Summary: Now is the time to step up and hear God's voice calling us to surrender our lives to His service.
Do You Know What Time It Is?
The next three weeks are a crucial time for us as individuals and for us as a church. I believe that one of the greatest hindrances to the building of the Body of Christ in our country today is the lack of passion on behalf of men and women for using what God has given for His glory. God has given us, each and every one of us, so much that it is overwhelming when I stop to think about it. James wrote to the church and said,
16 Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. (James 1:16-18)
James makes things as clear for us as they can possibly be - every good gift that is present in your life and mine is a gift straight from the hand of Almighty God. The fact that I woke up this morning and was able to get out of bed is nothing more than a gift, often overlooked, but a gift from God. My wife and kids are a gift, precious blessings that I do not deserve, but a gift from God. The job I have was given me by God in His infinite grace. The fact that I am able to pay my bills each month is due to God's goodness. The friends I enjoy can't be attributed to the fact that I have read, "How To Win Friends and Influence Enemies" - they are a gift from God! The clothes that I have on my back are a present from Him. The air I breathe is a reminder of His grace. He is so good!
We are suffering today from an acute lack of awareness of God's gifts given to us. We have attributed our success, the things we own, the jobs we hold, the time we use, and the relationships we enjoy to our own ingenuity and intestinal fortitude. We landed the big deal. We are good time managers. We found a wife, husband, or friends who bless us. We glory in our blessings taking pride in what we have accomplished while we overlook the fact that, as Jesus said, "Apart from Me you can do nothing." Not only can we do nothing, but we would have nothing, be nothing, and enjoy nothing apart from His gracious hand that is always at work seeking to bless us.
For the next three weeks I want to encourage you to join me in devoting time to prayer and study so that we can learn more about how to be good and faithful stewards of all that God has showered upon us. I will be blunt with you - I need to learn more about being a good steward of the gifts that God continues to shower into my life. I am a student more than a teacher and I am inviting you to come along with me as I seek to learn where God is leading me in the area of stewardship.
I have to caution you at this point. I do not know what God will show me or where He will lead me concerning the investment of my time, abilities, or finances, but I do know this from my past experiences with God - He will challenge me to go beyond my comfort zone. It is only at that place, the place beyond where I am comfortable, where His greatest blessings rest.
My prayer for all of us is that at the end of this study we would be able to echo the words of the great man of God, Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf - "From now on I will do whatever He leads me to do." Let me tell you the story of how the great statement of faith came about.
Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf was an aristocrat who, at the age of ten, was sent to a boarding school in Halle. His teacher was the August Hermann Francke, and his mentor was Bartholomew Ziegenbalg, the first Protestant missionary to Asia. Because his parents did not want him to be a preacher, he went to study law at Wittenburg. After his study of law, he went on a grand tour of Europe, the custom for aristocrats of that day. During his tour he visited an art museum in Dusseldorf where he saw a portrait of the "thorn crowned Christ." Below the image was the inscription which read, "I have done this for you; what have you done for me?" This made such a profound impression on him that he wrote in his diary, "I have loved Him for a long time, but I have actually not done anything for Him. From now on I will do whatever He leads me to do." ("Moravians, Puritans, and the Modern Missionary Movement," BibSac April-June 1999, p. 223.)