|Volume 18 Number 11 November 2016||
I was recently asked to “name three things God cannot improve upon.” I hope you find this thought-provoking. I do. My thoughts generally address what God can do. As an example, God can unify “Christians” everywhere. I find myself dreaming about such things. Just imagine all the various organizations in your community under one roof worshiping in unity. Think of the influence this would have on your community.
Think of the financial opportunities it would provide for benevolent work, education, missionary support, etc. Today, our communities spend much money on duplicated expenses, primarily buildings and salaries. God can fix this. We must find the humility and wisdom to understand our traditions for what they are and isolate the truth of God’s design for the church (singular). Pretty idealistic, but if mankind will let Him, God can fix this.
Drug and alcohol abuse is another thing. In my community, and I am sure in yours as well, this effects every single household in one way or another. For example, I recently found it necessary to install security cameras at my home. This is not the way I want to live. Our local prosecuting attorney told me that well over 90% of his time is spent on drug and alcohol related offenses. God can fix this.
I have performed many marriage ceremonies. I would give a number but I would find the necessary research depressing. You may wonder what would be depressing about that. The reason that it is depressing is because there is a corresponding list of divorces. I have read so many articles and even a book or two on such things. The problem, once again, affects us all in one way or another. I try with great diligence to prevent all these broken homes. I simply cannot solve these problems. However, God can fix this.
Has anyone noticed a decay in the attendance regularity of children in Bible school classes? I expect you have. We as parents are so very concerned with the education of our children, and yet, we find ourselves prioritizing away from the only perfect book ever written. I was humored (placated, conciliated) recently by a young man who told me he respected my faith but that he believed in science. Does he think I don’t believe in science? We are allowing our children to be educated without the necessary balance. God can fix this.
The world is broken in so many ways: hate, greed, racism, bigotry, pollution, war, terrorism, corruption, poverty, immorality, etc. This list is pretty long, and for the most part, it is universally recognized. What I mean is, most citizens in our society today, independent of any religious views, will agree that such things need fixed. Many – it may even be fair to say most – try. They find a platform, and they try. However, they can’t fix the problem. They need a better platform, a better message. I do not doubt that most people care.
It may sound like I am complaining or even ranting. I might be, but I have a point. Remember where I started? I can think of only one thing God cannot improve upon: His design. You may think this a little unfair calling this “one thing,” so I will concede that it is a big blanket. I recognize it includes virtually everything: creation, life choices, family, Christ, salvation and even heaven along with much more.
Why should we evangelize? To save souls? Yes! Don’t think I am attempting to diminish this truth, but note the profundity of the byproduct. This is how we help God fix all the problems. We teach the design. “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen” (Matthew 28:18-20). There is no greater platform than that of Christianity, none more effective or more powerful on which we may stand to make a difference in this world.
Nearing the end of the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25, we find a man giving some pretty pitiful excuses for his slothfulness. This man really had no one but himself to blame for his failure, but he chose, instead, to try to blame the man he was supposed to serve.
First, he attacked his master’s character by saying, “Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed” (Matthew 25:24). Then, he questioned his master’s compassion when he said, “And I was afraid” (Matthew 25:25a). What did he fear; did he fear he would lose what little he had been given, and be punished for it? The master knew he could manage this “small” amount (v. 15). Perhaps, he feared looking like a failure compared to the others. It was no secret that this man had less ability than the other two (Matthew 25:15). By doing nothing he had an excuse for his failure; he didn’t even try. What if he had tried and only had gained half of a talent more (Matthew 25:27)? The final excuse, I think, is the most insulting, and really showed that he held his master in contempt. He attacked his master’s control. “Look, there you have what is yours” (Matthew 25:25b). It is as if he said, “I owe you no more than what you gave me. We’re even.” On the contrary, the master had lost one thing that was supposed to be his. The servant had taken it, and he was not giving it back.
There are many who use these same excuses against God now, and will attempt to use them on the Judgment Day. Some plan to call into question God’s character by saying, “You did not give me enough evidence.” Others, perhaps even some Christians, question God’s compassion. “Would a loving God really send someone to Hell?” Too many fear men more than they fear God (Matthew 10:28), and part of that fear is being viewed as a failure compared to others. Finally, many question God’s control by mentally dividing the things they have and saying, “This is God’s, but this is mine.” We should realize that everything we have belongs to God. “For every beast of the forest is Mine, And the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the mountains, And the wild beasts of the field are Mine” (Psalm 50:10-11). As Christians, we are the Lord’s, and we owe him our service (Deuteronomy 10:12). If we say to God, “You have what is Yours” (the 1 to 4 hours per week we attend church services, for instance), “but the rest is mine,” He has lost the same thing the master in the parable had lost: His servant.