Sharing More Than Stuff
By: Peter Chin
Bible in a Year:
Your people will be my people and your God my God.
“But I don’t want to share!” wailed my youngest child, brokenhearted that he would have to part with even one of his many LEGO pieces. I rolled my eyes at his immaturity, but truthfully, this attitude is not limited to children. How much of my own life, and really all of human experience, is marked by a stubborn resistance to freely and generously give to others?
As believers in Jesus, we’re called to share our very lives with one another. Ruth did just that with her mother-in-law, Naomi. As a destitute widow, Naomi had little to offer Ruth. And yet Ruth connected her own life to her mother-in-law’s, vowing that they would press on together and that not even death would separate them. She said to Naomi, “Your people will be my people and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16). She freely and generously gave to the older woman—showing love and compassion.
While sharing our lives in this way can be difficult, we should remember the fruit of such generosity. Ruth shared her life with Naomi, but later she bore a son, the grandfather of King David. Jesus shared His very life with us, but was then exalted and now reigns at the right hand of the Father in heaven. As we generously share with one another, we can be confident that we will experience greater life still!
Corn in Egypt
By: Charles Spurgeon
“Now when Jacob saw that there was corn in Egypt, Jacob said unto his sons, Why do ye look one upon another? And he said, Behold, I have heard that there is corn in Egypt: get you down thither, and buy for us from thence; that we may live, and not die.” Genesis 42:1,2
Suggested Further Reading: Matthew 13:24-34
God in his wisdom has made the outward world, so that it is a strange and wonderful picture of the inner world. Nature has an analogy with grace. The wonders that God does in the heart of man, each of them finds a parallel, a picture, a metaphor, an illustration, in the wonders which God performs in providence. It is the duty of the minister always to look for these analogies. Our Saviour did so. He is the model preacher: his preaching was made up of parables, pictures from the outer world, accommodated to teach great and mighty truths. And so is man’s mind constituted, that we can always see a thing better through a picture than in any other way. If you tell a man a simple truth, he does not see it nearly so well as if you told it to him in an illustration. If I should attempt to describe the flight of a soul from sin to Christ, you would not see it one half so readily as if I should picture John Bunyan’s pilgrim running out of the city of destruction, with his fingers in his ears, and hastening with all his might to the wicket gate. There is something tangible in a picture, a something which our poor flesh and blood can lay hold of; and therefore the mind, grasping through the flesh and the blood, is able to understand the idea, and to appropriate it. Hence the necessity and usefulness of the minister always endeavouring to illustrate his sermon, and to make his discourse as much as possible like the parables of Jesus Christ.
For meditation: How observant are you? The world around us is always teaching us lessons and underlining the truths of God’s Word (Matthew 6:26-30; Mark 13:28,29; Romans 1:20; 1 Corinthians 11:14,15).
The Glory That Follows
From: Ray Stedman
After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them.Mark 9:2
A remarkable event! There are four dramatic occurrences in this account that immediately capture our attention: First, there is the glorious change in the person of the Lord Himself: Suddenly, as they were with Jesus there on that mountain, His countenance altered. His face began to shine, His garments became white, and His whole being radiated glory. What happened to Jesus? We can only understand this when we see that what He did was to slip back into eternity, in a sense, back into his pre-human glory. It is evident therefore that our Lord did not have to die. That is one of the meanings of the transfiguration. It makes clear that He had no reason to pass through death. He could step back across the boundary of time into eternity without passing through death.
The second thing that grips us is the account of the heavenly visitors, Moses and Elijah. The disciples seemed to have no difficulty at all in recognizing instantly who these men were. Jesus did not say,
Now, Peter, James, and John, I’d like you to meet Moses and Elijah. No, they knew instantly who they were. There will be no need for introductions in glory.
The third element of great interest in this account is the proposal that Peter makes. After hearing these men discussing these strange events together, Peter, in his usual manner, interrupts:
Master, it is good for us to be here. This is tremendous! Let’s make three booths and live here. Let’s settle down here and make this our world headquarters. We’ll make one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. He evidently has in mind that they would transform that mountain into the headquarters for the worldwide reformation movement that was going to start. They would operate right from that mountain, as the center of all activity. That shows how foolish he was and how little he understood what Jesus had been trying to tell him. Someone has said that there are only two kinds of speakers: those who have something to say, and those who have to say something! Peter was someone who just had to say something. So he makes this proposal that they make this their headquarters for a great campaign to take over the world.
But he scarcely had gotten the words out when he was interrupted, and the fourth dramatic event occurred. Suddenly they were overshadowed with a cloud. It is my conviction that it was the identical cloud mentioned in the Old Testament, which hovered over the tabernacle during the day–the glory of God, called the shekinah. They heard a voice speaking out of the cloud saying,
This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him. There is no doubt that this is a correction of Peter’s brash statement. The Father Himself is saying,
Peter, do not put Jesus on a par with Moses and Elijah. You listen to Him. He is the one of whom Moses and Elijah spoke. He is the one who fulfilled all the predictions of the prophets and the sacrifices of the law. Listen to Him; this is my beloved Son.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day.” 2 Timothy 4:7-8 NASB
To observers, Eric Liddell clearly was an outstanding athlete. He was born on this day in 1902 in China, where his parents were missionaries. When he was five, his family returned to their native Scotland, where he competed in countless contests, consistently winning. His skills were so extraordinary that he was named to the Olympic team in 1924. Many expected him to contend for a medal.
His plans changed when the preliminary races for his best event in those Olympics were scheduled for Sunday, July 6. This day presented no complications for most athletes. Even those with strong Christian commitments might have been willing to race on Sunday in this once-in-a-lifetime event.
But Liddell would not compromise. So while others competed in a race for which he had trained his whole life, Liddell was preaching in a Paris church.
He was able to compete in other events, winning the bronze medal in the 200-meter sprint and the gold in the 400-meter race. But his testimony has endured and provided a powerful example.
In 1924, Liddell returned to China, where he devoted his life to missionary work. He had the right priorities and made his life count for God.
Today, think about your priorities. What are you doing with your time, talent, and treasure? Is your focus on earthly rewards? Or are you focusing on God’s Kingdom?
Do not compromise. Make a total commitment to God. Make your life count for eternity.
Father, help me to have the right priorities. I dedicate my life and everything I have to You. Use me to impact lives for Your Kingdom. In Jesus’ name. Amen.