God primarily uses his people for his glory
What glory and wonder to think that God would include us in his working to meet the
needs of people through his church. But to think that he would limit his divine working in this world to our participation is humbling and scary. Thus, we as his church have the privilege but also and responsibility to pay attention to the needs of others around us that God wants to direct us to help. When we are focused on what the Lord’s attention is focused on, and listening to the heartbeat of the Lord, we can better help those we come into contact with who have genuine need. Like the lame man sitting at the gates that Peter and John must have come across many times on the way to the temple, but finally saw the genuine need of that poor beggar by the direction of the Spirit and the result was 3000 people added to the church. Do you want to be used for his glory? Then it requires us to hold lightly to the things of this world and our busy schedules to put others first, like in the story of the Good Samaritan.
The Collection for God’s People
1 Cor 16:1 Now about the collection for God’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. 2 On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. 3 Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem. 4 If it seems advisable for me to go also, they will accompany me.
As we ponder God’s character from the above passage, I wonder if God would answer our signature question below in the following way…
Who Are you Lord?
I AM the God who knows your troubles. I AM the God who meets your needs. I may not give you money through the lottery or give it outright magically, because I am not a formulaic god, I would rather use my body to come together to meet your needs. I desire to use my people to be my eyes, ears and hands to meet the genuine needs of humanity. Needs are essential to life. Without needs, you would never seek me. You were not created to be an island, self sufficient. Only together with other people can you live in love and care for your community. By helping others, I can love through you. By loving others, you are showing my love to them. I prove my care to the world through my church, my body – you. I choose to limit my actions on earth to the actions of my church so that they can share in my glory. If my people would stop living for themselves and look to meet the needs of those around them, I could use them to help more people to see my love and care. That is the true miracle; that selfish man would live for the needs of others above their own, for that is what I will reward them for in the end.
Working in cooperation with the Almighty
Under shepherds are those who look after the sheep under the direction of the chief shepherd. It demands that we are concerned for the needs of the flock and are ready to lay down our lives and happiness for them. It is easy to think that someone else will take care of the needs of others and not get involved. That is our human condition showing its ugly head – self preservation. When we know that God has our back in this life, we can go out on a limb for others. (This is my hypocrisy speaking as it is easy to write about this and so hard to practice, so forgive me). God wants to show himself strong on our behalf if we would just put ourselves out there for others. This is what living for eternity is about. This is the heavenly mindset. This is demonstrating the Divine nature. God says “test me now and see if I will not open the windows of heaven”. You cannot “out give” God. Giving to the poor is loaning to God and he says he will repay. See Prov 19:17. 2 Cor. chapters 8 and 9 talk of sowing and reaping in the area of giving to the needs of others. That is why God gives us wealth. We are to be “pipes” not “buckets”. The Old Testamental period was “bucket” mentality, being centered on Israel; and the New Testamental period is a “pipe” mentality, being channels of blessing to others around the globe. Which Testamental period are you living in?
More to come,