WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
MAY 28, 2021
TOPIC: GOD REWARDS KINDNESS TO HIS SERVANTS
BY T. O. BANSO
“Look now, I know that this is a holy man of God, who passes by us regularly. Please, let us make a small upper room on the wall; and let us put a bed for him there, and a table and a chair and a lampstand; so it will be, whenever he comes to us, he can turn in there” (2 Kings 4:9-10 New King James Version).
Servants of God are gifts that God has given to the world (Ephesians 4:7-11). Although they have weaknesses like other human beings, you must not see them only as ordinary human beings. You should appreciate the grace of God upon their lives and the ministry that He has committed into their hands. More importantly, you should show them kindness.
The kindness you show any servant of God can never be in vain. “The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself” (Proverbs 11:25 New King James Version). Whatever a man sows, that he will also reap (Galatians 6:7).
In 2 Timothy 1:16, Paul prayed that the Lord would grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed him, and was not ashamed of his chain. He was referring to the kindness Onesiphorus and his household showed him while he was in the Roman prison.
Paul said, “But when he arrived in Rome, he sought me out very zealously and found me. The Lord grant to him that he may find mercy from the Lord in that Day — and you know very well how many ways he ministered to me at Ephesus” (2 Timothy 1:17-18 New King James Version).
In contrast, Paul talked about a man who was not kind to him but did him much evil. “Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works. You also must beware of him, for he has greatly resisted our words” (2 Timothy 4:14-15 New King James Version).
Are you showing kindness to servants of God or you’re doing them evil? Are you like Onesiphorus or like Alexander the coppersmith? Onesiphorus means profitable or bringing profit. Paul said to Timothy, “Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry” (2 Timothy 4:11b King James Version). Are you profitable to the servants of God or unprofitable?
Paul said that Onesimus, the runaway slave of Philemon, was once unprofitable but had become profitable to both of them (Philemon 11). Paul was referring to Onesimus’ new life as a believer in Christ through his ministry. There is a reward for whatever you do for or against a servant of God. You determine the reward you will receive.
The notable woman of Shunem was kind to the prophet of God, Elisha, without him begging her for anything. One day that Elisha went to Shunem, she persuaded him to eat some food. She must have felt so highly honoured feeding a servant of God that from then, as often as Elisha passed by, he would stop over in her house to eat.
This woman had a spiritual understanding of taking care of a servant of God and said to her husband, “Look now, I know that this is a holy man of God, who passes by us regularly. Please, let us make a small upper room on the wall; and let us put a bed for him there, and a table and a chair and a lampstand; so it will be, whenever he comes to us, he can turn in there” (2 Kings 4:9-10 New King James Version). This couple did this voluntarily. The woman didn’t see Elisha as a burden; she saw him as an opportunity to work for God.
God is no man’s debtor. Although the woman was not kind to Elisha so as to get anything from him, God remembered her and paid her back. Through the ministry of Elisha, this woman who had been barren received the miracle of a son. When the son died, God used Elisha to bring him back to life (2 Kings 4:11-37).
Also, through Elisha’s ministry, she received prophetic guidance to relocate because of an impending famine. She escaped the famine and when she returned after the famine, the king restored her land to her and the proceeds from it (2 Kings 8:1-6). All this happened because of the woman’s generosity to the prophet of God. She was kind to him and received a prophet’s reward.
Matthew 10:41 says, “He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward” (New King James Version). A prophet, especially in the New Testament, is someone God commissioned to deliver a message and not necessarily someone who predicts the future. Hebrews 6:10 says God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
The widow of Zarephath received the prophet Elijah in the name of a prophet and did according to the word of the LORD he spoke to her. She prepared food for him from a handful of flour and a little oil she had remaining in her house. Consequently, she, Elijah, and her household ate for many days. According to the word of the LORD by Elijah, the bin of flour was not used up and the jar of oil did not run dry (1 Kings 17:15-16).
In Jeremiah 39, the LORD announced His reward for a man who was kind to His servant, Jeremiah. He exempted him from the evil that would befall Jerusalem. “Meanwhile the word of the LORD had come to Jeremiah while he was shut up in the court of the prison, saying, ‘Go and speak to Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian, saying, Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will bring My words upon this city for adversity and not for good, and they shall be performed in that day before you” (Jeremiah 39:15-16 New King James Version).
The LORD continued: “But I will deliver you in that day, says the LORD, and you shall not be given into the hand of the men of whom you are afraid. For I will surely deliver you, and you shall not fall by the sword; but your life shall be as a prize to you, because you have put your trust’” (verses 17-18 New King James Version).
God never forgets the kindness shown to His servants. How was Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian mentioned in the scripture above kind to Jeremiah? Following the plea of the princes of Judah that Jeremiah should be killed, King Zedekiah of Judah had approved that they could do to him whatever they liked. Jeremiah was thus put in a dungeon without water but mire, and he sank in the mire.
Jeremiah’s crime was that he said, “Thus says the LORD: ‘He who remains in this city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence; but he who goes over to the Chaldeans shall live; his life shall be as a prize to him, and he shall live.’ Thus says the LORD: ‘This city shall surely be given into the hand of the king of Babylon’s army, which shall take it’” (Jeremiah 38:2-3 New King James Version).
After Jeremiah had been put in the dungeon without water but mire to die there, Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian, one of King Zedekiah’s eunuchs, came to tell the king, “My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet, whom they have cast into the dungeon, and he is likely to die from hunger in the place where he is. For there is no more bread in the city” (Jeremiah 38:9 New King James Version).
Zedekiah commanded Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian to take thirty men with him to lift Jeremiah out of the dungeon before he died. Ebed-Melech and the thirty men pulled Jeremiah up with ropes and lifted him out of the dungeon. That was how he rescued Jeremiah from untimely death, although he remained in the courtyard of the palace prison. If Ebed-Melech had not acted promptly, Jeremiah, except God intervened another way, could have died in that dungeon.
Whereas some men did evil to him, putting him in that dungeon, one man showed him kindness and his intervention paid off. Before Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians, God remembered Ebed-Melech. He said Ebed-Melech shall not be given into the hand of the men he was afraid of. “For I will surely deliver you, and you shall not fall by the sword; but your life shall be as a prize to you, because you have put your trust in Me, says the LORD’” (Jeremiah 39:18 New King James Version).
Don’t do evil to anyone, especially a servant of God. His God will either fight you or bless you. David told Abishai, one of his mighty men, concerning King Saul, “Do not destroy him; for who can stretch out his hand against the LORD’s anointed, and be guiltless?” (1 Samuel 26:9b New King James Version).
Be kind to God’s servants. Galatians 6:6 says, “Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches” (New King James Version). This scripture is not talking here about telling such a teacher/preacher, “God bless you”, “More grace”, and the like.
The New Living Translation puts it like this: “Those who are taught the word of God should help their teachers by paying them.” The Amplified Bible says, “The one who is taught the word [of God] is to share all good things with his teacher [contributing to his spiritual and material support).” The Philippians supported Paul in the ministry, and he said his God shall supply all their needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:14-19).
Mary anointed the body of Jesus with an expensive ointment not knowing that she was preparing His body for burial. Jesus responded to her kindness by saying that wherever the gospel was preached in the whole world, her good deed would be told (Matthew 26:13; Mark 14:9).
Do you remember the servants of God only when you have a problem that you want them to help you solve or you have regular communication with them? What kindness are you showing to God’s servants ministering to you? Do you do them good or evil? Do you contribute to meeting their needs or you only take from them? Are you causing problems for them or helping them to solve problems? God rewards kindness to His servants.
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: I shall be kind to God’s servants; I shall not do them any evil. I shall minister to the needs of the servants of God who are ministering to me, as God provides for me. I shall not be selfish in Jesus’ name. Holy Spirit, help me to refresh the servants of God ministering to me, not to depress them.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit: www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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