Putting Our Efforts Where Our Mouths Are

James S. Hewett tells of a young boy who complained to his father that most of the church hymns were boring and old-fashioned, with tiresome words that meant little to his generation. His father challenged him with these words: “If you think you can write better hymns, why don’t you?”

         The boy accepted the challenge, went to his room, and wrote his first hymn. The year was 1690, and the young man was Isaac Watts. Among his 350 hymns are “Joy to the World,” “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” “I Sing the Almighty Power of God,” and many other classics.

         Complainers are a dime a dozen. It takes no talent and little effort to grumble about what we don’t like. I have a quote from Theodore Roosevelt in my office that reads, “Far better it is to dare mighty things than to take rank with those poor, timid spirits who know neither victory or defeat.” Those “poor, timid spirits” are seldom quiet on the sidelines. With their complaints they are like the opponents of Jesus who “tie up heavy loads, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger.” (Matthew 23:4). God’s Word commands us to, “Do everything without complaining or arguing” (Philippians 2:14). God didn’t take kindly to the whiners and complainers in Moses’ day (1 Corinthians 10:10). I doubt he feels any warmer toward them today.

         Does this mean that complaints and criticisms should never be lodged? No. But when we do complain we need to be willing to give of our own time, effort and resources to correct whatever it is that isn’t right.

Brad Fry

Published in: on April 27, 2011 at 11:41 am  Comments Off on Putting Our Efforts Where Our Mouths Are  
Tags: , ,

In The Service of the King

“If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there my servant will be also; if anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.” (John 12:26)

“So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.'” (Luke 17:10)

              These verses, when compared, reveal an interesting paradox concerning service in the kingdom of the Lord. The first says, “If you serve me, you’ll be honored.” The second says “When you’ve rendered your service, you’ve earned nothing. You have but carried out your responsibilities.” But both are true. The disciple of Christ is to work hard at carrying out every command that his Master has given him. He realizes that his life is no longer his to do whatever he pleases. He has willingly put himself on the auction block. No one forced him to make that decision. There was an exchange of holy currency and the price was paid (1 Corinthians 6:19,20; 1 Peter 1:18,19).

              Yet the Master of the slave sees something else. He sees one who has been enslaved to sin and the fear of death for many, many years. He sees one who has spent his days working for a cruel taskmaster. He sees a tired, hurting and broken soul. And he says, “Come to me, all who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). The Master is thrilled beyond measure to offer this slave a new life. He can’t wait to get him home so he can bless him some more. Because this isn’t just any slave. This slave who has been gone for so long, that has been broken by sin and setbacks, is his son. And, oh how he wants to bless him!

              The servant understands that he is owed nothing. That’s the nature of a servant. But the Father’s going to reward him anyway. That’s the nature of a Father.

Brad Fry

Published in: on April 5, 2011 at 11:46 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,