Martin Luther, that giant of the Protestant Reformation, confessed, “Next to faith, this is the greatest art: to be content with the calling in which God has placed you.” This raises a few questions to ponder:
- How content are you with your gifts and talents?
- Is it okay to have certain gifts and not others?
- How well do you know and accept your limits?
I know of two businessmen that were each installed as elders at a church. Both of those men resisted the decisions of their pastor strongly and led to the pastor’s resignation and ultimate demise of the church, which is no longer in existence.
Later those two leaders both confessed, independently, that they had felt a call to ministry early on in their lives and felt like they missed God. Either they did not have the gift of pastoring, or they were disobedient to the call. Yet they both felt they had the authority to make pastoral decisions for the church without shouldering the responsibility.
They did not value the calling God gave them, but sought out a calling they desired. And it backfired!
Identify your true calling and stay faithful. And do not step into a calling that is not yours. Doing so can cause great harm to the Body of Christ.
Tags: contentment, gifts, Luther
In 1991, quite a stir was caused when James Peterson released his book, The Day America Told the Truth: What People Really Believe About Everything That Really Matters. He posed a question that really caught everyone’s eye: “What are you honestly willing to do for ten million dollars?” Here are his incredible results:
25% of Americans would abandon their family.
23% would become a prostitute for a week.
16% would renounce their citizenship.
7% would kill a stranger.
4% would have a sex change operation.
What would you do for ten million dollars?
I spent three Thanksgiving Days in the military, two of them away from home. The last Thanksgiving holiday, I was stationed in Augsburg, Germany, and preparing to be discharged just a little over a month from then. As you know, Thanksgiving Day is an American tradition, so there was nothing special happening off base. I was assigned to the 507th US Army Security Agency on Flak Kaserne. Because few could fly home for the holidays in 1969, the base recognized the holiday with a big turkey dinner and a keg of German beer. My office was shut down so the officers could spend time with their families, so there was nothing much to do and no supervisors to see that it got done.
I was reading a book at the time, so most of my Thanksgiving Day was spent consuming that story. To be honest, I don’t remember thinking for one moment of what I was thankful for. I just spent the day doing what I wanted to do and feeling lonely and sorry for myself.
I’m so thankful that a little more than a year later I surrendered my life to Christ and learned what real life is. Now I’m careful to think in terms of thanksgiving to God.
What was your most empty Thanksgiving?
Last Sunday afternoon Anita and I attended a funeral for our old friend, Debbie Sims. Debbie worked alongside her husband, Rev. Bob Sims, in founding three churches in Defiance, Bryan, and Avilla, and building a sizable church in Angola. Debbie had battled cancer for several years and is finally at home with the Lord.
As we prepare for Thanksgiving, its good for us to remember who the people in our lives are that we are thankful for. I’m thankful for those who influenced my spiritual life like Pastor Bob Sims and others. As you think about your life, what are the names of people you are thankful for and why. We usually take God for granted in these areas. Who is it you’re thankful for?
Have you ever heard someone say, “The grass looks greener on the other side of the fence”? Of course, we know that means that what someone else has looks better until we get there. It also says that the beholder is not satisfied with where he is, but must always look for greener grass elsewhere.
I’ve known men who were always looking for better women, always searching for the better job, never content with what God has given them. I’ve also known women who were never content with their house or car, always hopping from church to church, always searching for greener grass. They thought the grass was greener on the other side until they got there.
Someone once said, “If you think that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, it is probably because you are not properly caring for the grass on your own side.”
My Bible says, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have” (Hebrews 13:5a).
Tags: coveting, greed, money
First, somebody told it,
Then the room couldn’t hold it,
So the busy tongues rolled it
Till they got it outside.
Then the crowd came across it,
And never once lost it,
But tossed it and tossed it,
Till it grew long and wide.
This lie brought forth others,
Dark sisters and brothers,
And fathers and mothers —
A terrible crew.
And while headlong they hurried,
The people they flurried,
And troubled and worried,
As lies always do.
And so evil-bodied,
This monster lay goaded,
Till at last it exploded
In smoke and in shame.
Then from mud and from mire,
The pieces flew higher,
And hit the sad victim
And killed a good name.
Tags: deception, poetry
There are times when I get weary with life and its never ending struggles. Some times I just want to cry out, “Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly”. I long to be in His presence and out of the pressures down here. Apparently, that has been the sentiment of believers for centuries. Consider the words of the final closing verse of The Church’s One Foundation:
Yet she on earth hath union With God, the Three in One,
And mystic sweet communion With those whose rest is won
O happy ones and holy! Lord, give us grace that we,
Like them, the meek and lowly, On high may dwell with Thee. Amen
Tags: church, heaven, hymns