Here in Paul’s farewell to the Ephesian Elders, he is urging them to fulfill the ministry laid out before them…to proclaim the Good News of the Gospel Message, and continue to give to the needs of the less fortunate. And Paul’s words still ring true today. As Believers, the Lord demands that we support and serve the widow, orphan, and poor among us. Jesus reminds us in John 12:8 that we will always have the poor among us, and assisting them will always be an urgent, unavoidable necessity. But we’ll also soon discover, by doing this helpful service, we receive something in return… a intangible blessing of God that words cannot express.
If you struggle with feelings of worthlessness, invalidation, or emptiness…this Scripture is for you today. Think of this – before you were even born – God knew everything about you and consecrated you to Himself. Isaiah 49:1 says that before you were born the Lord called you, and He set you apart as His very own. (John 10:36) So no matter your past…and no matter how you feel about your life today…God loves you! You are very important to Him, and in His eyes are worth everything.
In I Corinthians 4:5 it tells us that God will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. The life of our heart is a hidden life…or so we think. But God knows all, sees all, understands all, and will forgive all if asked. And in doing so we’ll be given a new heart…exchanging our heart of stone for a heart of flesh.
Ok, I have two very diverse images I want you to think about today. The first is that God is limitless. Isaiah tells us that God sits enthroned above the circle of the earth and stretches out the heavens like a canopy… that His throne is heaven and His footstool is earth. (Isaiah 40:22 & 66:1) While the second image is of God’s very intimate and personal relationship with all Believers…of us actually becoming a dwelling place for His Spirit to live in. (Ephesians 2:22 & I Corinthians 3:16) To the world, this is a total contradiction…but to the Believer, it’s what our faith is built on.
You may think you’re stingy with your money…but I know something else of yours that you’re even more tight-fisted with…it’s your time. We all act like our time is more precious than others. And when asked to volunteer, our stock answer usually is, “Sorry, but I just don’t have the time for that.” I can dare say for the most part we are more selfish with our time than with our money. But in II Corinthians 8:12 it talks about giving generously and having the desire and willingness to give what you have, not what you don’t have. We’ve all been given the same amount of hours in the day…but it’s what we do with them that will make a Kingdom difference in this hurting world.
We think we’re getting by with it…that no one knows, and we’ll never get caught. But whatever that addiction or guilty pleasure is…God knows all about it. I saw statistics the other day on the percentage of Christian men who confessed they were hooked on porn and it was jaw dropping. We think if we just call ourselves Christian somehow we’re above God’s law and His rules don’t apply to us…but they do. And the destiny of all who forget God is the same…sudden and complete destruction.