The Lord’s Business

Jesus’ famous parable of the talents (Matthew3 25:14-30) is an obvious place to start when talking about stewarding our gifts (or talents). And the obvious application is that God gives us gifts and abilities (some one, some ten), and He expects us to turn a profit on these gifts. They are not the kind of gifts that should sit on the mantel for display. In the parable they are called talents because that was an actual unit of currency at the time. Talents are money. In fact, our word talent comes from the Greek word for money.

Much has been said about how to determine what your spiritual gift is, and it’s possible to stall out right there and never get around to using our gifts because we can’t figure out what they are. But think of the money metaphor again. What ever you’ve got, even if it’s loose pocket change, get going on turning a profit. Move forward by faith.

God has bestowed a gift on each believer, and the purpose of these gifts is to “minister it to one another, as good stewards” (1 Peter 4:10). We are not to let our gifts tarnish in the drawer, but we are to be handling them, industriously using them, blessing others by means of them. Matthew Henry said, “These gifts improve by exercise, and brighten by being used.”  We use our gifts and talents for God’s glory and for the good of others, not for ourselves. But the gifts are like perishable food, and if they sit idle, they will rot.

We are called to be “about the Lord’s business” (Matthew Henry again) and “the more we do for God, the more we are indebted to Him for making use of us, and enabling us, for his service.” In other words, it is more blessed to give than receive. As we use our gifts for others, we are doing good to our own souls.

“Stir one another up to love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24). “Stir up the gift of God which is in you” (2 Tim. 1:6). Why do we need so much stirring and prompting? If we have gifts, why are we not always eager to invest them and anticipate a big Continue reading ‘The Lord’s Business’

Good Days

What does it mean to be a good steward? In fact what is stewardship? I found this definition: “Stewardship is the responsibility to manage all the resources of life for the glory of God, acknowledging God as provider.” I would add that a godly stewardship looks to turn a profit (thirty, sixty or a hundred fold). This profit will prosper my own soul, and it will bring a blessing to those things (or people) for which I am responsible.

1 Peter 4:10 says that we are to be “good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” 1 Cor. 4:1 refers to “good stewards of the mysteries of God.” The next verse says, “Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.” So we can see from these verses that a steward should be good and a steward should be faithful.

What are these “resources of life” we’ve been given? These are the categories I’d like to consider over the next few posts: our time, our talents and gifts, our resources, our relationships, our afflictions, and our blessings.

Let’s begin with time, that daily gift of grace. How do we steward our time?  We all want to “love life and see good days.” How do we do it? What’s the secret to loving your life and seeing good days? Can you imagine the many answers the world might have to this question?

But 1 Peter 3:10-12 says “He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.” In other words, the short answer is this. Want to enjoy life? Then watch your mouth. Continue reading ‘Good Days’

True Beauty

indexI’m so pleased that Carolyn Mahaney and Nicole Whitacre have tackled the subject of true beauty, a topic we need to think and learn about from a Christian perspective, particularly in our beauty-crazed, beauty-obsessed age. The world is always trying to press women into its mold, particularly on this point, and this book helps us think about beauty in a completely different way. True Beauty is for all women, no matter what your calling or age.  You can buy it here.

re:flect-I

I’d like to introduce you to a new blog called re: flect-I that some of the women at Christ the Word Church in Toledo, Ohio have started. Here’s what they say about it: “re: flect-I is an unusual name, isn’t it?  It was created because of our desire to reflect our heavenly Father more and more as He conforms us to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Faithful Waiting

Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord! (Ps. 27:14)

My Bible has a note that says wait in faith; “In the midst of present trouble, do not give up; give God time to answer.”

Waiting is a spiritual discipline. We pray, we lay out our requests, we ask for deliverance, and then we wait. And wait. And wait. To wait means to stay put, to look forward with a definite end or purpose in mind. We keep it in the forefront of our mind. We don’t forget and we don’t change the subject.

Waiting is not something that the flesh does easily. We want to see it now. We want quick answers and instant results so we can move on. But the Scripture is full of verses about waiting. And waiting some more.

“Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him” (Ps. 37:7).

“And I will wait on the Lord, who hides His face from the house of Jacob; and I will hope in Him” (Isaiah 8:17).

“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31). Continue reading ‘Faithful Waiting’

Reading For Fat Souls

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One of the comments on the last post asked me about my favorite Puritan writers, so I have taken a short, very non-intimidating pile off my shelf and stacked them here for you to browse.

On the top is my red leather edition of The Loveliness of Christ. I  have an older copy that Diane Garaway gave me a few years back, but it sits with some of our other old book treasures on top of the piano. This edition is in my bedside table. Samuel Rutherford was a 17th century Scottish pastor, one of the Westminster divines, who was expelled from his church and forbidden to preach any where in Scotland (which tells you right off that he was a powerful preacher). This little book contains excerpts from his many pastoral letters.

Next is The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs. This is a well worn copy and has seen me through at least four book studies with the women in our church. It is a treasure, full of solid, biblical teaching on attaining contentment.

Then you see All Things for Good by Thomas Watson. This book, combined with the book on contentment, has blessed me immeasurably. I truly thank God for these men and their sermons that have been preserved for us.

A few other Watson titles that I have used for book studies are in the stack: The Godly Man’s Picture, The Art of Divine Contentment, Harmless as Doves, Religion Our True Interest, and Heaven Taken By Storm. I see now that I got The Art of Divine Contentment in twice, once in paperback and once in hardback. It is that good. Read it twice. It is a toss up which book on contentment I prefer. They are both fantastic.

Finally, just so I don’t wear you out, is The Quest for Meekness and Quietness of Spirit, by Matthew Henry. He is a wonderful writer, and I love his commentary on the Bible. Wish I could read the whole thing (it’s large). But this book on a meek spirit is short and excellent. As he says, there is much provocation in this world, so we might just as well learn how to take it without getting our feathers ruffled. Well, he actually says it much better than that.