Glancing, skimming, surfing. That’s what we do today, mainly. And that lack of focus makes us superficial. We surf spiritually as well. We skim Scripture with quick takes and verse-sized bites. We turn to the visual as often as possible, to the detriment of the audible.
But the Bible emphasizes — and in the plan of salvation we rightly highlight — the need to hear. “Hear, O Israel,” was the instruction from the Lord. Paul reminded the Romans, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” Rm 10.17 ESV. If we see anything, we ought to see the words of Christ in the pages of Scripture.
¶ Just because someone has an email address doesn’t mean he uses email. This truth causes a bit of frustration at times. Messages sometimes go unanswered because people have an address, but don’t bother to check it. It’s like owning a phone but refusing to answer. Wait, that’s today’s young people, right? They often ignore their parents’ calls. One mother wrote an app that locked her kids’ phones until they returned her call.
Friends of ours had an uncle who bought a new car and never drove it, because he didn’t want to mess it up. It rusted in place. Just because someone has a Bible doesn’t mean he reads or follows it. Just because somebody calls Jesus Lord doesn’t mean he obeys the Master, Mt 7.21.
¶ We love our stars and salivate over seeing our name in lights. We’ll overlook differences of doctrine, for which we usually fight tooth and nail, when someone makes national or international news. This to our eternal shame.
¶ Earlier, I had asked about whether giving glory to God could be a private act only. People seem to think it’s both. I asked because of a new little arrangement for getting my daily items done that includes giving glory to God. My first thought was to write it for my own benefit only, a private post, if you will. But then I decided to share it publicly. You can read them here: randalmatheny.com/tag/giveglory/.
Paul’s letters are dotted by doxologies, exclamations of praise and glory to God. This year, one of those, Ep 3.20-21, is my verse for 2014.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (NET)
Shouldn’t our talk be sprinkled with such doxologies? Do we know how to construct one? Are we schooled in giving glory to God? Do we hear such exclamations of praise to the Lord outside of church meetings? (I presume we do hear them in our meetings.)
¶ Churches, even those heavily involved in missions, generally have little idea of what they’re doing. This observation is based on anecdotal evidence, but that evidence spans decades and others witness to the problem as well. Churches don’t know how to spend funds in missions.
For example, it’s the wrong question for congregations to ask in missions: “Where can we spend our money where it will do the most good?” Man cannot answer that question.
We certainly don’t want to waste the Lord’s money (nor the Lord’s money that is in our private bank accounts!), but the most good may not be produced immediately. Humans, even the wisest saints, cannot see how God will use human effort to produce eternal good.
The gospel is not a business and must not be approached as a business, in terms of investment and returns. This is pagan thinking.
“In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good” Ecc 11.6 ESV.
“You do not know,” says the wise preacher. Indeed, we are ignorant of what God will produce from any given effort. Only eternity will reveal how the Lord took our service and caused it to bear fruit for him. How do we then presume to judge ahead of time the results of human efforts on earth? Are these not the “secret things [that] belong to the Lord our God”? Deu 29.29.