|Volume 22 Number 6 June 2020||
The title of this article is by no means original with me. I was immediately captivated recently when I read this statement in a devotional thought taken from Revelation 3:17. A devotional writer made this observation. “We can’t see the picture when we are in the frame. Likewise, we do not know who we truly are until the worldly things we have come to depend on for comfort and security are taken away. At that point we will know if who we thought we were is really who we are.” Revelation 3:17 reads, “Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.’” Jesus said they did not know, and therefore, they never saw this starkest, most scathing reality check coming! Jesus used five of the bluntest and most graphic descriptions imaginable to Christians in His condemnation of their shabby spiritual state.
The church at Laodicea was the only one of the seven churches of Asia that Jesus outrightly condemned for who they thought they were. They imagined they were a people who were rich, abundant in possessions and in need of nothing. Jesus said to them in Revelation 3:15-16, “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot, I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth.” They were lukewarm, self-satisfied, felt self-sufficient and were self-confident in every way.
In a recent television program presented each Sunday by churches of Christ, the Good News Today host addressed Revelation 3:17-18. Verse 18 reads, “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.” The program host noted what the Laodiceans had said about themselves. “Because you say…” He stated, “It doesn’t matter what I say about me, but rather, it matters what the Bible says about me.” God’s Word is a mirror as one looks into that perfect law of liberty (James 1:25) and whether we continue in it is the litmus test for all of us. We all start on the same level field as lost sinners in need of eternal redemption. If we have one sin or a trillion-zillion, the number of sins is totally irrelevant.
Second Corinthians 10:12 reminds us of an inescapable truth. “For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” In his book on 2 Corinthians—Prescription for Abuses and Disorders, C.W. “Abe” Lincoln wrote:
Paul would not dare class or compare himself with any of those who put forward their own claims, those who played the game of self-comparison. Competition or comparing oneself one with another is very deceiving, hurtful, and even spiritually destructive. It is a bad practice to use another; it is proper practice to follow a good example…We are not to compare ourselves with others. We are to look to the Lord and see how short we fall of His glory.
That kind of seeing keeps us ever humble, thankful and obedient.
It Depends in
Whose Hands It Is
Martha Lynn Rushmore
I heard a similar topic on the Internet the other day. I used the same title, but the comparisons are different. I am using sports in which I am interested.
If I hold a baseball in my hands, it might be worth $3.00. If I put a baseball in the hands of Joey Votto, who plays for the Cincinnati Reds, it is worth about $21,000,000 a year. It depends on who holds the baseball.
If I hold a football in my hands, it might be worth about $11.00. Now, if this football were placed in the hands of Ben Roethlisberger, the quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, it would be worth about $87.4 million a year. It depends on in whose hands the football is.
If I hold a hockey puck in my hands, it might be worth $2.00. Now, if I place a hockey puck in the hands of Sidney Crosby, who plays for the Pittsburgh Penguins, it is worth about $8.7 million a year. It depends in whose hands the hockey puck is.
If I hold in my hands a golf club, it is worth about $50. Putting golf clubs in the hands of Tiger Woods resulted in career earnings of $800,000,000. It depends on who holds a golf club.
If I hold five loaves of bread and two fishes in my hands, I might eat the two fishes and a small amount of bread with some left over. With five loaves and two fishes in the hands of Jesus, He fed 5,000 men plus women and children, and there were 12 baskets left over when they were done eating (Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:31-44; Luke 9:12-17; John 6:1-14). It depends in whose hands the five loaves and two fishes are.
If I hold a toy slingshot it in my hands; it is just a toy. I might be able to knock a can over a few feet away. When David the shepherd boy held a sling, he slew the Philistine giant Goliath (1 Samuel 17:40-50). It depends in whose hands the slingshot is.
If I hold a stick or a rod in my hand, I might play stickball. When Moses held a rod in his hand, he parted the Red Sea (Exodus 14:16). It depends on who is holding the rod.
If I hold two nails in my hands, I could fasten two boards together. However, Jesus had two nails in His hands as He was nailed to the cross (John 20:25), by which He took all mankind’s sins with Him there (1 Peter 2:24). It depends in whose hands the nails are.
If I hold all my worries, anxieties and sorrows in my hands, all this does is make me sick and stressed. No good comes from me holding these things alone. On the other hand, if I place all my worries, anxieties and sorrows in the hands of my God, He will take care of me. He will make things better and be with me at all times. It depends in whose hands these worries, anxieties and sorrows are. I thought this especially was needed today regarding the coronavirus crisis. So many are worried about this virus, and we need to turn these worries and anything else going wrong in our lives over to the Lord. “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7 NKJV).
So, the worth of what is held varies depending upon who is holding it. Let us remember, it all depends in whose hand things are.