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Bible Ballistics: Vol. 9 No.22 But It’s Just A Cup Of Water!

 

We live in a culture of the “BIG”—big ideas, big business, big money, big gulps, big trucks, big churches, big stars (media, not the sky), and big problems, but we serve an even ‘bigger’ God! While that is a good thing, it can also be a confusing thing. But why? Because we live in this “BIG” minded culture, and that often skews our spiritual perspective, and we focus on size rather than God!

And he said to them all,

If any man will come after me,

let him deny himself,

and take up his cross daily,

and follow me.

24 For whosoever will save his life

shall lose it:

but whosoever will lose his life

for my sake,

the same shall save it. Luke 9:23-24

Jesus says what counts is our willingness to loose our lives in His, and follow Him. Jesus isn’t concerned about how big we are, or how great our works are in size, but how selflessly we are devoted to Him, and how closely we follow Him. Jesus wants us to faithfully follow Him, hearing and obeying His Spirit in every way—every day!

I am crucified with Christ:

nevertheless I live;

yet not I,

but Christ liveth in me:

and the life which I now live

in the flesh

I live by the faith of the Son of God,

who loved me,

and gave himself

for me.” Galatians 2:20

Being ‘crucified with Christ’, means I have died to my desires and live for His. I need to grow in my knowledge of The Lord and His Word continually, seeking to know Him more, learning to recognize His voice, and willingly and faithfully obey His leading. Just following Jesus!

While we are all the special creation of God, we are not all the children of God—only those who come to God through Jesus Christ are the ‘children’ of God.

But as many as received him,

to them gave he power

to become the sons of God,

even to them that believe

on his name:

13 Which were born,

not of blood,

nor of the will of the flesh,

nor of the will of man,

but of God.”     John 1:12-13

We are “born……of God”, “born again”, because Jesus would give His life for us!

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

6 That which is born of the flesh

is flesh;

and that which is born of the Spirit

is spirit.

7 Marvel not that I said unto thee,

Ye must be born again.”   John 3:5-7

Unless we are “born again” we are not God’s child, but when we are “born again” we are “birthed” into God’s family and kingdom through Jesus’ sacrifice for us. What less could we do but give all of ourselves to HIM. God takes our all—all our weakness, all our frailty, all our inability and transforms us through HIS ability.

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”  Philippians 4:13

Do you get it? Paul didn’t say he could do “big” things through Christ, or even that He could do “great” things, but that what we can do is:

all things

through Christ

which strengtheneth me

Jesus simply calls us to follow Him anywhere that He leads—God will provide. He didn’t ask you to pick-up, think-up and work-up great ideas, plans and programs; but simply to “take up his cross daily, and follow”. Did you catch that? We are to take up our cross, and to do it “daily”, as we “follow” Jesus! Following Him where ever HE leads—close or far, big or small, long or short—He calls us to simply “follow” Him!

Yet Jesus doesn’t give us each the same gifts, but He does call us each to be faithful with the gifts that we are given. So the issue isn’t whether we have big gifts, or prominent gifts, not whether we have speaking gifts, or serving gifts; what matters is our willingness to love and “follow” Him!

As every man hath received the gift,

even so minister the same one to another,

as good stewards

of the manifold grace of God.

11 If any man speak,

let him speak as the oracles of God;

if any man minister,

let him do it as of the ability

which God giveth:

       that God

in all things

may be glorified

through Jesus Christ,

to whom be praise

and dominion

for ever and ever. Amen.”     1 Peter 4:10-11

Whatever God places in our hands, is to be used to serve Him faithfully so that Jesus Christ may be praised and glorified, and that the world may know Him! No matter how small or insignificant we may feel, God has a purpose, a good work for us to do. It doesn’t matter if we are tall, short, old or young, vibrant and healthy or disabled in some way, out-going or introverted, God has brought us to this place and time, and He is still calling us to simply follow HIM! Even as He addressed his disciples in Mark’s Gospel:

And he took a child,

and set him in the midst of them:

and when he had taken him in his arms,

he said unto them,

37 Whosoever shall receive one of such children

in my name,

receiveth me:

and whosoever shall receive me,

receiveth not me,

but him that sent me.

38 And John answered him, saying,

Master, we saw one casting out devils

in thy name,

and he followeth not us:

and we forbad him,

because he followeth not us.

39 But Jesus said, Forbid him not:

for there is no man which shall do a miracle

in my name,

that can lightly speak evil of me.

40 For he that is not against us

is on our part.

41 For whosoever shall give you a cup of water

to drink in my name,

because ye belong to Christ,

verily I say unto you,

he shall not lose his reward.”     Mark 9:36-41

Jesus will reward us according to what we do with His gifts to us, not according to what we don’t have, or with what someone else has! In Jesus’ parable of the talents in Matthew 25, let’s take a look at what He said about those to whom He gave the talents (In this passage, talents are a monetary amount not an ability to do tasks or perform!):

After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.

20 And so he that had received five talents

came and brought other five talents, saying,

Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold,

I have gained beside them

five talents more.

21 His lord said unto him,

Well done,

thou good and faithful servant:

thou hast been faithful

over a few things,

I will make thee ruler over many things:

enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

22 He also that had received two talents came and said,

Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold,

I have gained two other talents

beside them.

23 His lord said unto him,

Well done,

good and faithful servant;

thou hast been faithful

over a few things,

I will make thee ruler over many things:

enter thou into the joy of thy lord.“.   Matthew 25:19-23

Here are two of three servants mentioned in this parable; the third one is the only one who received a rebuke—and a condemnation, not because He didn’t do what the others did, but because He did nothing.

Then he which had received the one talent came and said,

Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.

26 His lord answered and said unto him,

Thou wicked and slothful servant,

thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not,                                 and gather where I have not strawed:

27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers,

and then at my coming I should have received mine own            with usury.

28 Take therefore the talent from him,

and give it unto him which hath ten talents.

29 For unto every one that hath

shall be given,

and he shall have abundance:

but from him that hath not

shall be taken away even that which he hath.

30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant

into outer darkness:

there shall be weeping

and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 25:25-30

Without going into a lot of detail, I’d like to point out a few things about this encounter. What we find here, instead of a faithful servant, willing to use what his “Lord” had given him, is one who took what he had and blamed the character of his Lord for his choice to disregard the call upon his life and work. He rejected the gifts that were given to him. He feigned fear and inequity as his reasons for not using that which God had given him. The response of Jesus reveals the true contrast between the one who had bowed before Jesus as Lord, and the one who rejected God and all of His grace. Jesus describes this one in some powerful ways:

Thou wicked and slothful servant’—he chose self.

thou knewest’—he rejected truth for sloth.

Thou oughtest therefore to have put’—he knew

truth but chose not to go God’s way.

Take …… the talent from him’—he lost what

      he refused to accept and utilize.”

This servant refused to receive God’s grace or use His gifts, and there are only two choices in this life; choose Jesus and live, or refuse His salvation and die.

For the wages of sin is death;

but the gift of God is eternal life

through Jesus Christ our Lord.”     Romans 6:23

If we don’t receive God’s grace in Christ’s gift of salvation, we will have our own sin debt to pay. But when we receive Jesus Christ, and serve Him faithfully, we will receive a reward from our king! And while it won’t be measured by ‘weight’ or ‘size’, it will be according to faithful and obedient service to The Lord and King, Jesus! But those who choose to reject the salvation that Jesus died to provide, will loose even what they think they have! I didn’t say it, Jesus did.

For unto every one that hath

shall be given,

and he shall have abundance:

but from him that hath not

shall be taken away

even that which he hath.

And what is it that we ‘have’ or ‘have not’? It is the salvation that Jesus provides at Calvary through His own blood.

And this is the record,

that God hath given to us eternal life,

and this life is in his Son.

12 He that hath the Son hath life;

and he that hath not the Son of God

hath not life.” 1 John 5:11-12

So the question isn’t how big are your gifts, but how willing are you to use the gifts that God has placed in your heart and in your hands? May we earnestly seek to know Him more and serve Him loyally, knowing that Jesus Christ is coming for us soon, and we will each give an account as those in the parable of the “talents”. What are you doing with what God has given you? Are we being faithful to put our gifts to use for our King? A time of accounting is coming, and it won’t be by ‘size’ but by the measure of our faithfulness—even of a cup of cold water!

For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

12 Now if any man build upon this foundation

gold,

silver,

precious stones,

wood,

hay,

stubble;

13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest:

for the day shall declare it,

because it shall be revealed by fire;

and the fire shall try every man’s work

of what sort it is.

14 If any man’s work abide

which he hath built thereupon,

he shall receive a reward.”     1 Corinthians 3:11-14

Paul tells us that Jesus is the only foundation that we are to build on, but we must choose how we build and with what we will build. I believe that the contrast between the two types of building material is simple, we can choose to build with God’s material (Gold, silver or precious stones —things that man can’t make, only discover and mine for use!) or we can choose to build with the fleeting materials of earth (Wood, hay or stubble, that which man can obtain, reproduce and utilize, but which won’t survive the fire!). We can each choose to do it God’s way or our own way, and many today are claiming to do “God’s Work” but doing it “man’s way”. It saddens me, but I think this is the cause for much of the ineffectiveness of the church today. We must be faithful with God’s gift of salvation to us, as well as the service gifts He gives us. But we must use them HIS way—not man’s way! And to recognize the difference we must immerse ourselves in His Word, Prayer and the leadership of His Holy Spirit.

So my question for each of us today is, “What are you/am I doing with the cup of water Jesus has placed in our hands”? He is coming “in the twinkling of an eye”, will we hear “well done” or “depart”? It’s your choice—choose wisely!  (See Matt. 7:16-28)