What’s Your Motivation
Matthew 6:1 “Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.”
The motive behind our gift is more important than the gift itself. Paul said if he gave all of his goods to feed the poor, or if he made the ultimate sacrifice of giving his own life for someone else, and wasn’t motivated by love, his gift would profit him nothing, 1 Corinthians 13:3.
Many Christians give faithfully but never see the hundredfold return that the Lord promised because of wrong motives, Mark 10:29-30. Paul said God loves a cheerful giver – not one who gives grudgingly or out of debt, 2 Corinthians 9:7.
Jesus gave us the key to purifying our motives in this same teaching. He said, “But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:”, Matthew 6:3. Giving in a manner in which you will not receive recognition for your gifts will guarantee that your motives are right and grant you the true joy that comes through selfless giving, Acts 20:24.
Ask the Lord to show you an opportunity today to give a kind word or a helping hand to someone who will not be able to repay you and others will never know about it. This could be a motorist in a traffic jam, a co-worker, a spouse, a child who won’t even notice your kind deed, or any number of other people. Opportunities are all around us.
Matthew 5:29 “And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.”
Is Jesus advocating dismembering of our bodies? Quite the contrary. He is drawing on the universal drive within every person of self preservation to make a point. If you value your body highly enough that you would never sacrifice one of its parts, then you should esteem your spiritual well being much higher.
Ever since the fall of Adam and Eve, man’s priorities have been misplaced. Great effort is put into preserving our physical life while our spiritual condition is often overlooked. It constantly gets put on the “back burner” while we tend to more urgent matters of this life.
Yet our physical bodies are just temporary. If we live 70 years or more, that is just a fraction of a second in the light of eternity. Our spiritual man lives forever. The state in which it exists is determined by choices made in this life.
Therefore, choose to make your spiritual condition your top priority. Spend more time on your spiritual well being than you do your physical well being. You and everyone around you will be eternally grateful that you did.
Matthew 5:13 “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.”
What is it that will be cast out and trodden under foot of men? Is it the salt, or is it possible that Jesus is speaking about the world? If we as believers lose our preserving influence, then there is no other way for the Lord to save the world. It will be dominated by men.
God flows through His people. It is not our own power that changes people. It’s God’s power in us, but God will not do it without us. It’s a partnership.
Many people spend a lifetime praying for God to move, not understanding that He is going to flow through them. It is not God who is failing to intervene. It is God’s people who are failing to cooperate and let Him flow through them.
Every Christian has God living in them. Therefore we are carrying around other people’s miracles. If we fail to walk in the supernatural power of God, then someone will miss their miracle. We are God’s salt to preserve this putrefying world. Today, get out of the shaker and let the life of God which is in you flow to someone in need
Only The Hungry Are Fed
Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”
In the natural world, people eat even when they aren’t hungry. Many of us can prove that by turning sideways and looking at ourselves in the mirror. But in the spiritual realm, only those who are hungry can get fed. One of the worst things that can happen to us is spiritual complacency.
Being hungry for the things of God is one of the best things that can happen to us. Most people don’t feel that way. They would rather have the feeling of being full. But Jesus promised us that fullness would follow hunger. No hunger, no fullness.
Therefore, what many people hate is actually a sign of spiritual health. Longing for more of God is a healthy sign. No one hungers for God on their own. That is not the nature of man. No man hungers for God unless the Spirit of God is drawing him, John 6:44.
Hungering for God doesn’t cause God to move in our lives, but it is a sign that God is already at work in us. We should praise God for spiritual hunger and be encouraged. He doesn’t make us hungry and then let us starve. He does so in order to fill us with His blessings and love. We need a hunger that will never be satisfied until the marriage supper of the Lamb.
At Thy Word
Luke 5:5 “And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.”
Peter and his companions had been working hard all night. Their efforts had not produced even one fish. They had given up and were headed home. But Jesus told them to try it just one more time.
It would have been easy for Peter to reject Jesus’ command. After all, Peter had been a fisherman all his life. Jesus was just a preacher. What did He know about fishing? Yet something, or rather someone, caused Peter to try just once more.
Many people are like Simon Peter and his partners. They have done all that they know to do and yet they’ve come up empty-handed. This breeds a despair and hopelessness that causes many people to quit trying. Yet, just one word from Jesus could make the same tasks that have been unproductive on our own bear great fruit.
The key to success or failure lies in doing things at the word of Jesus. Peter said, “at thy word I will let down the net.” God’s words always get results.
Today, make sure your efforts are directed by God and you will experience the results that have eluded you in the past.
Ministry In Action
Mark 1:31 “And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them.”
How did Peter’s mother-in-law minister unto Jesus and His disciples? Did she sit them down and preach to them? Certainly not. Yet sometimes people think the only way we can minister to another is to admonish them with the scriptures.
Peter’s mother-in-law apparently ministered to them by serving them. The word translated “minister” is the same word that was translated “deacon” twice in the New Testament, and “serve, served or serveth” eight times.
We can minister for the Lord by doing some of the menial tasks that many consider to be unimportant. Jesus said that even a cup of cold water given in His name would not go unrewarded, Matthew 10:42.
Many people are waiting for the important jobs to come along where they can make a big impact or receive a lot of recognition, while they pass by many lesser opportunities every day. But in the kingdom of God, we won’t be given any great opportunities until we are proven faithful in the small things, Luke 16:10.
Today, ask the Lord to show you ways you can minister to others by serving them.
Drawn By His Power
Mark 1:37 “And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee.”
This is an amazing statement. Jesus’ ministry was only a few months old and the masses of people were already seeking him out.
This is even more astonishing when you realize that Jesus had not used any of the conventional methods of publicity. In fact, Jesus had already rejected publicity during His first ministry in Jerusalem, John 2:24-25. There was no natural explanation for Jesus’ success.
God is the one who promoted Jesus. And He used supernatural means to do it. It was not the slick techniques of Madison Avenue that brought the crowds–it was the awesome manifestation of God’s power.
Just the day before, Jesus had cast the demon out of a man at the synagogue in Capernaum, Mark 1:21-28. This caused the whole city to gather at Peter’s house and Jesus healed every one of them, Luke 4:40.
Jesus’ display of the miraculous power of God was the spark that the Holy Spirit used to light a fire in the hearts of these people. Jesus had this power because of His intimate relationship with His father. It is no accident that He was praying while all men were seeking Him.
As you seek to touch others with the new life that you’ve found in Christ, let God confirm His Word with the miraculous manifestations of His power through you.
The Chosen Ones
Mark 1:16 “Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.”
Jesus never chose an apostle from among the religious system. Every one of his twelve disciples were men that He chose from the secular world. It wasn’t because God didn’t have faith in those who were religious. It’s just that most of those who were part of the religious system didn’t have any faith in God.
One of the most common mistakes religious people make is to put faith in themselves. They think God will use them because of their great holiness or special abilities.
Paul said, “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are.”, 1 Corinthians 1:27-28.
People who recognize their own inabilities are of necessity more dependent on God. That is the way God wants it. The Lord is constantly searching for someone who recognizes they are nothing so He can do something through them, 2 Chronicles 16:9.
Instead of thinking of your responsibilities, just respond to His ability.
Our Debts Have Been Cancelled
Luke 4:19 “To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”
This scripture had been written prophetically by the prophet Isaiah about 650 years prior to this time. It was read in Jewish synagogues thousands of times. But the one this verse was speaking of had never spoken it before. With this pronouncement, Jesus began the year of Jubilee.
The Year of Jubilee was described in Leviticus 25. It was a year when everyone left their fields unworked and kept a sabbath unto the Lord. The Lord gave the people a miraculous provision the year before this jubilee started that sustained them for three years until their crops could once again be harvested.
This jubilee was different than the other sabbatical years in that every debt was cancelled. All property was returned to its original owner and anyone who had been sold into slavery was set free. It was a year of new beginnings.
Jesus proclaimed a spiritual jubilee. We now live in a time when all our debts to God have been cancelled and all the things the devil stole from us have been returned. Even our slavery to the devil has come to an end through the redemptive work of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is a time for rejoicing.
Jesus is our jubilee.