Whose Job Is It?

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The Christian singing group, Acappella, sings a song called Everybody Said. The song (lyrics below) is performed in a humorous manner with a Jamaican accent, but it reveals a very sad truth among Christians. There are so many good works that need to be done in our world for the Kingdom of God but it seems that everyone expects someone else to do them. At what point does it become your own responsibility? So often, Christians look around, see things that need to be done, and then say, “Someone ought to take care of that,” while never being willing to take action themselves.

It is all too common that people within the church will expect the paid staff or the elders and deacons to take care of all of the work done by the church. Certainly, the ministers, elders and deacons should be doing the work of the church, but the Bible does not limit good Christian works to only ministers, elders and deacons. According to James, it is the responsibility of every Christian to go around doing good.

James writes, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27 NIV) He goes on to say, “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (James 2:14-17 NIV)

Doing good is also not limited to caring for the orphaned or widowed; although these are mighty acts. There are plenty of people who are sick and in need of a visit. There are Bible classes that need to be taught. There is someone who needs a ride to church or perhaps to the doctor. There is a lawn that needs to be mowed or a couch that needs to be moved. There are even those that are in need of money to put gas in the car so that they can simply get their kids to school.

We are all busy. Everyone has a job, or kids, or ailing parents, or chores. However, it’s not about being busy. It’s about seeing a need in somebody or in the church or in the community and showing your love for Christ by showing your love to others. Christ has called the faithful to a higher standard; a standard that is worthy of the cross. How is it possible to accept the cross of Christ yet reject the opportunity to serve others in His name?

There is a list of deeds which you have done in faithfulness to God. Does your list contain several pages or only a line or two? When the day comes that Christ returns to take the faithful home to be with him, may you hear the sweet words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

“As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” (James 2:26 NIV)

Everybody Said by Acappella

Chorus:
Everybody said that anybody could do
The important things somebody should do
Everybody knows that anybody could do
All the good things that nobody did

Well the preacher came to me and said what I ought to do
If I wanted to make my religion true
He’d do it himself but he really didn’t have the time
He said that the duty was mine

Repeat Chorus

Well the deacon came by and said give me a hand
If you want to be going to the promised land
Here is something that I don’t have time to do
So I better give it to you

Repeat Chorus

Well I’m too busy so I tell everybody
The work’s got to get done by somebody
It can be done by anybody
But nobody (nobody), nobody (nobody), nobody did

Repeat Chorus

All the good things that nobody did

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Faith Through the Storm

This has been a particularly difficult week. Certain events have taken place which have caused people to examine their faith in the Almighty Creator. It seems that anytime particularly difficult times arise, the question is asked, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” The simple answer is that we are human and we live in a world which is fading away, however, that answer just doesn’t seem to provide much comfort.

In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:45 NIV) It becomes immediately clear that God does not play favorites. Later we find James stating, “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone.” (James 1:13 NIV) We, as humans, are sometimes so quick to blame God for the difficulties in our life.

So, if good and evil befall both the righteous and the unrighteous, then how are we to respond to the calamities of life? James says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4 NIV)

God does not cause storms to happen but he does expect us to weather them. When we keep our eyes focused on God through the storm, we will come out on the other side stronger and more convicted in our faith.

We are so blessed to have a Father who holds his hand outstretched, straining to grab hold of our shattered lives. “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1 NIV)

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Trivial Bickering

As a parent, I get so frustrated when my kids argue over who had what toy or who gets to climb into the car first. I really don’t care who had the toy first or who gets in the car first. I just want my kids to get along and to live in harmony with each other. It seems that my kids actually find themselves in trouble more often for fighting with each other over trivial things than they do for “breaking the rules”.

I often wonder if God weeps when his children bicker over issues that are of no relevance to His Kingdom. The list is so long! The color of the carpet, worship time and format, too many new songs (or old songs), doilies in the communion bread tray, individual pieces of cracker or one large piece, décor of the church building, and the list just goes on and on and on. In fact, so much time is spent arguing over these things that there is little time left for visiting the sick or saving the lost!

As children of God, we have a higher calling. We are called to praise God, to share the good news of Christ to the world and to care for the downtrodden. Why do we waste our energies arguing over so many things that will do nothing for our salvation, and in fact, will only aide Satan in getting a foothold in our life? The world does not want to be a part of a group of Christians who do nothing but fight over trivialities. It’s time to re-evaluate what matters to God and work to accomplish those goals. If it is not a matter of the soul of a man, then it does not matter to our Father.

“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation…” (Philippians 2:14-15 NIV)

Where Does Honesty Begin and End?

“Honesty is the best policy.” You have heard this proverb all your life and you most likely strive to model it every day. But where does honesty truly begin and end? You may say that you are an honest person (and you probably are) but there is some aspect in your life where you are not completely honest; either with yourself, with others or with God. Maybe you don’t always follow the speed limit—ok, so everyone is guilty there—or perhaps you spend too much time online while at work. Your lack of honesty may be something that simple, that trivial. It could be that you are not being honest with your spouse about where you are spending your evenings or you are not being honest with the IRS about the amount of money that you gave to charitable contributions. I dare say that no one is without a skeleton in the closet whose name is Honesty.

It also seems that if you are dishonest with yourself long enough, you will finally believe it as the truth. Many friendships, marriages and jobs have ended because of a “dishonest truth”. There is always a need to examine your life and to ask yourself if you are being honest in all of your relationships and dealings. It is important to review your motives for certain activities to make sure that they are true. Job said, “If I have walked in falsehood or my foot has hurried after deceit, let God weigh me in honest scales and he will know that I am blameless.” (Job 31:5, 6 NIV)

We will all give account to God someday. May your honesty tip God’s scales.

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