An opinion poll was conducted recently with the focus on views and preferences about change. The survey sought to knowhow daring people can be, in moving from a routine exercise to a completely different one, especially with an uncertain result in view. Though it was conducted randomly, the sample population was carefully chosen to represent different groups of people. The topmost response was the concern of possibly incurring loss or misfortune. People were betrayed by their emotions, fearing some nonspecific danger, they chose to back out, rather than give the new exercise a shot.
As I thought about the anxiety displayed by people in this opinion poll, I was disturbed about how they could be so scared of a mission yet to be embarked on. I asked myself the following questions: Would there have been a faster way to travel if the thought of inventing an aeroplane was horrific? Would communication be this easy across great distances if the telephone and internet were so much dreaded that we stuck to the traditional means of sending human or bird messengers? Also, would there be salvation and eternal hope, if Jesus was not willing to die for the world, because He considered the possibility of not having a single person accept him as Saviour, a risk too great?
In this article, I am highlighting three lessons from the lives of few people who saw some manoeuvrings and identified them as opportunities instead of misfortune. The unique commonality was their approach or first moves. They were spontaneous moves devoid of anxiety or apprehension; they were filled with hope, expectation and high optimism.
1.A momentary setback is not an indication of a wrong move
While you are on course, you may experience a setback, challenge or delay; never mind, it does not suggest that the move was wrong. Paul’s missionary work was punctuated with some prison experiences. Some Bible scholars argue that Paul could have avoided at least one of those prison experiences, if he took heed to the warning of Prophet Agabus that he would be bound in Jerusalem. However, his trials and imprisonment afforded him the opportunity of appearing in major palaces in his time, captivating the attention of world rulers who were then kingdom or empire rulers. He witnessed to them the testimony of the good news. In Philippians 1:12-14(MSG) for example, Paul stated“I want to report to you, friends, that my imprisonment here has had the opposite of its intended effect. Instead of being squelched, the Message has actually prospered. All the soldiers here, and everyone else too, found out that I’m in jail because of this Messiah. That piqued their curiosity, and now they’ve learned all about him. Not only that, but most of the Christians here have become far more sure of themselves in the faith than ever, speaking out fearlessly about God, about the Messiah”.
- Consistently affirm and maintain your Vision
The events that led to Joseph becoming the Prime Minister of Egypt started out very dangerously, and filled with life-threatening activities. In Genesis 37:5,when Joseph shared his dream with his parents and his jealous siblings, his siblings hated him the more. As you may be familiar with the story, after he shared two of such dreams of greatness with them, they got enraged and ganged up to kill him. After he was sold into Egypt, Joseph remained unwavering in his faith, and refrained from sinning against God. He was eventually imprisoned then moved to the palace in Genesis chapter 41.
Joseph never mistook the opportunities ahead for a misfortune waiting to unfold. For some others, it may appear to be too risky sharing and affirming such revelations. Even if we are bold to share our vision with others, we may be intimidated to continually affirm what God has revealed to us, especially if we are scolded the first time. But in Joseph, we see a fearless and focused individual who was ready to follow as the Lord leads.
- God will manifest His will when you move (act) in obedience.
In Acts 16: 9-40 (GW), Paul’s obedience to God’s instruction led to an unprecedented move of the spirit with signs and wonders. People gave their lives to Jesus, and the demon possessed was let loose. Though they were thrown into prison after being openly beaten and humiliated, this led to massive conversion of souls through the earthquake experience in the prison where Paul and Silas were jailed. When Paul set out to obey the instruction in the vision at night, he never had the inclination that events were going to turn out such that they will stand before magistrates to witness Christ and convert a soldier with his family.
“During the night Paul had a vision of a man from Macedonia. The man urged Paul, come to Macedonia to help us. As soon as Paul had seen the vision, we immediately looked for a way to go to Macedonia. We concluded that God had called us to tell the people of Macedonia about the Good News… One day when we were going to the place of prayer, a female servant met us. She was possessed by an evil spirit that told fortunes. She made a lot of money for her owners by telling fortunes… Paul became annoyed, turned to the evil spirit, and said, I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her! As Paul said this, the evil spirit left her. When her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone, they grabbed Paul and Silas and dragged them to the authorities in the public square. In front of the Roman officials, they said, these men are stirring up a lot of trouble in our city… The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas. Then the officials tore the clothes off Paul and Silas and ordered the guards to beat them with sticks. After they had hit Paul and Silas many times, they threw them in jail and ordered the jailer to keep them under tight security… Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God. The other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly, a violent earthquake shook the foundations of the jail. All the doors immediately flew open, and all the prisoners’ chains came loose. The jailer woke up and saw the prison doors open. Thinking the prisoners had escaped, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself. But Paul shouted as loudly as he could, “Don’t hurt yourself! We’re all here! The jailer asked for torches and rushed into the jail. He was trembling as he knelt in front of Paul and Silas. Then he took Paul and Silas outside and asked, Sirs, what do I have to do to be saved? They answered, Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you and your family will be saved. They spoke the Lord’s word to the jailer and everyone in his home. At that hour of the night, the jailer washed Paul and Silas’ wounds. The jailer and his entire family were baptized immediately. He took Paul and Silas upstairs into his home and gave them something to eat. He and his family were thrilled to be believers in God…”
When God orchestrates such moves termed ‘risky’ by humans, there is always an expected end, or a future plan; the results are always dumbfounding. Therefore, rather than becloud your mind with the thought of misfortune that may be associated with a nudging by the spirit of God, forcefully advance with the thought of enormous possibilities.
I have on several occasions been stopped on the road by complete strangers who asked, “What do you have for me?” They neither appeared like beggars nor mischief makers. If anything they looked like people who have needs of some sort. They discerned through whatever means that I could be of help. But I must confess with the benefits of hindsight that I blundered and blew away golden opportunities to point needy souls to their saviour. For I later came to realise that may be the people sensed or knew me to be a Christian and felt I could offer some help to their tormented souls or answer some nagging questions.
If only I was…
How might I have known if they were genuine seekers or not? How might I have known if they sense I looked different from all the multitudes they met that day? How might I have known if they thought they found someone who has something of substance to offer? Oh if I was a little more discerning that I was meeting needy souls. If only I was not too hasty in putting them off. If only I was not overcautious. If only I was a bit more patient to listen to their silent pleas. If only… Maybe I could have made a difference in their lives. How do I know? From my insensitive response I see an understanding disappointment in their eyes as we part. I see a look that says, “This one too doesn’t have an answer to my problem.”
Peter and John were different
We read in Acts 3:1-11, the business taking Peter and John to the temple was different from what they met on the way. The encounter with the lame man at the gate was not planned. But they were sensitive. They were patient to give attention to a begging lame man. They had time to respond to the man. To them listening to the poor beggar and meeting a need in his life was equally an important act of worship as going into the temple to pray. Their response to the man was beautiful.
The man got healing, more than he expected when so to speak he asked Peter and John, “What do you have for me?” He was expecting money. Peter and John gave him not money but what they had –The evidence of power in the name of Jesus Christ – healing. The man got up healed and started praising God. That is it. Their Lord had earlier taught them “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
They ask everyday
There are many people asking in one way or the other “What do you have for me?” What do we have for them? Christ? Can we be patient to give them Christ as their very real need?
It is ironical that people spent their lives not knowing what their real need is. They run from pillar to post and from dawn to dusk dissipating energy, getting tensed and stressed up plus high blood pressure. It is all about what they feel they need to make life worth living. Here the lame man might have thought money was all he needed to live. Those who brought him, and maybe he himself must have concluded and felt he needed the pittance from people to live because of his disability. As it always turns out to be, a man seals his destiny by whatever he says to himself. In this case the man might have said, ‘I am a cripple’ and the people agree he is cripple enough to depend on handouts. His was looking like sealed hope and destiny as they brought him daily to the temple gate to beg for alms. It was the pittance the man expected from Peter and John as usual.
The Real Need
But that day was not to be business as usual. Peter and John saw his needs differently. Instead of seeing the man’s felt needs they saw his real need. The man felt he needed money they thought he needed the touch of God. In order words the man needed to experience Christ who gives meaning to life. This was evidence in the man’s joyful reactions after the healing. Recall that:
- The man followed them walking, jumping and praising God.
- The people saw him walking and praising God.
- They were filled with wonder at what happened
That the man’s real need was to experience Jesus (through His healing power), is also seen in Peter’s emphasis to those who thought he did something extra ordinary. He addressed neither the man nor the miracle that was performed on him. He shifted the focus to the Christ.
“When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus… By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see. (Acts 3:12-13, 16)
The apostle had Jesus- the real need of the lame man. They gave him Jesus when he asked them “What do you have for me?” When he got Jesus through the healing power that is in His name the man praised God not the apostles.
Christ is the real need people have. Yet He remains the need most misunderstood, most unknown and most unsought for.
All felt needs, once met continue to be needed. They never satisfy and yet they sap our energies all through. People spend time and money and yet continue to want more. The more they want the more they feel disillusioned if there is an end to it all. But Jesus the real need of the world satisfies through and thorough. He told the woman at the well,
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14)
The average person on the street is a ‘walking need’ waiting to be met somewhere sometime. The blank looks in most people’s eyes are actually asking, “What do have for me?” Jesus is all they need though most will not admit so because they do not know. But through our sensitivity we can say, “This you ask for but Jesus Christ we give you rise up and be free from bondage to felt needs and those things the enemy said you need to make life worth living”.
Many are watching and waiting expectantly. They are asking, “What do you have for us?” May our actions and words as Christians all say to the expecting needy world, “Silver or gold we do not have, but what we have we give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and live the real life.”
-Namani J Nharrel
…this is a continuation from last week article titled ‘It is not in vain.’
At some point in time, one or more people must have prayed, pursued and persuaded men to forsake their evil ways and turn to righteous living. Some might have died without seeing them repent. Some might have given up, discouraged as they saw these men go deeper in their sinful acts and wickedness. But in their dying hours, the two men remembered that Jesus is the way to eternal life and they made it right with God by putting their trust in Jesus. The dying sorcerer remembered there was life after death. He remembered that pastors show people the way to heaven. The criminal couldn’t have learnt those words of faith on the cross; but possibly from his parents, a rabbi as a growing Jewish boy or from the synagogue and the temple as an adult; until he derailed somewhere into criminality. But in the face of death, he remembered something like:
- The fear of God
- The just punishment for apprehended criminals
- The kingdom of God
- That Jesus has the power to admit into the kingdom
- Thatcalling on Jesus can admit one into the Kingdom
He remembered all this because he must have at one time or the other heard them preached or taught. Though his life contrasted what he knew about the kingdom, he remembered and appropriated them when the time came. Jesus accepted him instantly without giving a thought to his sinful wasted past. So also did He accept the sorcerer who once publicly despised God’s supremacy.
It is Never in Vain
Parents, teachers and ministers of the word labour to bring children and adults to Christ. Sometime they meet with frustrations and disappointments. Some preachers write off some sinners as impossible candidates of the kingdom. Such should be encouraged that their labours are never in vain even if results are not seen immediately. Keep at it. Proclaim it anyhow and demonstrate it by all means. You never know when the seed you plant will germinate and yield results. There will be surprises in heaven.
It is never too late
The Bible for sure warns in Heb 3:12-16
“Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end…”
It goes on to exhort “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”
So no one should be encouraged to postpone putting his faith in Christ till dying moments. Many may not have the opportunity to call on Jesus before death as the sorcerer and the thief had. Nevertheless, Jesus accepts anyone that comes to him at any point in time and the way they are. Let no one hinder or discourage a willing soul from making amends in their last days.
As proclaimers of the gospel, we only open the door to heaven with the key (gospel) that is given but we are not the gate keepers deciding which specific individuals enter. We don’t decide when, how and where the seed we scatter will germinate.
At the blast of the trumpet, many Christians will rise from non-Christian graves. Let us be encouraged by Paul’s admonition,
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:58)
Just ponder on this
We may be working in hard places or with difficult persons, never give up. Results will always come but may not be the way we expect. The criminal did not expect to be saved but suddenly remembered what someone sometime in the past said about the kingdom. Now in case you want to give up on a person or a group of people just ask yourself, “What would have happened if Jesus had tried proving a point by coming down from the cross as the mocking party wanted him to?”
The destiny of many people hang on our being on that cross we carry. When God wants to work in the lives of the people you’ve laboured on, it will never be too late.
-Namani J Nharrel
|The Boastful Sorcerer
“Whether God likes it or not, I must sleep in my house today.” That was to show his disregard for God and dependence on his magical powers as a sorcerer. With that, he set to return to his village against his host’s plea to sleep over the night since it was late to trek in the dangerous forested and hilly terrain in the dark. Indeed, he reached his village very late that night. But some few metres away from his house, a snake bit him.
He fell down, groaning in pain and helpless. Neighbours heard him, came out and met him sprawling. They carried him immediately to a hospital in a nearby town where he spent the rest of the night and more days. After his discharge, he continued in his wicked acts; destroying and helping people destroy others with his sorcery.
Much later, he became terminally sick. He sent for the local Pastor. Unfortunately the pastor had travelled out. The sickness worsened by the day that he couldn’t talk nor get out of bed. The pastor returned and learnt of the sorcerer’s call and went immediately to see him. Surprisingly, the man spoke on seeing the pastor. He asked to be helped sit on the bed. Without wasting time, he told the pastor that he wanted to follow Jesus. The pastor led him to believe in Christ. The man died that night and went to be with the Lord…
Early the next day, the church bell rang in a way that told a Christian had died. People wondered, who? When told it was the sorcerer; they wondered, how? When did he become a Christian? Some asked if God will admit such a man into heaven. Even at the graveside, some whispered in small groups of ‘the strange development’ – a sorcerer being accorded a Christian funeral service. Some felt the pastor did not know what he was doing even after learning that the man became a Christian the previous day. Someone sarcastically remarked, “Those who believe that making heaven is by luck might be right after all- otherwise how could they say that this wicked man is in heaven now?”
This is what one of my missionary colleagues called “an unexpected escape to heaven”.
Like the Thief on the Cross
In the crucifixion account of Jesus, Luke 23:32-41 states that, “Two others, both criminals, were led out to be executed with him. Finally, they came to a place called The Skull. All three were crucified there — Jesus on the center cross, and the two criminals on either side”.
The one on the left joined the mocking party. He challenged, ‘… “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself — and us, too, while you’re at it!”
But the one on the right protested and countered,
“…Don’t you fear God even when you are dying? We deserve to die for our evil deeds, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.”
Then he made an unexpected but strategic request that swiftly changed his destiny
“…Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”
Even in pains Jesus remained true to his word, when he said in John 6:37,
“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.”
He granted the man’s request immediately,
“…I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Like the thief on the cross who made it to heaven because he trusted Jesus while dying on the cross, the sorcerer if he truly trusted Christ for his salvation made it to heaven the day he trusted and died.
How and why both made it to even is not for us to debate. Rather, it is for us to be encouraged that God’s word proclaimed and demonstrated by any means will someday lead someone to Christ and to rejoice that people get saved when we don’t expect.
Of course, believing in Jesus is the only way people make it right with God. They believe when they hear the message preached.
“Yet faith comes from listening to this message of good news — the Good News about Christ (Roman 10:17)
So did the sorcerer and the thief hear enough to get them saved?
We will look at this critically next week.
Have a wonderful week.
– Namani J Nharrel
Christians must learn make Christ the centre of their lives and ministries. They must learn to focus attention of all to Christ and no other. They must teach that life is all about him.
John the Baptist’s outlook and attitude to life and ministry was that they were all about Jesus. Short of which life has no meaning and ministry makes no sense. He teaches us that:
- Knowing who we really are and who Jesus is and relating with him and ministering on the basis of that knowledge is the essence of our existence. Obviously true knowledge of His person puts him first before anything that we can ever aspire to be in life. Once we mix the order by swapping positions with Christ, we will have identity crisis in life and ministry.
- Knowing our subject well gives power to our testimony. Here Jesus is the subject of life and ministry. John the Baptist knew Him very well. He called him, the Lamb of God, the one who takes away the sins of the world and, the son of God. It is what we know about Jesus that we tell others. What and how we say about Jesus depends on what we know. Cultivating a deep relationship with Him is key in knowing him. The closer we are, the more we know him and the better we can testify about him to the world.
- Knowing our limits enhances our effectiveness. We have not been called to do everything in ministry. Let us not enter into a ministry that does not belong to us. John knew he was a voice calling in the desert. He knew he was called to baptise with water. He equally knew it was Jesus prerogative to baptise with the Holy Spirit.
- Knowing where to direct people’s attention reduces the temptation to call same to ourselves. John the Baptist knew to say, “This is the Lamb of God,” or, “This is the Son of God”. Whatever people thought to make of him he knew to equivocally say, ‘I am not the Christ”. If what we are or do is all about Christ then all the attention should be directed to him. He alone should be given all the honour, the glory and the praises for our successes in life and ministry. We exist to reveal the person of Christ to the world; not to project ourselves or ministry over and above Him. Neither should we block people’s view from seeing Christ with our ambition for renown even if people think we should be made known.
- Knowing that satisfaction and true joy comes from doing what heaven has assigned to us. It isn’t that we decide what in life or ministry makes us feel good. Strictly speaking, ministry is not about personal enjoyment. It is about God deriving pleasure from what we are and what we do. However, satisfaction here talks about contentment and finding joy that our call is from heaven no matter the circumstances surrounding us. It is the satisfaction that is glad to let Jesus be in the limelight and go back to sleep soundly that Jesus took all the glory for my efforts and successes.
- Knowing and consciously accepting that this life and ministry is not all about my personal gain. I therefore should not strive to compete or manipulate others to gain an upper hand over them. I should not fight or bring others down to be known as a great man of God. I should not scheme or stage-manage being in the limelight. John the Baptist understood the central position Jesus occupies in his life. He gave what should be a check to any Christian or servant of God that might want to project himself above Christ. “He must become greater and I must become less”. This should be the motto of all who truly and humbly follow and serve Christ.
If all we live for is about Christ, then let us make conscious effort to reveal him indeed. Let us not become like the tourist guide who after leading people to view magnificent works of arts in a gallery was no longer satisfied being just a guide but began to stand between the art and the people. The people soon got irritated because they had come to see the art works and not the guide. If people were to ask like they told Phillip “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” (John 12:21). Would you take them to him and then step aside for them to view Jesus fully or would you stand between Him and them, telling what a great servant of God you are? Remember: It is all about him. Will you let him be greater and you fade into nothing?
Namani J Nharrel
|In ministry, all we need is to be faithful in whatever God has entrusted to us. Heaven will demand an account from us for what He assigned to us. However knowing that my brother’s ministry is also assigned from heaven would require:
That John the Baptist did not deceive himself nor kept anyone in doubt about his person or the nature of his ministry even if his disciples thought to exalt him to a position he did not attain or merit is a lesson for us to learn. He did not give a second thought when the disciples told him about Jesus and the crowd he was pulling. He quickly deflected the attention back to Christ. He earlier told people who he was not and who he was. Of himself he said:
In comparison with Christ, John the Baptist didn’t think himself anything. Yet this same man was the very one our Lord told the crowd “…of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John the Baptist” (Matt 11:11).
Just as John the Baptist had a right view of his person and ministry he also had a proper understanding of the person and ministry of Christ both in their global context and in relation to his own life and ministry. He might as well have told his disciples, that man you saw baptising and people trooping to him is the very reason I exist and minister. ‘You yourselves can testify that I said that I am not the Christ but I am sent ahead of him’ He exalted Jesus in the following words:
The purpose for which John was sent was to reveal Jesus to Israel. He was contented with that and sought no more. He was satisfied being a mere helper of Christ. When it came to comparing him with Christ he had only one desire, “He must increase, but I must decrease”(John 3:30).
P.S. Watch out for the concluding part.
-Namani J Nharrel
|An eagle traversed the land hovering over hills and valleys and finally landed at a river bank with a sound of triumph that seemed to say, ‘I have found at last…’. Then a voice says, “It is all about you”. That was in an advert of a Nigerian mobile telephone company. The message: The Company values its customers to undertake all the pains to reach them.
There is a philosophy almost a religion that says life is all about man. Adherents believe all endeavours should have the pleasures of man as the ultimate goal. This belief system has its adverse moral and social consequences. People get into trouble because they want life to revolve around them for the pleasures they desire through possessions, positions, or powers they think they ought to have. Check it- All the hearts aches, the infighting in families and communities and even wars are forms of protests about real or perceived injustices, denials and deprivations of some rights and benefits. James says it all.
“What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Isn’t it the whole army of evil desires at war within you? You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous for what others have, and you can’t possess it, so you fight and quarrel to take it away from them. And yet the reason you don’t have what you want is that you don’t ask God for it. And even when you do ask, you don’t get it because your whole motive is wrong — you want only what will give you pleasure”.
Man-centered doctrine unfortunately has come and become the irritation in the church of Christ today. Its teachings portray God existing for man’s pleasure instead of man existing for God’s pleasure. John the Baptist was a man who understood that it is rather man existing for the pleasure of the Divine. His disciples saw Jesus baptising. Apparently they were not comfortable about that development. They reported it to John the Baptist. There were two concerns in their report.
They implied therefore that:
John’s response was instructive as it was very humbling. He did not feel jittery if Jesus was taking over his ministry nor bothered if Jesus was becoming more popular than him. He told them, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said,’ I am not the Christ,’ but,’ I have been sent before Him.’ (John 3:27-28). He not only affirmed the ministry of Jesus, but reaffirmed the person of Jesus and made clear his own person and the role he came to play in the ministry of Jesus. “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven,” says,
John the Baptist was therefore saying both Jesus’ ministry and his were given by God. He did in essence remind them too that his own life and ministry were about Jesus succeeding in His ministry. He had testified and drawn attention to Jesus when He came on the scene.
-Namani J. Nharrel
|How would you feel if you received an e-mail informing you that you have been chosen to be the personal assistant to Bill gates or better still Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook (be sure it is not “yahoo boys” anyway lol)? I am sure you would be filled with joy. You would be working with one of the richest people in the whole world. You would go about shoulders high, with an extra bounce to your walk, looking forward to when you are to resume and discharge your duties.
Do you know you have been called to a greater work than being the personal assistant to billionaires? 2 Cor 6:1 says we as co-labourers with God. Wow!!! What an awesome privilege to be a co-labourer with God. Also 2 Cor 4:1 says it was when we received mercy (salvation) that we were given the ministry. Every single believer has been called into ministry. It reads, ‘Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.’
2 Cor 5:17 is a very popular verse talking about whosoever is in Christ is a new creature (i.e. salvation) but verses 18 and verse 19 are as important as 17. It says in verse 18: ‘Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, AND HAS GIVEN US the ministry of reconciliation. Verse 19: that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and HAS COMMITTED TO US the word of reconciliation.
With the salvation package comes ministry which is a partnership business between yourself and God. No wonder Jesus said, ‘Don’t you know I have to be at my Father’s business?’ In Matt 9:35-38 Jesus told his disciples to pray the father that he might send labourers into his vineyard for the harvest is plenty. Friends, that prayer was answered in redemption. We believers (every single one of us) have been made able ministers of the new covenant, able to work in the vineyard of God.
Don’t wait till you are “called”. If you are a Christian at all, then you are called. In fact, the meaning of church is ‘the called-out ones’. So, why do you think you are not called? Eph 4:11-12 clearly states that the job of the pastors, evangelists, etc is to prepare the church for the WORK OF THE MINISTRY.
So I say unto you: just as you would be so excited and quickly get working with Bill Gates or Zuckerberg, so also get working with the greatest being in the universe, the one who created all things, including the billionaires. Resume your duty today by reconciling men back to God because He reconciled you in Christ back unto Himself. YOU ARE CALLED!
Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is sit sown at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2
No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. II Timothy 2:4
Truth is if you have nothing worth dying for, you really have nothing worth living for.
The life of a soldier is such a one that perfectly exemplifies that; it requires total commitment till the point of death. Indeed, if you desire a thing so desperately, your passion must exceed the price you may need to pay to acquire it. Now wonder the death and resurrection of Christ is so aptly described as ‘the passion of Christ’.
Furthermore, a man enlisted indicates he has bought into the vision and substance of his master. He is no longer his own. He has been bought.
Let these words of Jesus – “nevertheless not my will but thine will be done” (Luke 22:42) be our stay and comfort as we deploy ourselves to the master’s work.
– gideon gbeja
I was privileged to be part of the team that recently travelled to a mission field in Dukawa Land (a remote area of Niger State, Nigeria) for the commissioning of the classrooms Christ Lifeline built for the missionary school in the village. I will forever be grateful to God for that trip because it opened my eyes to see and my mind to understand why many Christians live an ordinary life and die as one; why many keep pursuing worldly things and never attain or find fulfilment in them.
It’s the kind of trip I sincerely wish you would undergo next week or sometime soon because it will definitely have a lasting positive impact on your life. For instance, do you know that there are many remote areas where the gospel has not reached? Do you know there are some tribes in Nigeria that doesn’t wear clothes till today? May be I also have to let you know that there are missionaries (very few though) who search out and locate some of these ‘unreached’ areas and commit their lives to preaching the gospel to them. They have to live among them, learn their language and culture, eat their food, drink their water, etc. No electricity, no treated water or any social amenity. They chose to deny themselves of the pleasures of this world for their love for the Master. Some went along with their families; some were rejected by their immediate family because of their decision to work for the Lord. Some refused/could not get married because of their commitment to the work. All these are what my eyes saw at the trip. Oh! I almost forgot to tell you that these missionaries do not receive salaries like some of our pastors in the city do. They depend on the faithful God to supply all their needs!
I also saw people who are living in abject poverty, idolatry, sufferings and without Christ (to live without Christ is to live without hope). I saw children looking malnourished, women being treated like slaves and men living miserable lives. They all need salvation, love, and health care. In fact, I am advising you use your next vacation to go to a mission field, visit a rural area and I can assure you that life will make a new meaning to you.
We have a collective responsibility to reach out to unbelievers around us and also support those reaching the ‘unreached’ areas. We should support the missionaries on the fields spiritually and financially (Colossians 4:3). Always remember them in your prayers. Always support them with your money and other resources. If we do not take these things into cognisance, our lives may not be far from the ordinary.
The primary reason you are here is not to make money, build business empires, get married, raise children, do whatever you like and eventually die. Life is far more than all of that. Life is all about God, you are living for Him because He gave you that life in the first instance. When you realise that the reason you are still alive is to do the work of God, then you will be able and willing to do it with joy and will never again give excuses about your work, family, or business. You will then begin to experience steady peace, overflowing joy and a fulfilled life.
Spend your life on what really counts at the end of the day. Partner with the Lord in His work.
– segun eshorun