When Anita and I eat out at a nice restaurant, sometimes I order a small sirloin steak. They always ask me how I want it cooked, to which I always reply, “Well done”. If I’m going to eat beef, I don’t want any pink in it. I don’t want it tough as my work boot, either. There are a couple of restaurants that cook it nice and tender and its still well done.
Well done means its thoroughly cooked without any pink in the center…brown all the way through. And it can even be black on the outside and I’m good with it. I’m not interested in the ‘appearance’ of well done, I want it cooked brown all the way. The difference is in the flavor. And if its done well, I don’t even add any meat sauce. Well done is good enough for me.
In Matthew 25:21 Jesus was telling a parable to illustrate what the kingdom of heaven is like. To a faithful servant the master said, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” ‘Well done’, then, is a phrase that not only describes how I like steak, but also how the Lord feels about a servant who has been faithful to get the job thoroughly done. Appearance on the outside doesn’t matter, but the faithful servant does it all the way through to the end. And the only way to get well done is to put it through the fire.
And in our parable, the servant was only faithful in a few things. And he was rewarded with greater opportunities. And the Master’s joy became his, as well. God will cheer you up.
How’s your service for the Master coming? What will He say to you on Judgment Day? I hope He’ll say, ‘Well done’.
“And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2). Paul says in verse 2 a repeat of what he said in verse 1: without Agape love, all the spiritual and ministry gifts have no power.
He was not minimizing the gifts of prophecy, word of knowledge, or faith, but maximizing the importance of agape love in using these gifts. Because these gifts are not about us and how spiritual we can present ourselves. These gifts are how we love others as He has loved us. Loving others sometimes means we keep our mouths shut. Sometimes it means we wait. Sometimes it means we do what we would rather not do. It means caring when we’d rather not care. It means sacrificing when we’d prefer to harvest. Love means giving when we’d rather receive.
Love overshadows all the spiritual gifts with all their power. Love melts hard hearts, but must be manifested. Love that doesn’t take some action really isn’t love at all.
If a church has a lot of solid Bible teaching, but no love, people’s lives won’t be touched. If there are a lot of spiritual gifts moving in a local church, but lack of love keeps those gifts only within the church family, people’s lives won’t be changed.
Many Christians are always searching for more signs and wonders because they want a quick fix for their problems, but they never deal with the real issues. Its like one who hopes to win the big lottery but never deals with his/her own greed. So they never become rich nor content. Without love, “I am nothing“, Paul says.
How have you seen love demonstrated in our church? Tell us your story. How can you demonstrate love this week? Its more powerful than miracles!
Tags: love, service, spiritual gifts
Paul had just stated that it was God who sets certain people in ministry positions in the body of Christ. But, he follows up with this question: “Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret” (1 Corinthians 12:29-30)? These are rhetorical questions. Of course, everyone doesn’t do all the gifts. That has been the logic behind Paul using the analogy of a body to illustrate the church.
The point being made here is that the body is made up of many different parts working together. Each part has its own role based upon its personal gift-mix and calling.
From my experience, it is a real blessing when people will step up to their role and function as God has called them. In our busy society, its becoming more and more difficult to get people to serve in any capacity as a part of the body. People want to be served, but they don’t want to serve. The whole ‘body’ idea falls apart if we don’t all function within our local church.
A building might collapse if one rivet or support beam was missing. A body might die or be seriously handicapped if one organ was missing. A mystery novel might lose its entire mystery if one chapter was missing. Or a church might miss a God-ordained ministry is one gifted person fails to use his/her gift.
The reason Paul raised up the 5-fold ministry gifts was to equip the saints (every one) for the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12). Over your Christian experience, what area of service have you attempted that you discovered was not your gift?
Paul had just said, “The members should have the same care one for another” (v. 25), meaning that there should be no favoritism in the body of Christ (the church).
He continues that thought: “And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26). He sees the various people that make up the body of Christ being so tightly woven together that we become dependent upon one another. If someone in the church is hurting, everyone should share the hurt. And if another receives a promotion or acclaim, we all share in the good news.
We saw this happen this year when Becky Young had her accident, and when Diane Vance’s nephew was killed right in the middle of re-roofing Nate and Diane’s house, and when Janett Brunger’s husband, Ron, passed away. You all stepped in and brought relief to their grief. That’s what the church is all about.
But, I wonder if others were ignored in their grief because we hadn’t made room for them in the body. What if we went out of our way to heal hurts in people we hardly know? What if we saw ourselves as Paul saw us, so connected to one another that we never became jealous of someone else’s success? What if our purpose in the church was to strengthen those weaker than ourselves?
I think that would make the church look a whole lot more desirable to the lost than they currently see us. Think about this today.
Tags: church, love, service
“And those members of the body, which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God has tempered the body together, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked” (1 Corinthians 12:23-24).
Last Thursday Anita and I hosted our family for Thanksgiving. We all ate well, but we pretty much ignored everyone but the youngest grandchildren. We gave special favor and assistance to them, because they can’t take care of themselves. We gave them special honor and attention.
That’s what Paul is talking about in the body. We give special honor and favor to those who can’t take care of themselves. That would include the children in our church, the aged in our church, and the spiritually immature. When someone in the church becomes vulnerable due to an attack, a death, a failure, or anything else that makes them weak, those members of the body that are stronger need to step up to the plate.
Jealousy and competitiveness in the church just doesn’t lend itself to spiritual gifts. Those of us who feel better than another must use those strengths to strengthen the weaker. Strengthening the weaker brother/sister strengthens the whole body. The church of Jesus Christ just looks better all around.
What part of the body at New Hope has a need? Go after that need and watch your spiritual gifts come alive!
Tags: church, jealousy, service, spiritual gifts
This is Vacation Bible School week at New Hope. The theme has been Pandamania and the kids have had a great time. We have seen adults step up to the plate who have never helped in children’s ministry before! There are enough workers that we can move smaller groups of children through various “stations” and keep their short attention spans on schedule.
Ayron Reeves has tackled the job of directing the VBS week with great leadership skills. He has been impressive in fixing every problem that has arisen. We can be proud of him and all his volunteer staff. I’m sure there will be many stories of “kairos moments” that come from this VBS week, both from the kids and from the adult staff. God will surely bless faithfulness.
What stories can you share about this week’s Vacation Bible School?
Did you know there are slave-making ants that reside in the Amazon rain forest? Hundreds of these ants periodically swarm out of their nest to capture neighboring colonies of weaker ants. After destroying resisting defenders, they carry off cocoons containing the larvae of worker ants. When these “captured children” hatch, they assume that they are part of the family and launch into the tasks they were born to do. They never realize that they are forced-labor victims of the enemy.
Just as these little creatures are captives from the time of their birth, so we humans enter the world enslaved to sin and Satan. We act out what we think is ‘normal’ behavior, but leave a trail of broken debris in our wake. Only by turning to Christ and following His ways can we break free of the slavery of sin.
Joshua 24:15 says, “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve”. We are all servants. Our decision, as Joshua pointed out, is not whether we will serve, but whom.
Tags: ants, service, sin, slavery