WISDOM FOR LIVING DEVOTIONAL
SEPTEMBER 1, 2020
TOPIC: GUARD WHAT GOD HAS ENTRUSTED TO YOU
BY T. O. BANSO
“Timothy, guard what God has entrusted to you. Avoid godless, foolish discussions with those who oppose you with their so-called knowledge. Some people have wandered from the faith by following such foolishness” (1 Timothy 6:20-21 New Living Translation).
One of the sons of the prophets disguised and told Ahab a story about himself, which was a prophecy on the punishment God had reserved for Ahab.
He told him, “Your servant went out into the midst of the battle; and there, a man came over and brought a man to me, and said, ‘Guard this man; if by any means he is missing, your life shall be for his life, or else you shall pay a talent of silver.’ While your servant was busy here and there, he was gone” (1 Kings 20:39-40a New King James Version). Please take note of the word, guard.
Ahab didn’t know that the man telling him the story was one of the sons of the prophets and was actually talking about him (Ahab). Ahab was quick to condemn the man. He told him, “So shall your judgment be; you yourself have decided it” (verse 40b New King James Version).
The son of the prophets quickly removed the bandage from his eyes and revealed his identity. Ahab recognized him. He said to Ahab, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Because you have let slip out of your hand a man whom I appointed to utter destruction, therefore your life shall go for his life, and your people for his people” (verse 42 New King James Version).
The man whom Ahab allowed to escape instead of killing him, was Ben-Hadad, the king of Syria. With the help of the LORD, Israel had defeated Syria in battle twice and in the second battle killed one hundred thousand Syrian foot soldiers in one day (1 Kings 20:29). The rest had fled to Aphek, into the city where a wall fell on twenty-seven thousand of the men. Ben-Hadad also fled into the city, and into an inner chamber.
At the suggestion of Ben-Hadad’s servants, they came to Ahab wearing sackcloth around his waists and ropes around his heads to beg that his life be spared. Ahab asked that they should bring him, calling him his brother. He spared his life instead of killing him. He made a treaty with him after promising to restore the cities, which his father took from Ahab’s father. He also promised that Ahab could set up marketplaces for himself in Damascus, as his father had done in Samaria.
What Ahab sought to benefit from the treaty was contrary to God’s plan. God had appointed Ben-Hadad unto death but Ahab allowed ‘what’ God had entrusted to him to escape. In the story told by the son of the prophet, he was the man who was busy here and there and allowed an enemy soldier entrusted to him to guard to escape. Don’t neglect or let whatever God has entrusted to you to suffer.
In closing his first letter to Timothy, his son in the ministry, Paul told him, “Timothy, guard what God has entrusted to you. Avoid godless, foolish discussions with those who oppose you with their so-called knowledge. Some people have wandered from the faith by following such foolishness” (1 Timothy 6:20-21 New Living Translation). Please take note again of that word, guard. It means to watch or keep.
Paul told Timothy to keep what God had committed into his hands. That’s talking about the truth of the Word of God communicated to him. There were irrelevant things that could distract him and cause him to lose the main thing. He must be able to distinguish between the real thing and the irrelevant. He must forgo certain things in order to keep what God had entrusted to him.
Timothy must avoid godless, foolish discussions with those who opposed him with their so-called knowledge. Why? Because such foolish discussions were dangerous or inimical to his ministry. He must avoid them so that he would not go the way of some people who had wandered from the faith by following such foolishness.
Anyone in the ministry today must also heed Paul’s counsel to Timothy. There are things they must forgo in order to keep what God has committed into their hands. In fact, they must guard what God has entrusted into their hands. That word guard presupposes that there is a threat. And surely, there are threats. Anyone who is not careful or vigilant enough could lose what has been entrusted to him.
In 2 Timothy 2:15-16, Paul gave Timothy a similar counsel: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness” (New King James Version).
Commit yourself to minister the Word of truth. Guard what God has entrusted to you. Run in your lane. Don’t get involved in unnecessary arguments, debates, or causes that will derail you from the race that God has set before you. There are some ministers who have lost direction or even their ministries because of this. Some were lured into some causes, deceived that they would derive some benefits that would help them to fulfil their call better. Such pursuits turned out to be the devil’s open doors.
Colossians 2:8 says, “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (New King James Version).
When Paul left Timothy in Ephesus, he told him, “Don’t let people waste time in endless speculation over myths and spiritual pedigrees. For these things only cause arguments; they don’t help people live a life of faith in God” (1 Timothy 1:4 New Living Translation).
Guard what God has entrusted to you. This is not a counsel for preachers alone. Every child of God must be well focused in his walk with God and avoid distractions. Don’t let anyone or anything distract you.
Don’t allow people like the Athenians and the foreigners in Athens to waste your time on useless discussions. “For all the Athenians and the foreigners who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing” (Acts 17:21 New King James Version).
1 Timothy 4:7 says, “Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives’ tales. Spend your time and energy in training yourself for spiritual fitness” (New Living Translation). Focus on the ministry of the Word of truth.
Paul also wrote something similar to Titus, his partner and fellow worker. He told him to rebuke the people of Crete as sternly as necessary to make them strong in the faith (Titus 1:13). Verse 14 says they must stop listening to Jewish myths and the commands of people who had turned their backs on the truth. Be careful!
In Titus 3:9, Paul also told Titus to avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. They are unproductive.
Every servant of God should guard what God has entrusted to him. “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine” (New King James Version).
If I may speak generally, what has God entrusted to you? Is it a ministry, a business, an orphanage, a hospital, etc.? Are you faithful to it? Are you guarding it as something precious or you’re dabbling into unnecessary, useless, and unproductive things? Are you guarding your family? Don’t be busy here and there. Face what God has entrusted to you. There would be distractions but don’t yield to them.
“They made me the keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept” (Song 1:6 New King James Version). Don’t neglect your own vineyard.
Guard what God has entrusted to you. Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown (Revelation 3:11b).
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 will guard the Word of truth and minister it to others in the name of Jesus. I will avoid unnecessary discussions and debates that do not advance the Kingdom of God on earth or edify anyone. I will not be busy here and there. I will face my assignment. I will guard what God has entrusted to me in Jesus’ name.
(For over 300 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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