What’s In Your Hand? 

Exodus 4:2
“So the Lord said to him, ‘What is that in your hand?’  He said, ‘A rod.’”

This passage has always encouraged me. We find Moses wanting some evidence that God had truly called him, and God chooses to take what was in Moses’ hand and use it in a miraculous way. He did the same thing with the twelve when all they had was five loaves and two fish. He did it with David, when he entered the valley with a sling and a rock. He will do it with us, when we will offer who we are and what we have, for His service.

There are some stories in Scripture that I relate to more than others. However, when Joshua runs toward the Angel of the Lord, or when Abraham rises early to offer his son, I am not sure I picture myself responding in quite the same way. I think I would fit right in with Moses in this account,though. Even after God promises to use what is in his hand, and goes so far as to demonstrate how He would use him, Moses still doubts. I think it is a matter of perspective. Moses looked at how weak he was, while God looked at how strong He is.

If we want God to take what is in our hands and use it for His glory, we must be willing to trust that His strength is always revealed in our weakness. Instead of focussing upon what we cannot do, it is time to focus on what He can do.

Take some time to pray about how God may want to use you, especially in your local church.

Pastor Jim

 

Rewards

2 Corinthians 5:10
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

A few years ago, I watched a very interesting story on the news. An armored vehicle, after leaving a local bank, had neglected to properly close the rear truck door. Upon making a turn, bags of money fell out of the truck and broke open on the street. People, seeing what had happened, went nuts, rushing into the street, picking up cash and shoving it into their pockets. In the midst of the chaos, a young boy grabbed a handful of coins and ran off. That night, he felt so guilty he could not sleep. The next day at school, the little boy dropped eighty-five cents on his teacher’s desk and told her about the event. She, wanting to encourage him for doing the right thing, contacted the bank to arrange for the return of the money. Since more than $200,000 was lost that day, and only eighty-five cents returned, the bank wanted to honor this young man and asked him to come to the bank to receive an award. When the mayor of the city heard of his deed, he also wanted to honor the child with a public gathering. Later, word reached the executives at Disney, who decided to honor the young man. They invited him, and his whole class, to Disney World; all expenses paid. What a remarkable picture of grace. One young man took what did not belong to him and gave it back to the rightful owners, and in return, was richly honored and showered with blessings.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

Paul writes every believer will one day appear before the judgment seat of Christ. At this throne, we will not be judged for our sins; those were judged at the cross and forgiveness was appropriated to each of us when we received Christ. No, at this throne, sin is not the issue, nor is judgment the reward. Instead, our Christian life will be examined. We will be rewarded with treasures in heaven for what we did on earth. When we choose to offer our God-given gifts, talents, time and treasures back to Him, He will not only accomplish great things through us, but reward us for it later.

Earlier Paul had written to these same believers and asked, “What do you have that you did not receive?” Everything we have really belongs to God. Our natural talents are as much a representation of His grace, as our spiritual gifts. We need to take what does not belong to us and return it to its rightful owner.

Now would be a great time to examine your life. All of your time, talents and treasures are a gift from God. How are you using them for the Kingdom of Heaven? What are some ways you can get involved in serving Christ? Keep in mind, we will all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, and we don’t want to appear empty-handed.

Pastor Jim

 

Neglect 

Nehemiah 10:39
“For the children of Israel and the children of Levi shall bring the offering… and we will not neglect the house of our God.”

Much of our life is experience oriented. We save, plan, and prepare for a trip; making sure we get lots of photos, so we can remember our experience, and share it with others. We might even put together a photo album and place it on the coffee table, making it easier to look back and remember the times we enjoyed. Sometimes, we treat our relationship with the Lord the same way. We have an encounter with the LORD, we come forward at church to receive Christ, or recommit our lives to Him. Rather than treating this as a day-to-day ongoing relationship, we simply memorialize the moment. I think it is important to remember, while salvation transpires in that moment in time when we trust in Christ, relationship with the Lord is an ongoing event, and should be a part of our daily living. This relationship includes, not only what He has done for us, but committing ourselves to be a part of the further work He desires to do.

We read here, they committed themselves “not to neglect the house of God.” That meant, they were committed to doing their part. The priests committed to their service requirement, the Levites to theirs; while the people committed to giving the first fruit of the produce, to provide for the work. Giving back to the Lord is a very important part of following Him. We give, not because God is needy, but as an expression of our love and gratitude for all He has done for us, and because we want to be a part of the work He is doing in the lives of others.

Only you can determine if you have been neglecting the house of God. Why not take a few moments to examine your commitment to Christ. What part of your time, talents, and treasures have you been giving to the Kingdom of Heaven? If you need to make adjustments now is the time.

Pastor Jim

 

Wasted Potential 

Judges 14:3

“…And Samson said to his father, ‘Get her for me, for she pleases me well.’”


Few people have ever had the kind of talent Samson had. He was gifted far above anyone else in his generation. Tragically, however, Samson wasted his gifts by consuming them in search of his own pleasures. Two truths seem to cry out from his story. 


First, I notice how common it is for gifts to be wasted. I remember back in my high school years, there was a student, just a year above me, who was the most gifted basketball player in the area. Every time he took the to court, he was a standout in scoring, and in defense. It looked as though he could write his own ticket to college, and perhaps even the NBA. Sadly, however, he got involved in the party life and went nowhere. Even as a teenager, I remember feeling so sad that all that talent had been wasted. 


Second, I notice that it is not the most talented who are the most effective. No man in history could rival Samson for the gifts he  received. He was perhaps the most talented man in all the Bible, yet he accomplished very little with his gifts. I wonder how many times we have felt, if we were more gifted we could be more effectively used by God? We think if we were a better communicator, or a bit smarter, or had musical gifts or . . . then God could use us. The story of Samson makes it clear that commitment to the Lord is far more important than talent, in the furtherance of the work of God. Instead of wishing we were like someone else, we should devote ourselves fully to Jesus, and see how He might use us, just the way He made us. 


Pastor Jim 

  

Got Talent

Exodus 38:22
“Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, made all that the Lord had commanded Moses.”

IMG_1465Six times in Exodus we read of a man named Bezalel, and five times of Aholiab. These men are recipients of the highest of all honors; their names and accomplishments are recorded in the eternal Word of God. When heaven and earth have passed away, and all of this life is but a distant memory, the accomplishments of these two men will remain forever chronicled alongside Moses, Joshua, David, Daniel and Paul. They are honored even though there is no reference to them ever wielding a sword like Joshua, having a face to face encounter with God, like Moses, writing worship songs like David, or winning others to Christ, like Paul. These men are honored because they took the talents they had received from the Lord and used them for His kingdom, and His glory. In order for the Tabernacle to be built, talented men must give of their time, effort and energy. Bezalel and Aholiab rose to the call. We read,

Exodus 36:2
“Then Moses called Bezalel and Aholiab, and every gifted artisan in whose heart the Lord had put wisdom, everyone whose heart was stirred, to come and do the work.”

Notice that “gifted men” were called. One of the ways we can recognize the call of God on our lives, is to look at the need and the gifts we have. If a need arises for plumbing and you are a plumber, you have an opportunity to respond to the call of God. Notice also, their hearts were stirred. Sometimes, even before an opportunity arises, a desire is birthed within us; that can be the call of God. The important thing is, they responded and offered their talents to be used for the kingdom..

Exodus 31:2-3
“See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship”

Once these men responded to the call of God, they received the enabling of God. Their natural gifts, while important, must be met with the power of the Spirit. Often we neglect to make ourselves available to God because we feel powerless. It was in response to the call of God that they received the Spirit of God. Just as Moses’ staff parted the Red Sea after it went into the water, so these men were equipped, once they responded to the call.

Exodus 35:34
“And He has put in his heart the ability to teach, in him and Aholiab the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan.”

Finally, their service was an opportunity to make disciples. They were called to serve and to teach others. The building of the Tabernacle was not a one man job. If it was to be accomplished, others must be taught and given opportunity to serve. Bezalel and Aholiab were given the task of training others to be part of the work of God.

Don’t think because you are not an evangelist, pastor, missionary or worship leader, that there is no place for you in the church. There are a multitude of ministry opportunities for people who are gifted artisans. Much of what happens in the ministry today is because faithful men and woman take their talents and give them back to the Lord.

Pastor Jim