Christianity 201

August 30, 2020

What’s In Your Hand?

God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers–the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob–has sent me to you.’ “This is my name forever, the name you shall call me from generation to generation. “Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers–the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob–appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt. And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt…

“The elders of Israel will listen to you. Then you and the elders are to go to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the LORD our God.’ But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him. So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that, he will let you go. “And I will make the Egyptians favorably disposed toward this people, so that when you leave you will not go empty-handed…

Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The LORD did not appear to you’?”  Then the LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?” “A staff,” he replied. The LORD said, “Throw it on the ground.” Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it…

“This,” said the LORD, “is so that they may believe that the LORD, the God of their fathers–the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob–has appeared to you.” Exodus 3: 15-17a, 18-21, 4:1-3, 5

Earlier this week, I was thinking about the people whose Christian identity is defined by the things they do in terms of Christian service, and how much of this service revolved around church activities which ceased after the lockdown. Preparing the Communion table. Handing out bulletins. Singing on a worship team. Greeting visitors. Serving coffee.

If your entire realm of Christian service consisted of areas of ministry activity at a weekend church gathering, and you didn’t find anything to replace it, then you clearly haven’t been serving God much lately, have you? No wonder you’re anxious to return to live, in-person worship.

My wife, on the other hand, has been busier now than ever. She stepped up from her worship-leading focus to create a media-focus in a smaller church where none had existed previously.

For me, I’ve gone from feeling immobilized for the first six weeks of the Covid-19 pandemic, to a return to greater activity, including preparing these devotionals on a daily basis at a time we had previously announced we would be cutting back the frequency from its current 24/7 schedule.

As I thought about wanting to do more earlier this morning, I was reminded of God’s word to Moses.

Then the LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?”

If you’ve found yourself wanting to find new ways to offer service — assuming that your personal spiritual development through prayer and scripture hasn’t waned during this period — you might want to ask yourself the same question, “What is that in your hand?”

In other words, what do you already possess that God can use, if you will allow it to be used.

[At risk of going off on a tangent — which I’m about to do anyway — I should say that when this verse was impressed on me, I was actually holding my toothbrush in my hand. There are people who take things like this quite literally, but I’m sorry to say I don’t have a wonderful toothbrush analogy to share, or a vision of how the toothbrush represented something significant. You can feel free to leave a comment. Or maybe not.]

The thing in your hand might be:

  • an email address you can use to get in contact with someone you haven’t heard from in a long time
  • a conversation you can start with the person(s) walking their dog by your house each night after supper
  • a bank balance that’s been untouched by restaurants and recreation that can be used to make a donation to a needy individual or a smaller, underfunded charity
  • a talent for sewing, woodworking, baking, automotive-tinkering, etc., that can be used to bless someone with a physical gift or the gift of your time
  • a Christian book, novel, study resource, sermon audio, DVD, etc., that can be passed on to someone who might enjoy it

and so many other things I could list here.

The writer of Ecclesiastes offers this (9:10)

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.

BibleHub.com notes that Paul echoes this in two passages,

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters – Colossians 3:23

Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. – Romans 12:1

Again, what have you got at your immediate disposal?

We’ll continue this thought tomorrow with a re-broadcast of an article which looks at this verse:

Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.
– Eph 5:16 KJV, NLT

all other scriptures NIV

July 11, 2020

The Faithful Get to Hear, “Well Done!”

at Feeding on Jesus, and this time she’s discussing a verse I’ve found to be very significant. As always, click the header which follows to read this on her blog. Also, if you like audio devotions, the day after this was posted — which is the same day we’re posting the one which follows — she prepared a 16-minute audio meditation based on a different theme.

The Trust in Your Hand

“Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful” (1 Cor. 4:2, NIV).

Have you been given a trust? Yes. Each one of us has. God has put into our hands something that He has asked us to administer. In doing so, He is looking for our faithfulness.

Sometimes we commit the mistake of looking at the trust He has given to someone else… and thinking that we should be doing whatever that person is doing. What she or he is doing looks so much more important!

Let me assure you, there will always be someone doing something that appears to have more reach, more value, more impact, and more significance than what you are doing. To counteract our tendency to fall into the comparison trap, God gave us the parable of the five talents.

Remember how the one man had five talents, the second man had two, and the third man had only one? The master was not expecting the men with one and two talents to come up with five more. On the contrary, he was absolutely overjoyed with the two talents that the second man was able to produce. His joy over the second man was equally as boisterous and overflowing as it was over the first man.

It wasn’t the numerical value of their achievements that caused him to exuberantly rejoice. It was their faithfulness. Both of them heard the same words from his lips: 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! (Matt. 25:21, NIV, emphasis mine).

Let’s think about what this means for you. Does what you are doing with your life seem insignificant to you? Does it seem inconsequential to you than you are able to influence a small circle of people for Jesus? If so, Holy Spirit wants to open your eyes to a new perspective.

Whoever those people are that He has put in your life to impact with His love… that is your “trust” from Him. He is not wishing that you somehow were coming up with a way to be more impressive for Him. His only desire is that you would be faithful with what He has entrusted to you.

Love on that one. Encourage that one. Follow Holy Spirit’s nudges in speaking life to that one. As you do so, your life is making an indelible mark that has infinite, measureless, eternal value. What you have to contribute is incredibly important. It doesn’t matter if it’s two talents, or five, or one. If you have been pushing forward with however many talents He put into your hand, your faithfulness with your trust is bringing enormous joy to your Master’s heart.

Do you notice, in this parable, that He makes reference to that very joy? I love how the Classic Edition of the Amplified Bible expresses this: Enter into and share the joy (the delight, the blessedness) which your master enjoys.” (v. 21).

Daddy God is bursting with joy and delight over your faithfulness. Right now, He is inviting you into that joy. He wants to impart to your heart His pleasure in you, His enjoyment of you. As you steward the trust He has assigned to you, no matter how small it may seem, you overwhelm Him with delight.

In this moment, allow Him to pour into your spirit the revelation of the immense joy He takes in your faithfulness!

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Does your assignment from the Master seem important to you? What is He saying to you about it right now?