Every Bit Counts
We love our joint Harvest/Bible School graduation days — the climax of ten weeks of blending Word and Spirit together in the context of on-the-ground missions. Twice a year we bring in new students and pastors from the remotest bush, along with eager students from all nations of the world who are as zealous for missions and immersed in God as possible.
We love, laugh, and worship together, then head for our local village and the deep bush to seek the lost and see them saved. These are some of the most forgotten people on earth.
As much as possible, we bring cultures together — black and white, east and west, rich and poor. We are a cross-section of the Body of Christ. We want to see it function as it should, every person contributing their gifts from God.
It never ceases to amaze me how Jesus’ Body works. No one has nothing to bring to the table. No one has no gifts. Everyone has something they can bring. Whether that something is small, unseen, and seemingly insignificant or very visible and obvious is neither here nor there. It is irrelevant in God’s Kingdom. All that matters is the whole, diverse, glorious Body working together, each part doing its bit to achieve God’s greater purposes.
Some have the task of carrying gear, setting up the sound system, making sure everything is working, while others have the privilege of sharing the message of God’s grace with the assembled crowd. Some cook or pass out food, while others minister and pray. Various expressions of service to Jesus work together to accomplish His purposes that day.
Never feel that what you have to contribute is too small, not enough, insignificant. It’s not. What you have is needed. Without it, other parts of the Body struggle to function. Bring your offering to Jesus and allow Him to multiply it.
“Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.” (Romans 12:4-5 NLT)
The Forgotten Vital Organ
By: Kathern Britton, crosswalk.org
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. – Proverbs 18:21
I have decided that many, many medical textbooks are wrong. Each and every one of them has actually left out a vital organ. Yes, they’ve remembered the heart and the brain and even that strange thing called a pancreas (I know it’s important, I just forget why sometimes). But look through the books all you want, and you’ll find not one mention of the most obvious vital organ of all: the tongue.
Then again, I myself often choose to ignore the importance of the tongue. I’d rather not believe it has “the power of life and death.” I’d like to pretend my tongue is more like an appendix or a gall bladder – easy to forget about because it’s not that important – but that’s just not the case. Snapping at my family when I’m tired, nagging, and complaining all release a poison from my tongue that works its way through my whole being (James 3:6). Not only that, I infect others with my attitudes and motivations. I begin to spread a disease.
Contrast that with the “words of the wise,” as Proverbs says many times. Their words heal and strengthen as they spread encouragement, wisdom, peace, and the Gospel message. Oh, and – get this – the wise actually use their tongues less than other people. The more powerful the tongue, the less it needs to be used. It’s like the heart of a well-trained athlete – when someone is really in shape, the beats per minute actually decrease as the heart becomes more and more efficient. In the same way, why don’t I condition my tongue to speak fewer words with more meaning?
In Genesis 1, God spoke into the darkness, and there was light. Those “mere words” created something from nothing, showing the power of speaking out. My pastor in college told us that this verse had meaning for us, too, since we are created in God’s image. We are meant to speak out and bring light from the darkness as He did. That’s the power of the tongue in a crazy world. The question is whether we choose to speak light or just add to the darkness.
That little muscle called the tongue holds the power of life and death. That’s no small matter. So let’s be careful how we exercise it.
Jesus knew what it was like to live with limited resources, to have others question His actions (Mark 3:21), and to be rejected by those He sought to serve (John 6:66). Yet in spite of such opposition, He didn’t let circumstances affect His trust in the Father.
We’re called to follow Jesus’ example by believing that God is able to do what He’s promised. For instance, Hebrews 7:25 assures salvation for whoever requests forgiveness in the name of Jesus—His death on the cross satisfied the demands of divine justice for all our sins. God will pardon everybody who has genuine faith in His Son and will make each one a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). No matter what trouble someone may have caused, the Lord invites that person to draw near in faith and receive the gift of everlasting life.
God also promises to establish in truth everyone who trusts in Him (Rom. 16:25). Through His Spirit and the Word, we start to see things as our Father does, which helps us understand what pleases Him.
By believing God keeps His promises, we grow stronger in our faith and gain peace. Hardships that would once have thrown us off course lose their power. Hope replaces discouragement, and trust overcomes doubt. Next time trouble comes, focus on God’s promises and ability to care for you.
I have noticed something else in life that is useless. Here is someone who lives alone … yet he is always working … This is useless, too – and a miserable way to live.” – Ecclesiastes 4:7-8 GNT
Many people devote their lives to gaining possessions, believing that things will increase their satisfaction. Some of these people are workaholics. For them, more is never enough.
Ecclesiastes described a person like this. Yes, he gained wealth, but he was “always working” and “never satisfied” (v. 8). He lived alone and did not share his time or resources with anyone else. Ecclesiastes was right. What “a miserable way to live”!
We should be content with what we have. “It is better to have only a little, with peace of mind” (v. 6). Jesus taught that a key to be satisfied was to “hunger and thirst for righteousness” (Matthew 5:6). Doing what is right brings a satisfaction having more stuff cannot match.
The Bible also reminds us that we cannot find joy, fulfillment, or satisfaction by hoarding possessions. To receive the maximum blessings, we must share with others. We need to invest the resources God gives us.
The principle of giving is critical to every area: finances, health, relationships, careers, and our spiritual lives. People around you may focus on wealth or possessions. The world may encourage you to spend more, to buy more. But the Bible teaches the blessings of giving and sharing with others.
Ask God to help you be a more giving person. Seek opportunities to share with what He has given you. As Jesus taught, “Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8 NKJV).