One of the main reasons for these letters to you is to encourage, to assist all that read them in the path that our Lord has placed them on, to let each of you know that there is more, there is always more that He has waiting for us. We cannot deplete the blessings that Christ has in store for us, waiting to give those who desire to become obedient servants both here and, in the kingdom to come.
We must be able to differentiate the things that the world has to offer us and the blessings that He bestows upon us that are part of His creation, those items that are in the world but not of the world if we are going to be satisfied in Christ. The food and clothing, the daily needs are promised to those who “seek first the kingdom of God,” (Matt. 6:33) they are not a given, everything about that, all the items that many who profess Christ have surrounded themselves with are the icing on the cake so to speak. The Son of Man did not even have a place to laid His head, (Luke 9:58) yet we have houses filled with so many items that for many it can be difficult to find a place for the next one that we have obtained.
We save up for vacations, or convince ourselves that we will be able to pay off the credit cards before it is time to go on the next one, we tell ourselves that we are being good stewards of what we have, but the majority of the items that we possess are for our own personal pleasure, to fulfil our desires and not the purposes of God. We quote the verse of 2nd Thessalonians 3:10 saying that if a man does not work he should not eat, but grab the calculator and check to make sure we do not go over ten percent in our giving, or check our wants first to see if we should give at all that week.
We live the life of a slave, yet not to the obedience of the Word of God, but to our jobs, for if we do not how are we supposed to provide for those we love, and of course purchase those things that we want, go on vacations and afford to pay for the things that we would not be patient to obtain. Those who have complain because they do not have enough, and those who do not have complain because they do not have enough, we are all of the same stock. We can be a very sorry lot, and it is no wonder that the world laughs and mocks us, we are easily pushed around, and it is no wonder why in what is called the “civilized world” those who call themselves Christians are becoming fewer each day. These individuals no longer understand what the word “struggle” means, the average Christian has turned his focus inward and begun to believe that a struggle in their life is one of desired wants unmet.
Many spend their nights in front of the television, flipping thru the channels looking for the best of the worst things on it to occupy their time before bedtime arrives. Some seek the solace of the companionship of others, not to spend the hours glorifying his Name and works in their lives, but simply to pass the time in idle chit-chat until the business of tomorrow arrives with the call of the alarm clock and the transitory obligations of their chosen employment field. Reading the Scriptures for any length of time makes these individuals eyes droop, they become sleepy and so seek the entertainment of the world to fill their evenings. Most of the days of the week are filled in chasing monetary gains so that they may fulfil their wants, calling upon “a man should not eat if he does not work” and being “good stewards” as their primary excuse to remain in the grip of the world and all it has to offer.
And so the wheel turns full circle, every day, every month, the entire year through, excuses become rationalizations, and these individuals will pick and choose Scripture verses to try to prove that they are indeed being obedient to the will of God, yet their hearts are far from Him, they have allowed themselves to be trapped by the world, and even those who will admit it to themselves will not do anything about it. The wants call to them, the job that provides the money becomes their master, and each time it beckons them they run to perform its desires. Our Lord had no place to lay His head, yet we sleep on Egyptian cotton.
Have you been encouraged yet, or do you need consolation? Would you prefer it if I penned some words that would make you feel better about yourself? How about your nearly perfect church attendance, how you put a little more in the plate when that missionary showed up that Sunday morning, the one out there doing the work of the Lord. How about we speak on the fact of how you show up for work each day, doing what is required of you, just like the lost souls do that show up each day also. What sets you apart, because you use the word “blessed” or “praise” every once in a great while in your conversations of the mundane and trivial with them each day, because you don’t cuss and swear, perhaps it’s your haircut.
It is almost impossible to tell the lost from the saved anymore, in or out of the church building, we have almost every material item they have, the only difference is that we call them blessings. We search for the things of the world the same as they do, our wants are their wants, our master is our place of employment, the same master they serve, we just like to think of it as God providing instead of having to get up and go to work. We sacrifice nothing and expect everything.
“There is a way which seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Prov. 14:12) Far too many Christians are dead in their works for the Lord, but more than willing to give the majority of their time to the things of the world and what it can provide for them. Our Lord offers eternity, and we settle for rust. Many Christians have pulled off the path into the avenues and byways of the world, they are seeking first the desires of the flesh, in every form that the world has to offer, the commandments of the Lord in the Scriptures have become request to them, and are only adhered to when our wants are fulfilled first. There are many professing Christians who spend the majority of their time seeking the things of self-fulfillment, not the dying to self, whether it be in their employment, the television, fictional books, the internet, the company of others, the world has them in an iron grip, most know it but do absolutely nothing about it, their trust is not in Christ no matter how much they may try to convince themselves of it.
If you want to see somewhere our Lord is working mightily, search out what He is doing in what is called the “third world” countries, the ones that you give money to occasionally, pray for every once in a while. There is suffering for Christ there that matches that of the first century church, and it is occurring every night and day. These persecuted brothers and sisters of ours are being beaten, tortured, imprisoned and even killed for speaking His Name in love to any that will listen, while we sit in church once a week, sing songs and feel wonderful about ourselves for doing so.
Do you know what these persecuted fellow believers of ours are praying for? They are not praying for their jobs to be secure, or for the weather to be good so that they can go on vacation, they rarely even utter a prayer for themselves unless it is to be used more by our Lord for His glory. They are praying for us, they are praying for trials and tribulations to come upon us, so that we might suffer, truly suffer according to the will of God so that we might truly seek His face as we are commanded to.
I am sorry to say this, but I doubt very much that any of those who read these words here will be convicted by them, why would they, they have the entire inerrant Word of God and it hasn’t convicted them yet, why would the words of some foolish, humble servant of Christ do it? I am going to guess that all that they did was make you feel bad, maybe prompted you for a moment or two and then you will just return to whatever it was you were doing. Maybe you’ll say a quick little prayer, something like, “God, please make me a better person” before you push the power button on the remote to see what’s on the television tonight, or check out the newest you-tube video.
Perhaps not though, perhaps this letter was a catalyst, perhaps you’re fed up with being a nominal Christian, perhaps you will be convicted by the Holy Spirit to become a willing and obedient servant to His will in every area of your life. Perhaps.
I wouldn’t quite your day job just yet though, we wouldn’t want to be too hasty, would we.