WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
AUGUST 20, 2023
TOPIC: DON’T WRITE ANYONE OFF
BY T. O. BANSO
“And Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see’” (John 1:46 New King James Version).
One can write something or someone off. In other words, one can “decide that they are unimportant or useless and that they are not worth further serious attention” (Collins Dictionary).
Philip, one of Jesus’ disciples, had told Nathaniel about Jesus. But Nathaniel, in his response, expressed a popular derogatory sentiment about Narazeth. John 1:46 says, “And Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see’” (New King James Version). Nathanael wrote Nazareth off and, indeed, Jesus Christ. However, after meeting Jesus, Nathaniel became his disciple.
In Acts 15:36-41, because Mark had deserted Paul and Barnabas during their first missionary journey, the two had a fierce disagreement about taking him for their second journey. Probably writing Mark off, Paul wrote chose Silas for the journey to Asia Minor and Greece. Mark was Barnabas’ cousin. Barnabas insisted on taking him along and they travelled to his home country, Cyprus (Acts 4:36).
Later, when Paul was in Roman detention, he needed Mark! Apparently, they both had reconciled. Paul wrote to Timothy to bring Mark with him, for he was useful to him for ministry (2 Timothy 4:11). He also wrote to the church in Colosse a recommendation about Mark, giving instructions that if he came to them, they should welcome him (Colossians 4:10b).
Don’t be too quick to write people off because you may need them in the future. They may not appear promising now or meet your expectation in certain areas but you don’t know God’s plan for them.
Don’t write someone off because he is not academically brilliant. He can still improve or excel in another or other areas. An average student today may, in the future, emerge as the best among his colleagues.
Don’t write anyone off for any reason. Nobody is above change. People sometimes discover their real selves and pursue the right direction. Sometimes people sit down and make some life-changing decisions. So you need to be patient with people. “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others” (Colossians 3:13 New Living Translation).
Mark, whom Paul considered undependable, later became one of his close companions. In Philemon 23-24, Paul mentioned him as one of his fellow labourers! Paul worked again with someone he had written off in the past.
Don’t write Onesimus (unprofitable) off! Onesimus may be a thief today but he can become a saint tomorrow! Onesimus, a runaway slave, a thief, became a Christian while Paul was in Roman detention. Paul said in his letter of appeal to Philemon, Onesimus’ master, that Onesimus was once “unprofitable to you, but now is profitable to you and to me” (Philemon 11 New King James Version). Onesimus changed and became worthy of Paul’s recommendation (Philemon 12; Colossians 4:9). Don’t write anyone off.
Saul may be a persecutor of the church today but Paul can come out of Saul tomorrow (Acts 9:1-22; 1 Timothy 1:13-14). Don’t write him off. The Lord told Ananias, a certain disciple at Damascus, in a vision, to arise and go to the street called Straight and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus who was praying there.
He further told Ananias that in a vision Saul had seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him so that he might receive his sight (Acts 9:11-12). In other words, the Lord told him to go and pray for Saul, the persecutor of the church, so that his blind eyes would be opened. The assignment the Lord gave Ananias must have surprised him. Everybody knew Saul was a dangerous man. Probably he thought that if Saul was blind as the Lord had said, that was good for the church! He should remain in that condition. The church would have some rest!
But this is exactly what the Bible says: “Then Ananias answered, ‘Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name’” (Acts 9:13-14 New King James Version). Did you see that? Ananias wasn’t thinking of the possibility of Saul being saved. Many would have written off Saul and justified it considering his acts of persecution against the church. Why would anyone want Saul’s blind eyes opened?
Ananias never knew that Saul had had an encounter with the Lord on his way to Damascus to persecute the saints. The Lord replied to Ananias: “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake” (verses 15-16 New King James Version).
One of the thieves nailed to the cross with Jesus was already written off as a criminal but at the eleventh hour, he surrendered to Jesus and made it to Paradise (Luke 23:39-43). There’s no sinner too lost that God can’t save! (John 6:37; Isaiah 1:18). Jesus told the woman the teachers of the law and the Pharisees said was caught in adultery and brought to Him. “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more” (John 8:11b New King James Version). He didn’t write her off. Don’t write anyone off.
You may have been praying for the salvation of your son, husband, relation, or friend but there seems to be no positive result. Things could even be getting worse for them. Don’t give up on them. Don’t write them off. Keep praying for them (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
Is someone you know currently in a lowly position or has suffered a setback? Please, don’t write him off. There is a resurrection after the crucifixion! It’s possible for a man who is down to rise again. “Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; when I fall, I will arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me” (Micah 7:8 New King James Version). Job lost everything but God blessed his latter days more than his beginning (Job 42:12).
Don’t write anyone off because of what you have heard, seen, or known about them. Anyone can change. You’re not their Maker. You don’t know their destiny. Proverbs 11:12 says, “It is foolish to belittle one’s neighbor; a sensible person keeps quiet” New Living Translation). Keep quiet; you don’t know what is going to happen next in their lives.
In 2 Samuel 16:5-13, Shimei cursed David as he fled from his son, Absalom, who had deposed him. Shimei made a foolish utterance. As he went, he cursed David, throwing stones at him and tossing dust into the air. He didn’t consider the consequences of his words. Shimei wrote David off. He believed that was the end of David. He never knew David would return to the throne.
Don’t write people off when things are not going well for them or they are going through some challenges. Be careful how you talk to them. They may soon come out of that situation, and what you’ve spoken would either count for or against you.
David’s men eventually quelled Absalom’s rebellion. While David was on his way back to the throne and Shimei had to eat his words, begging for his life (2 Samuel 19:18b-23). David spared his life. He forgave him, but he didn’t forget!
Before David died, he handed over his case to Solomon, his successor, to execute judgment on him – Shimei must die a bloody death! (1 Kings 2:8-9). Solomon got him killed for cursing his father. That was after he had violated Solomon’s word never to go out of Jerusalem (1 Kings 2:36-46).
Don’t write anyone off.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that 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 God raised Him on 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 a palm tree and grow like a 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, help me not to write anyone off but to relate with them in love and pray for them. Help me to always expect good things to come out of the lives of people no matter how discouraging what is currently going on in their lives. Father, frustrate the plans of the devil in their lives and let Your will be done.
This is wisdom for living, and it’s worth sharing. Please share.
(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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