MINE, MINE, MINE vs. GOD’S

November 8, 2016

“Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful… And what do you have that you did not receive? (1Corinthians 4: 2, 7)

The biblical word “steward” is not fully understood or appreciated.  It is actually one of the most important words in the New Testament.  A synonym for this word is “manager.” Many people believe this word primarily relates to a person’s money, but that application falls far short of the essential meaning of this word.

Paul asks the probing question: “And what do you have that you did not receive?”  He is telling us that our stewardship applies to everything we have received from God. This means our time, energy, gifts and talents, our health and all the things that make up the essence of our very life, including all of our money and possessions.

At the age of 65 my best friend, a very successful businessman, had what he refers to as a “halftime” experience when he came to fully appreciate this word steward. His regular custom was to draw a line down the middle of the top page of a legal pad. On the left side of that line he wrote, “My Business,” while on the right side of the line he wrote, “God’s Business.” When he fully appreciated this word, steward, he erased that line because he realized it was all God’s business.

Remember, the important thing about stewardship is that we be found faithful.  Do you realize there is nothing in your life you did not receive from God?  Do you know that you are to faithfully manage everything you have received from God?  Are you willing to have a halftime experience and erase the line between what is yours and what is God’s?

Dick Woodward, 10 June 2010


No Burning, No Shining

August 9, 2013

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”  (Matthew 5:16)

The applications of our Lord’s metaphors are almost endless.  One application to the metaphor above is that for our candle to give light it must be consumed.  Unlighted candles are not consumed, but the candles that shine are the candles that burn.  There is no shining without burning.

In another great metaphor Jesus told us there is no such thing as a fruitless disciple of His.  We are like branches and He is the Vine.  As branches, if we are properly intersected with Him, we can draw from Him the life force to be fruitful.  He promised if we are plugged into Him and are fruitful we will be cut back and pruned to be made more fruitful.  Cutbacks and pruning can really hurt.  They can come in the form of suffering but they improve the quality and the quantity of our fruit.

In light of these very clear teachings we should not be surprised when we find ourselves burning through suffering that our brightest light for Christ yields the best fruit.

Like many others I thought my most fruitful years were when I was able bodied and active.  But I have been joyfully surprised to discover that my most fruitful service for Christ has been as a bed fast quadriplegic.  Using voice activated computer software from my bed, 782 Bible studies have been produced and are being heard in 31 languages in 60 countries.  Worldwide more than 45,000 small groups are listening to our studies on solar powered digital audio players I call “God pods.”

Have you discovered there is no shining without burning?

 


A Salty Disciple

March 21, 2012

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness…It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.”  (Matthew 5:13 NIV/NLT)

When Jesus told His disciples that they were the salt of the earth there are several ways to interpret and apply this metaphor.  We find a clue to my favorite interpretation when we realize that our word “salary” is made up of the two root words “salt money.”

Twenty centuries ago the Roman Empire wanted to control the population of the world.  They knew that no human being can live without salt. So, they controlled the salt of the world. They actually paid their slaves in cubes of salt.  This is where we get the expression that a person is not worth their salt.

This means Jesus was teaching that secular people do not have life.  His disciples have life and they are the way the secular people of this world can find that life.

Years ago a missionary statesman said that when missionaries live in a compound in a foreign country with a fortress mentality they are like manure: they stink!  It’s only when God spreads them around that they do a little good.  Similarly, when the followers of Jesus meet together they are like salt in a saltshaker.  The only way they can have a salt influence is to come out of that saltshaker.

One way our Lord brings us out of the saltshaker is that we must make a living.  Be challenged by the reality that your workplace can be God’s way of placing you next to secular people who need life.  Realize that you are not only there to make a living…

You are there because they need the salty impact of your life.