I need a break. I deserve a car. I. I. I. I. We live in a world that believes that if I take care of “I” then I will be happy. Yet nothing is further from the truth, especially for followers of Christ. The problems lies in that the “I” is never satisfied for long. The Bible reminds us that some of the greatest joys in life are experienced when we help others!
This week in our “Transformed” series we moved into a section of Romans 12 that focuses on our need to invest in the lives of others. Paul said it best, “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”(Acts 20:35) What we often miss when we focus on ourselves is the multiple blessings that come by helping others. The Bible speaks directly and indirectly of a number of different ways that you are blessed when you help others. The passage here emphasizes the joy one feels. As I grow older I have realized that the joy of giving is much greater than the joy of receiving. There are many other benefits too.
I was touched by one truth that came out of my studies of Romans 12:6 that God’s grace is released at the point when I help others. “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them:” (Romans 12:6a ) One commentator made the point that there is no real value in knowing one’s spiritual gift, or talking about one’s spiritual gift or taking pride in one’s gift if it is not being used. His point was that it is only when I am using my gifts that God’s power of grace is divinely released in the lives of others.
This past Sunday I held up an ordinary pen and asked volunteers to identify what I was holding in my hand. One person stated that is was a pen. I responded with a sorry but no. Someone else responded that it was “writing implement.” They received the same response. I then went on to point out it was a wand of God’s grace. I explained that it you pointed at someone and pushed the button on the end it would release God’s power in someone’s life. It would encourage them in the midst of difficult circumstances. It would enable them to keep moving forward when they wanted to quit. It would give them understanding when making a decision. It would even help them to turn to God when they were living for themselves. Now, If I was really holding a “Wand of Grace” all of us would want one because of the good we could do in the lives of others. What I then pointed out was that God did not give us a “wand” but a spiritual gift that ministers to others around us. It does not matter if it is a speaking gift or a serving gift. When we use our gift God’s power is released. It is released by Greeters that welcome people to a service. It is released by those that come early to setup chairs and all the equipment for a service. It is released by those that provide nursery so the parents can enjoy the service. The number of ways that God’s grace is released are endless. But it is only released as the Apostle Paul states, when we “use them…”
I hope these words encourage you that are serving in your church to keep being faithful. And it is my desire for those of you that are not yet engaged to take that step and get involved. You will be amazed at the difference in your life when you stop focusing on “I” and focus on others.
-Pastor Joe Parkinson