Sunday, November 19, 2017

Givers and Takers

 ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ (Acts 20:35b NLT)
 
In the cartoon Peanuts, Lucy once said to Charlie Brown, “We are put here to serve others.” Charlie responded, “Then what are the others here for?”  At times life does seem to be unfair.  For a season, givers may find themselves surrounded by takers.  Givers can feel unjustly used, yet, in the final analysis, takers will never know the joy of giving.

We start out in life and look at famous people.  We think how great it would be to be like them.  We start to take the things we need to fulfill our desire for notoriety.  The disciples of Jesus had this problem.  They jockeyed for position for places of honor in God’s Kingdom (Matthew 20:20-24 NLT).  Jesus knew they needed an object lesson.  He grabbed a towel and washed the disciples’ feet. He was saying to them that the greatest in his kingdom were the givers and not the takers.  His disciples were astonished, steeped in the mentality of the world; take what you want before someone else gets it.

If we are honest, we have all felt a little bit like Charlie Brown did.  He wondered if he was here to serve others, why just him and not others.  Why do I always get the short end of the stick?  The Psalmist pondered this dilemma (Psalms 73:2-3 NLT).  The bad guys were getting all the good things.  Like the Psalmist we must come to our senses, and realize that only in giving do we win, because “it is more blessed to give than receive.”  Are you a giver or a taker?  If you are the latter, you will never know the joy of giving.


Image used with permission by Microsoft.

Ken Barnes the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places”  YWAM Publishing
Email: 
kenbarnes737@gmail.com
website:
https://sites.google.com/site/kenbarnesbooksite/
            http://gleanings757.blogspot.com

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Short-term Gain

She (Jerusalem) defiled herself with immorality and gave no thought to her future.
(Lamentations 1:9a NLT)
 
Our culture is becoming increasingly consumed by immediate gratification.  We like fast food, get rich quick schemes, quickie divorce, having things before we can afford them.   We make choices for instant satisfaction, yet, ignoring the long-range consequences of those decisions.  If we live in this manner, we learn that dwelling only on short-term gain always leads us to long-term pain.

Israel had this problem.  They continually made choices without considering what it meant for them in the future.  The Bible teaches us that sin is fun for a season (Hebrews 11:25 KJV).  To choose to do something for a limited amount of pleasure which brings about an unlimited amount of suffering, is irrational, but this is the problem; sin is irrational.  Transgression is brought about by deception in one form or another.  We believe either that God does not really believe what he says about sin, or if he does, he cannot do anything about it. Both these assumptions misrepresent the character of God.  Israel believed a lie about God and started to live outside of the moral constraints that God had given them.  This is the same strategy the Devil used in the Garden of Eden.  Satan brought an accusation against God (Genesis 3: 4-5 NLT) that sowed the seeds of doubt.  Eve believed the lie and acted irrationally.  You will never obey someone you do not trust.

Are you believing a lie about God?  If you are, it will lead you to make choices without considering their future consequences.  When tempted, do we consider its implications for us, our family, and Christ himself?  If we do, we are less likely to have long-term pain at the expense of short-term gain.

Image used with permission by Microsoft.

Ken Barnes the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places”  YWAM Publishing
Email: 
kenbarnes737@gmail.com
website:
https://sites.google.com/site/kenbarnesbooksite/
            http://gleanings757.blogspot.com
                http://gleaningspodcast.blogspot.com