, the Word of God.
A Few Simple and Easily
Scriptures Regarding Rightness
“Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein” (Jeremiah 6:16 KJV). “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful” (Psalms 1:1). “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts” (Proverbs 21:2). “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the law and the prophets” (Matthew 7:12).
Doing what we can must be guarded and guided by that which is right in the sight of God. Sometimes a child of God cannot do what he or she may be asked to do. Let me illustrate this by relating to you what I was asked to do in the twilight of my military service. My last military assignment before retirement was as a Brigade Command Sergeant Major, Mississippi Army National Guard. A Command Sergeant Major slot became open in one of our battalions.
Upon a regular visit to this battalion, I was approached by an old Master Sergeant, whom I knew. This Master Sergeant was ready to retire within a year because of his age, which was nearing 60-years-old. He asked me to “pull strings” to place him in the Battalion CSM slot for retirement purposes. According to regulations, one must serve in this advanced position for six months before he could retire as the Battalion CSM. He was not qualified by any military standard for this position. He stated he just wanted the position for retirement purposes and the additional retirement income he would receive.
I would not give him an answer to this request. I knew it was wrong to use a high and important vacated position for such a purpose. Making a trip to give the old Master Sergeant my decision, I met with my friend. I told him his request was way out of the line, and I could not recommend nor “pull strings” per his request. His face dropped, and he became angry. His reply was, “What have I ever done to you, Fox.” He could not comprehend the predicament and his off base request. So it goes! We must do the right thing. His request was not only badly wrong, but it also was against all regulations. Sadly, he could not see the truth and remained mad at me. So be it!
We all make mistakes and in hindsight, I should have told the old soldier, no, right off, I couldn’t do it. Oh yes, he would have been the same angry man. Don’t we learn from our mistakes?
Nobody knows how long he or she will live. Yet, we all set plans for what we are going to do in our lives. The Buddhist people have their basic principle of life. They say, “While you are young seek education, when you become mature in knowledge and physical seek wealth, and when you become old seek Dhama.” Dhama means the truth, but it simply means seek God. This is their purpose of life. Would this be right for Christians? Are we to seek God only when we are getting old? Are education and wealth more important than God?
Many Christians claim that seeking God must be the purpose of our lives. They quote Matthew 6:33-34, which reads, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Yet, most of them misunderstand and practice this verse in a wrong way. Many people seem to think that they better seek God to get what they want. They put the second sentence first as God will provide you the things you want if you seek Him. From this, a false teaching that “Christians are supposed to be rich” came about.
The Devil, though, changed the priority whether to seek spiritual or physical things first. Satan said in Matthew 4:9, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” If we seek first God and His righteousness, we will find the way to life, which will take us to the Father (John 14:6). Satan can give every physical thing you desire, but he is not able to give eternal life.
Paul said in 1 Timothy 6:7-8, “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.” Here we are taught to content with having food to eat and clothes to wear. We are not to worry about our physical needs while seeking God. Jesus said in Matthew 6:25, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” God has given us a very precious life. We are to use this precious life for Him, but we are always worrying about ourselves. We do not worry about what God wants us to do. We always ask God for what we want, but we do not ask what He wants us to do.
Many times our purpose of living in the world is to satisfy our own flesh. In 1 Corinthians 10:31 Paul said, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” So our purpose of living in this world should be to glorify God in whatever we do, and yet, we often put ourselves first.
King Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 12:1, “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, Before the difficult days come, And the years draw near when you say, I have no pleasure in them.” He reminded us to remember our Creator from the days of our youth because the days of evil are coming. “Remember” means always keep in heart. We should not seek God only when we are old like the Buddhist people do.
Therefore, our purpose of living in this world should be to glorify God (1 Corinthians 10:31) and to serve Him (Ecclesiastes 12:1). We are not to worry about our tomorrows according to the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:25. At last Jesus Christ commanded us to preach the Gospel to every nation (Matthew 28:28; Mark 16:16). There is no greater goal than walking with God and spending our lives for Him (Philippians 1:21).