|Volume 20 Number 4 April 2018||
In Ecclesiastes 7:21 Solomon warned, “Do not take seriously all the words which are spoken…” The fact is, people say things—sometimes things they don’t really mean. We often respond, “Oh yeah? Then why did they say it if they didn’t mean it?” To this Solomon responded, “Haven’t you ever said something you didn’t mean?” All of us would have to say, “Yes,” to that question. Maybe we said something in anger. Perhaps we were tired, sick or irritated, and so out came those words that we later regretted.
Yet, this isn’t a passage about guarding one’s words, but rather about guarding one’s ears. We need to be careful about running too far, overreacting to the words of others. We need to be a little more thick-skinned. Don’t take everything so personally. Give people a break. We all say things we don’t mean or say them in a way that upsets the hearer.
Christianity is a religion of tenderness, compassion and forgiveness. Rather than being quick to anger or being easily offended, let’s give each other a dose of kindness. I know I need it. Do you?
Ronald D. Reeves
The necessity to be dedicated unto the Lord is realized in all that the Bible affirms about devotion, consecration and being hallowed and set apart for divine service. The breadth of what should be dedicated unto the Lord includes (1) each of us (John 17:17; Ephesians 5:26), (2) our possessions (2 Corinthians 9:7) and (3) our time (Ephesians 5:16). This parallels the Old Testament teaching in Exodus 32:29, Leviticus 27:21 and Exodus 20:11. Rather than being unqualified priests before the Father (1 Kings 13:33), we will be accepted as dedicated priests (1 Peter 2:5, 9) by having been sanctified (1) by the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:16), (2) through the Word (John 17:17, 19), (3) by faith (Acts 26:18) and (4) through the offering of Christ (Hebrews 10:10). If we have genuinely obeyed the Gospel (1 Peter 4:17), our status as ones dedicated unto the Lord has been achieved and, consequently, we must look to the future with an eye of service in order that we maintain our dedication before the Lord.
The life of dedication unto the Lord is one of ministry (Romans 6) and must be unto every good work (2 Timothy 2:21). This requires the dedicated child of God to be truly active in the kingdom of God as the norm and the standard of his character (Matthew 7:21). To only serve the Lord once in a while is not adequate. Furthermore, we must take all necessary steps to safeguard what has been dedicated from being profaned (Leviticus 19:8). Even though each child of God has imperfections, we must endeavor to be ever growing unto perfection (Hebrews 6:1).
The consequences of faithful and maintained dedication unto the Lord extends far beyond this life; it most certainly touches the realm of eternity. This is evident in the receipt of blessings consequent to our faithful dedication (Exodus 32:29) as well as the receipt of the heavenly inheritance promised to faithful servants of the Master (Acts 20:32; 26:18).
The challenges of life may easily distract us from the measure of faithful, dedicated service that Christians are obligated to provide in their daily lives. May we periodically evaluate our priorities (Matthew 6:33) so that we can be truly regarded as dedicated children of God, thus hallowing the name of the Lord God among us as His people (Matthew 6:9).