|Volume 21 Number 9 September 2019||
One day, you stroll from your car to the bank on the corner of State Route 9 and Highway 30 in Hanoverton, and a couple of people run up to you and start begging you to let them worship God with you next Sunday! You stand there in shock, staring at them. People just don’t do that! Why not?
Back in the day of a Jewish high priest named Zechariah, about five hundred years before Jesus Christ lived on earth, God told His people that if they would make the effort to love truth and peace in both their government and personal lives, then they would become such a beautiful blessing for the world that folks from every nation would grab them in the streets and beg them to be allowed to worship Jehovah God, too. Why? Because they would have heard that a real nice God lived with the Jews!
In our day, if we and our family, our church, our neighborhood, our city and our country would make the effort to love peace and truth and also behave like we really do love peace and truth, then people from around the world would beg to live around us and worship Jehovah God with us; peace and truth would be evidence or proof that a real God is among us.
Wouldn’t it be nice if, when we’re in town, people would feel the need to grasp our hands and beg to come and worship God with us? People did that in Acts 2 when they saw the happiness and good changes in the new Christians and when they saw the brotherly love among them. The church grew by the thousands. Today, that would be like, “Wow!”
Many peoples…shall come to seek the LORD of hosts…men from the nations…shall take hold of the robe of a Jew, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’ (Zechariah 8:22-23 ESV)
God Gave Us Talents;
Do We Use “Em” or Abuse “Em”?
Martha Lynn Rushmore
I used this topic many years ago at a Ladies’ Day in Cameron, WV. I thought it would be fitting for an article for “Christians” today.
Sarah Gudshinsky said, “God has a slot in His total eternal plan for each of us. The slot is exactly the shape of our heritage, experiences and life, and God expects us to fill it.” Someone else has said, “What you are is God’s gift to you, and what you make of yourself is your gift to God.” So, in these two statements, it makes me wonder how we are using the talents we have been given. Are we glorifying God, or are we falling into Satan’s trap?
Part of our purpose in life is discovering our God-given talents (gifts from God) and giving back to our Heavenly Father. We are to use our talents to glorify God, Christ and His church. We need to work as if everything depends on us and pray as if everything depends on God. If we work as we should, we will be honoring our Great God in Heaven.
God gave us a mind and common sense, but we have a choice how we use them. In Matthew 25:1-13, we read of the 10 virgins—five who were wise and five who were foolish. They were called to the wedding of the bridegroom; five used their common sense to prepare for an unforeseen problem and five did not. When the bridegroom was coming, the foolish unprepared virgins asked for oil from the wise and prepared virgins. They told the foolish to go and buy some as they did not have enough for themselves and each of them.
The five foolish virgins left to go purchase oil for their lamps. When they returned, the bridegroom had come, and the door was shut. They were not allowed to enter even though they now had the oil. It was too late. This is a lesson for us. We are to be ready to meet the Lord (bridegroom) when He comes again or when we die. Once our life has ended, we cannot change our destiny of a reward in Heaven or a punishment in Hell. We have the choice to be wise or to be foolish, to abuse or use our talents. Which are we doing?
In Matthew 25:14-30, we have the parable of the three men who were given talents. There was a man traveling to a far country, and he called his servants. He gave each man according to his ability. He gave one man 5 talents; he gave the second man 2 talents, and the last man he gave 1 talent. While he was gone, the 5-talent man doubled his to 10. The 2-talent man increased his to 4 talents. The 1-talent man took his out and buried it in the ground until his master returned.
The master was pleased with the 5-talent and 2-talent men because they increased their talents. He rewarded them. The 1-talent man made excuses why he did not at least get two talents or even put it in the bank to gain interest for his master. He said the man was hard, reaping where he did not sow and gathering when he had not strawed. The servant also said he was afraid and hid it in the dirt. The master was very displeased with this man and took the talent away from the man and gave it to the servant who had 10 talents. The master cast the unprofitable servant into outer darkness. Do we want to be rewarded or punished?
We are told in James 1:22 that we are to be doers of the Word. God expects us to work to increase our talents. We must work to go forward; we cannot stand still. Ultimately, we will go backwards in our Christianity unless we move forward. Going backward would make the Devil very happy.
We are told in Acts 9:36-43 that Dorcas was a worker for the Lord. It was very apparent after her death how much work she had done. When her friends came to mourn her death, they brought articles of clothing that she had made for them. Dorcas was remembered for her good works. Later, Peter restored her life.
How do we work, or do we work? Do we sit back and let others do the work of the church? Do we make excuses like the 1-talent man? Are we too shy and backward, thinking others will make fun of us if we do not do things perfectly? Are we too busy for the work of the church? What will we hear when we get to Judgment? No, we cannot do everything and maybe not perfectly, but we can do something and do it to the best of our abilities.
In John 9:4, Jesus said, “I must work the works of Him who sent me while it is yet day; night comes, when no man can work.” Here is a thought for all of us:
Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody
This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized Everybody wouldn’t do it. So, Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done. Anonymous (wouldn’t you know!)
It is said that in most organizations 20% of the members do most of the work. What about the other 80%? Can you imagine how the church would grow if these numbers were reversed? We need to all work for the Lord and His church.
Here are a few things that can be done with little effort. Whether or not you think they are important is not the question. They mean a lot to others and may indirectly win them to the Lord.
Hand out tracts.
Make a phone call to someone sick or shut in.
Send cards to the sick, to those who need encouragement, to those who have a birthday or to those who have lost loved ones.
Make some food for someone who had surgery.
If you see paper laying in the building after service, you could pick it up and throw it away.
Songbooks not put in their slots where they belong, you could put them away.
Greet those coming in for service and hand them a bulletin. This is great for the visitors, and by doing this you can make them feel welcome.
We want to use our talents for the Lord, no matter how small or big. If we use our abilities for the church, Satan is losing, and we are not abusing our talents. So, let us all do our part to help the church function and grow. Remember Philippians 4:13, which reads, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” If we all were to live by this verse, there would be no stopping the growth of the church. Glory be to God!