WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
FEBRUARY 27, 2021
TOPIC: DON’T BE A SPECTATOR IN CHURCH
BY T. O. BANSO
“God has given each of you some special abilities; be sure to use them to help each other, passing on to others God’s many kinds of blessings” (1Peter 4:10 The Living Bible).
The Bible compares the church (the body of Christ) to the human body that has many parts performing different functions, and the make-up and location of each part are determined by the functions they are supposed to perform.
Every part is useful and no part can perform all functions – each can only do that which is given to it to do. All the parts work in cooperation and harmony, and gifts are to be used to bless others, not for selfish use. That is the summary of 1 Corinthians 12:12-31).
Also, Romans 12:4-8 talks about the different gifts that God has given believers in the body of Christ to use. “For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness” (Romans 12:4-8 New King James Version).
These gifts are not the same, and believers are to use whatever gifts God has given them. Unfortunately, many in the church today just sit down not functioning as workers. God has not saved anyone to be idle in church. There is a role God has for you in your church and He has blessed you with the appropriate gift to fulfil it.
1 Corinthians 12:4-7 says, “Now there are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but it is the same Holy Spirit who is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service in the church, but it is the same Lord we are serving. There are different ways God works in our lives, but it is the same God who does the work through all of us. A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church (New Living Translation).
Don’t say you don’t have any gifts or look down on your gifts. No gift given by God is inferior to another even if the area of service is behind the scene. That does not make your service unimportant. It’s a sin not to use the gifts God has given you. It’s also a sin to use your God-given gift for ungodly causes.
God expects you to identify your place in the body of Christ and use the gift He has given you. Paul told Timothy, his protégé in the ministry, “Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership” (1 Timothy 4:14 New King James Version). Use your gifts to serve in the house of God.
Don’t be jealous of the gifts of others while you despise or hide your gifts. “God has given each of you some special abilities; be sure to use them to help each other, passing on to others God’s many kinds of blessings” (1Peter 4:10 The Living Bible). The New King James Version renders the verse thus: “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”
In the parable of the talents (money) in Matthew 25:14-30, it wasn’t that the servant who was condemned wasn’t given any talent but he refused to use what he was given. Each of them was given talents “according to his own ability” (verse 15).
There is a similar passage in Luke 19:11-27 – the story of the minas or the story of the ten servants given ten minas. One of them didn’t use his mina also and was punished for this.
Your gifts are not really for your selfish enjoyment but to bless others. “A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church” (1 Corinthians 12:7 New Living Translation). The New King James Version puts it this way: “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all.” Therefore, use your gifts wisely and selflessly to serve God and humanity. “Be sure to carry out the work the Lord gave you” (Colossians 4:17 New Living Translation).
God hates idleness. In the parable of the workers in the vineyard, Matthew 20:6-7 says, “And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing idle, and said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right you will receive’” (New King James Version). Don’t stand idle all day. Don’t be an idle church member. Let your Christianity go beyond mere church attendance. God has an assignment for you in your local assembly. Find out what it is if you don’t know it yet and begin to do it. Be faithful. If you already know it, don’t procrastinate further. Start fulfilling the assignment today.
If you’re faithful in using your talents or gifts, God will reward you. The lord in the parable of the talents said to the servant who gained five more talents with his five talents, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord” (Matthew 25:21 New King James Version).
Similarly, he said to the servant who gained two talents with the two talents he was given, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord” (verse 23 New King James Version).
But what did he say to the spectator, the servant who was idle and went to hide his talent in the ground? “You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents” (verses 26-28 New King James Version).
Don’t be a spectator in church instead of contributing your quota to the advancement of the Kingdom of God by rendering diligent service. The gift of some people is criticism! They criticize what others do in church and do nothing more than that. That’s destructive criticism. Obviously, criticism is not one of the gifts of the Spirit!
What moral justification does an idle person, a mere spectator, have to criticize someone who is serving in the house of using his gifts though he is not perfect. God does not expect him to be perfect; He only demands that he should be faithful. “Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2 New King James Version).
Don’t be a spectator in church. If you are idle in church, rather than criticize the choir, the prayer band, the ushers, etc. join them and add value to what they’re doing. Don’t be an armchair critic. Don’t devote your time to criticism; devote it to serving in the house of God. And there are so many areas to serve more than what many people focus on.
Revelation 22:12 says, “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work” (New King James Version). What kind of reward will someone receive for being a spectator in church when Jesus comes? Stop being a spectator in church. Be a worker in God’s vineyard.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, I shall no more criticize those who are serving You. I shall use the special abilities or gifts You have given me to serve in the kingdom of God, passing to others God’s many kinds of blessings. Father, cause all the gifts in members in different Christian assemblies to be released and harnessed for the advancement of Your Kingdom of God on earth
(For over 400 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit: www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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