BE FAITHFUL WITH A LITTLE
He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. – Luke 19:12-13
The main purpose of this parable is to show that there would be a long period when Jesus would go away before returning to fulfill the prophecy about a physical kingdom on earth.
The nobleman’s servants were called to give an account for what they had done with their lord’s money that was delivered unto them. The servants were commanded to “occupy till I come.” These servants represent the followers of Jesus. However, being a follower of Jesus is more than simply not rejecting Him. It is an active commitment to serve Him. One of the ten servants had served himself and not His master. He did nothing with what his lord had given him. This wicked servant was stripped of what he had and it was given to the servant who had used his lord’s money wisely.
This illustrates that the Lord expects us to grow. This is made very clear in the parables of the kingdom which Jesus taught. In nearly every parable, growth or increase is expected. This servant who did nothing with what his lord gave him represents a believer who never grows or brings increase to God’s kingdom.
What was it that this wicked servant didn’t have that caused his master to take back the money he had given him? It wasn’t the tangible money that he received. He had kept that laid up in a napkin and still possessed it. What he was missing and what the other servant had that caused the lord to give this pound to him was faithfulness. Those who are faithful with what God has given them will be given more, and those who are wasteful will have what God has given them taken away and given to another. Use wisely what God has given to you.
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer. —Psalm 18:33
My baby is learning to walk. I have to hold her, and she clings to my fingers because she is still unsteady on her feet. She is afraid of slipping, but I’m there to steady her and watch over her. As she walks with my help, her eyes sparkle with gratitude, happiness, and security. But sometimes she cries when I don’t let her take dangerous paths, not realizing that I am protecting her.
Like my baby girl, we often need someone to watch over us, to guide and steady us in our spiritual walk. And we have that someone—God our Father—who helps His children learn to walk, guides our steps, holds our hand, and keeps us on the right path.
King David knew all about the need for God’s watchful care in his life. In Psalm 18 he describes how God gives us strength and guidance when we are lost or confused (v. 32). He keeps our feet steady, like the feet of the deer that can climb high places without slipping (v. 33). And if we do slip, His hand is there for us (v. 35).
Whether we are new believers just learning to walk in the faith or we are further along in our walk with God, all of us need His guiding, steadying hand.
Dear Father, hold my hand and lead me in the paths of right living.
God watches over me every step of the way.
…how can we know the way?’ Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. – John 14:5–6, NIV
Do you need direction in your life today? Not only is Jesus the way to life in eternity, but Jesus is the way to everything you need in this life here on earth. Do you need to know the way out of debt? Look to Jesus. Do you need to know the way to having better relationships…the way to overcome an addiction…the way to live in peace and joy? When you know Jesus, you know the Way!
No matter what you are facing today, no matter what challenges or obstacles are in your life, He will make a way for you even when you don’t see how. God loves you so much that He wants to strengthen and empower you to live in total victory. That’s why He sent His Son, Jesus, to this earth—to show you the way to live an abundant life! Open your heart and receive all that God has for you through Jesus. He is the way, and He made a way for you to live in victory in every area of your life!
ALWAYS TWO STORIES
Sometimes life seems to be taking us down a huge detour and everything looks like it’s not going our way. In those situations, our life and our story seems to be a disaster.
This is exactly what happened to Joseph, whose story is found in Genesis 37-50. Joseph’s brothers jealously hated him and sold him into slavery. Joseph was wrongfully put in prison for raping Potifer’s wife, when really he refused to compromise his integrity by sleeping with her. Then, Joseph helped get the chief cupbearer out of jail; however, when the cupbearer had an opportunity to return the favor and get Joseph out of jail, the man forgot about Joseph. Joseph ended up spending thirteen years in jail for something he didn’t do.
At this point Joseph’s story was going haywire, but God’s story was right on track. That’s because God had an amazing plan for Joseph’s life; God was going to use Joseph to save Egypt and the surrounding lands for seven years of devastating famine. What looked to Joseph like a huge detour was really a great plan of God to provide food for countless people, including the very brothers that had sold Joseph into slavery.
At the end of this, Joseph realized that God had a bigger plan for his life, and after his brothers come to him for food, he tells them: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20).
All along, God’s story was right on track.
This same principle is also true in the life of Jesus. To the disciples, it looked as those Jesus would be a great king who would rule Israel and return the nation to greatness. They hailed him as a great leader. So, when Jesus was being crucified, the story they saw looked like a major train wreck—this great leader whom they had followed for the past three years was suddenly dead. However, God’s story was at its peak—God was in the process of connecting humanity to himself.
There’s what you see and what God sees.
When your life seems to be a major disaster; know that God has bigger plans to use your life for great things. The story you see may not reflect the long-term story God has planned. Therefore, trust God, knowing that he works for good in all circumstances (Romans 8:28).
WRONG USE OF THE CHURCH
Many Christians are so enveloped in “church world” (i.e. a continuous Christian environment) that they have very few opportunities to reach out to nonbelievers. In such cases, the church turns into a social networking place to meet other Christians. Instead, the church needs to be a place where believers can be built up and strengthened in faith, and then encouraged and empowered to be sent out into culture for the ultimate cause of sharing Christ with all people.
That’s exactly what Jesus was getting at in Matthew 28:18-20, when he told his disciples, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
The Greek word for “nations” (ethnos) means a multitude of people. So, Jesus is simply saying that as you’re living and as you’re going about your business, make disciples of the people you’re around.
Even back in the Old Testament, God was trying to get his people to spread his name, his glory, and his fame among the people of the Earth. In Psalm 96:1-3, the psalmist writes, Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
God calls us to share his story with people. That call requires that we be in the world in order that we have opportunities to witness. That’s why the church needs to be a sending place for Christians.
WHAT YOU NEED IN THE WILDERNESS (2)
‘…He led them on safely, so that they did not fear…’ Psalm 78:53 NKJV
You can be in the wilderness and still be in the centre of God’s will. ‘…He made His own people go forth like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock… He led them on safely, so…they did not fear…’ (Psalm 78:52–53 NKJV) In the wilderness you get to know God in a way you never knew Him before. So, what else did Israel need to survive in the wilderness? Food! Someone calculated it would have taken about twenty–six wagonloads of food to feed that many Israelites every day. The problem is there were no trains and no tracks! But they had something much better—God! For forty years He delivered manna, ‘the perfect food’, to the doors of their tents. The supply was according to each family’s individual need—and God never missed a day. So if the economy has you feeling anxious and wondering whether or not God can take care of you—this is the word for you today! God may not give you everything you want, but He will give you everything you need. The God we serve doesn’t suffer from lack or limitation! The Psalmist said, ‘I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging for bread.’ (Psalm 37:25 NKJV) The old country preacher got it right when he said, ‘Where He leads me I will follow; what He feeds me I will swallow.’ Think of it: for forty years Israel never missed a meal or went without. And their God is your God, so put your trust in Him today and stop worrying!