"Do everything in love” - 1 Corinthians 16:14 (NIV).
There was once a young man who was admitted from a village school to an elite college. Once at the top of his class there he met star performers in almost every subject and even more in extracurricular activities where he once used to dominate. The young man hated being eclipsed by all these talented students and after one term he withdrew back to his village school. There he was sure of his number one position. Unfortunately when it came to university admission this school could not secure a first grade and so he missed out. He then wished he had stick in the elite school. “Maybe there was something good I could have excelled in while there!”
The fate of this young man is perhaps similar to one who compares the gifts God has blessed believers and feels his is at the short end of the stick. Though the gifts blessed believers with were for the building of the church (1 Cor 12: 4-6); yet they can also be misused for personal edification creating a toxic atmosphere of unnecessary rivalry.
Such was the situation with the church in Corinth. Against this the Apostle Paul reminded the believers, that actually, everyone had a far much superior gift only that the focus was elsewhere. It was the gift of love. “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing” (1Cor 13:1- 3).
Paul described love “the greatest of these” (vv 13); yet unfortunately, this gift is not promoted as much compared to other more pronounced gifts. And, like, the young man, some have withdrawn their service, because after all they believe are not gifted as much. Yet the beauty here is that when it comes to love every believer has not only been blessed with it but can equally excel. “Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away” (I Cor 13:8).
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of creation, of heaven and earth, I thank you for the gift of love which you have blessed me with for the building of your church and so I pray to use it as freely as you have given, in the blessed name of Jesus.
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23/02/2024 - 24/02/2024 All day
“The LORD will send rain at the proper time from his rich treasury in the heavens and will bless all the work you do. You will lend to many nations, but you will never need to borrow from them” – (Deuteronomy 28:2).
Every now and then one chances upon someone despising the importance of being enterprising. To some being enterprising can be equated to the love of money and it’s pitfalls (1 Tim 6:10). Others see it as being overtly worldly. Yet, far from it, being enterprising is clearly an avenue God has given believers to raise resources for their well-being and promotion of the rich Gospel.
The Bible is full of enterprising characters who were used mightily of God. Abraham was apparently a good rancher that he “become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold” (Gen 13:2). Job was hated by Satan who sought to destroy him because “He owned 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 teams of oxen, and 500 female donkeys. He also had many servants. He was, in fact, the richest person in that entire area” (Job 1:3).
The Lord Jesus Christ was born and raised in the house of Joseph, the carpenter (Mathew 13:55). Carpenters do not create works of beauty to donate for free. To prosper they must run sustainable enterprises which pay taxes and make profit. The Apostle Paul would often rely on enterprising people to support him in his ministry. One of his worthy converts “was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God (Acts 16:14).
Though Paul was a law don once he went to the mission field, other than cling to his titles by burdening his hosts he often dabbled in tent making to support himself. In Corinth he teamed up with an amazing couple, Priscilla and Aquila, and “because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them” (Acts 18:3). This couple run a successful tent making business that enabled them support mission work.
And then of course, there is the noble woman of character, as told in Proverbs 31, who “selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings.. She sees that her trading is profitable…She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes (vv 13-25).
When the body of believers is filled with such enterprising people it generates resources important to sustain God’s work. Further, the work of God is then supported without being dependent on sources that might compromise the mission, as sometimes we see! Be enterprising!
Prayer for today: Lord father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, you who has given us the gift of enterprise, today I pray to use this gift to take care of my needs and support the expansion of your kingdom on earth, this I pray in Jesus’ Name.