Is your hand still in your dish?

Laying in bed, I didn’t want to get up. The sun shone in through my widow, beckoning me to enjoy its warmth outside. And the thought of being outside seemed wonderful, but I didn’t want to get up, get dressed, or do anything before I absolutely had to.

Fast forward an hour or two, I was frantically rushing out of bed, into my work clothes and out the door without barely a thought towards my lack of breakfast. I had wasted my morning because I did not desire to put forth any effort or work into it.

Have you ever behaved this way?

If so, you and I are not alone.

In Proverbs 26:15 we find an example of laziness which sums up the essence of such behavior. “The lazy man buries his hand in the bowl; It wearies him to bring it back to his mouth.”

Think about being so lazy, that you don’t want to give the effort to feed yourself. You might think, “I could never be so lazy!”

But could you?

This is a metaphor for how laziness keeps us from doing the very things which would bring us pleasure, fulfillment, and more out of life.

Do you avoid organizing your living quarters because it would take so much effort?

Do you slack on preparing meals for yourself until the last minute?

Do you skip tasks you know need to get done because you don’t feel like it?

Do you dress yourself out of your hamper instead of your closet or bureau?

Perhaps many of these examples do not apply to you, but do you have unfinished tasks that you are avoiding? Things you know you could do to improve your life, but are slack to do because of the effort.

Imagine if every task you thought of doing had been done. Your work space was organized, your yard was clean, your morning routine was always completed. Think of that book you might have finished, the time you would have to put effort into fulfilling recreation, instead of simply scrolling on your phone, that side business you could have made, those hobbies you could have pursued, that world class vacation you could have take from the proceeds of your book and side business.

Chances are, not all of these are relevant to you. But take a moment and think of where your laziness has brought you. The stress of being late to work. Spending extra money to make up for your lack of time. Those treasured memories of doing absolutely nothing and procrastinating.

Laziness is not your friend.

I challenge you, discipline yourself to improve your life in every area that you can. Banish laziness from your life. Don’t refuse to put forth the effort to nourish yourself spiritually, mentally, or physically. Laziness is knowing exactly what you should be doing, but refusing to be profitable by doing it, for the reason of nothing but your own desire for self gratification.

It’s time we put such a wicked behavior to rest. It’s time we live for God and life for His purpose. We cannot be lazy for God’s glory.  So let us lay it aside.

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31

 

 

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What did you not receive?

Have you ever gotten a compliment on your looks. Perhaps someone said, “You have nice eyes.” Or something like, “Your hair is pretty.” Or something of that nature. Most of the time, when someone is complimented on their looks, they feel good inside. It makes them happy. But let’s pause for a moment. Who was really getting complimented? I mean really? Did they spend years designing their eyes or something? Not really. God’s the one who gets the credit, so there is no reason to take pride in our appearance.

If you think about it, everything is God’s. He made everything and created this entire universe. Our looks were given to us. Our abilities were given to us. The opportunities we have, and the ability to take them, were given to us. Everything was a gift.

In 1 Corinthians 4 Paul warns the church not to be prideful. In the next verse he says, “For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” Basically he says, how are you any different from any other person. What do you have that wasn’t given to you?

Obviously, all of us in this world have received our life, our being, and our entire existence from God. Look around you. There is nothing that you have or ever will have that is not by the grace of God. He provided all for you. So here’s the question, “What makes you different from another?” Why should you ever be puffed up with pride?

I challenge you, no matter how high or low your station may be, do not take evaluate yourself against another, or pride yourself on meaningless things. Realize that all you have has been given to you. You are no better or worse because of station, wealth, or physical appearance. God made you, and He gets the credit for it all.

“For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” – 1 Timothy 6:7

It’s all God’s, He made it out of nothing- He could make it all disappear. Let us give all glory to Him!

Take the path that the world has labeled insane

Contemplate the fact that when God calls you to serve Him, He calls you to deny your own flesh and the entire world system that surrounds to follow Him while changing inwardly to the point of bringing death to your most intimate and base desires. When you realize that, you conclude naturally that you need God’s help in order to follow Him.

In Philippians 2:3, God commands: “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory;”

If we think about what is natural for an unbeliever, and what people without Christ do, we find that almost everything that is done by unbelievers IS done through strive and vain glory.

Worldly people spend their lives complaining, competing, worrying, bragging, arguing, fighting, and living in agitation.

If you live your life constantly looking out for yourself and trying to prove yourself and make sure you get “what you deserve,” then you are living like the world. Your lifestyle is not only one of disobedience, but also one of incredible stress and agitation.

God says, “Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory. . . “

How are we to live then?  We are to live in “lowliness of mind,” while we “esteem other better” than ourselves.  When you’re humble, you don’t have anything to prove. If you consider someone to be better than you, then you aren’t concerned if they think the same. And if you deny your desire for vain glory, and live to see God glorified, then you never need to obsess over whether or not the credit is going where it’s due. God will get all the glory no matter what. Just a side note: Living humbly is living peacefully.

 

Gods’ command to us is to conclude that our benefits, and our comfort, and our pleasure, and our fair share of (whatever we “deserve”) are all inconsequential to the Glory that God deserves. The next few verses in Philippians 2, call us to have the mind of Christ and humble ourselves to the point of death.

Unless you’re facing martyrdom for your faith, I don’t think God is calling you to literally die. It’s a word picture. Think about it, does anybody want to die? Most people want to live. In fact, if a person desires death, they are usually unstable.

God’s calling to us: to deny ourselves, would appear like complete insanity to the world.

In fact, God tells us that, “the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” – 1 Corinthians 1:18

So I challenge you, surrender to the call of humility unto death. Take the path to lowliness that the world has labeled insane. Choose to forfeit your “rights” and live a life of peace and obedience. You can’t do it by yourself, so God has promised to help you. All you must do is decide.

“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” – Philippians 2:13

When’s the last time you doubled your money?

Say your boss gave you a large amount of money, and went on an extended vacation of an indefinite time. He asked you to keep it safe for him. Other than questioning his respectability, what would you do? Keep it safe right? Imagine that at the end of his time away, he asked what you did with the money. You pull it out from your mattress and give it to him, and he responds angrily. “What! You irresponsible employee! Why didn’t you at least put it in the bank so I could get some interest?”

This is, I confess, and extraordinary example, but it is almost exactly like the one found in Matthew 25 and in Luke 19. In those accounts, Jesus was describing the kingdom of heaven. He was, in essence, describing the Christian life and what God expects of us. In the parable, two servants doubled their money and were rewarded, but one servant simply kept it and was judged.

So I pose the above question to you again, “When was the last time you doubled your money?”

The servant in the parable was not expected to simply keep the Lord’s property safe. He was intended to increase it. He was to invest and get gain. This is a parable, and the focus is largely on spiritual things, but I believe it applies to all that God has given to us.

What has God given you?

A good education, a good job, a healthy body. Perhaps he gave you none of those things. Maybe you are uneducated, unemployed, and sick.

What has God given you?

Wherever you are, and whatever your state, God has given you something. You have abilities. You have talents. You can use what you have to glorify Him. Or you can simply hold on to His property and do nothing.

Someday, God will return. He will expect to see that you used His gifts for His gain. What will He find?

In Luke 19:26, Jesus says, “unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.” This verse declares that God will give to those who have produced something with their resources, and God will take from those who do nothing.

I challenge you, don’t use God’s gifts for their minimum value. Invest them. Invest them in His kingdom. Invest them in people. Use your talents for His glory. Take every opportunity. Invest your money wisely for His gain. If we neglect what He has given, we will be guilty, but if we work for God, He will reward us for it.

Let’s prosper for His glory. Let us be as the servants that gained from what they had been given. Then we can hear, as they did,

“Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” – Matthew 25:21

 

Your position, God’s purpose

Have you ever been in a position of power or influence? No matter who you are, you have a position of influence in the world. We may think that positions are given out at random, but I would submit to you that God gives every person their position for a specific purpose. I would like to share with you two examples of men who God raised up for specific purposes.

The first one is Pharaoh. Romans 9:17 tells us, "For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth." God had a specific purpose in giving power to Pharaoh. He wanted to show His power. Pharaoh could have let the Israelites go the first time Moses asked, but he didn’t. In the end, God used Pharaoh’s disobedience to glorify Himself.

The other example is Cyrus. King Cyrus was the king of Persia. We may think that King Cyrus became powerful because he was an epic military leader, but that’s not true. Cyrus says in Ezra 1:2, "The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah." You see, God raised Cyrus up and gave him a great empire. Why? So Cyrus would have the resources to build the Lord a temple in Jerusalem. And guess what! Cyrus, unlike Pharaoh, chose to glorify God through his obedience.

So what position has God ordained you for? I would like to challenge you. No matter what position you have been given in life, seek out God’s will and do it. You may not be a king of a great nation, but God wants to use you just the same. He used a little boy’s lunch in John 6:9. He used a servant girl in 2 Kings 5:2-3. He has given you your place in life for a specific purpose.

Will you seek out that purpose and fulfill it?