God Is Magnified When We Serve with His Strength
"If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen." (1 Peter 4:11)
What does it mean to "minister...as of the ability which God giveth"? It means that when we do work for the Lord, we ought to do it by His power, and not in our own strength.
Our talents and abilities all come from God. Even the time that we have to serve God is given to us by God! But sometimes believers start to forget that without Christ, they can do nothing . (See John 15:5.) They start relying and depending on their own efforts and their own ideas and their own hard work--and they forget to rely and depend on God. In fact, they forget God altogether sometimes! These believers need to be humble and remember that they need God''s strength in order to do ministry work that glorifies Him.
On the other hand, some believers are afraid to get too involved with ministry work. They think, "I am not talented enough. I am uncomfortable in situations. So-and-so is a better such-and-such than I would be. I don''t really have time. I don''t really feel ''up to'' this kind of a thing." Sometimes, believers start to forget that through Christ, they can do anything that He wants them to do. (See Philippians 4:13.) These believers need to be encouraged and remember that they have God''s strength available to them, and that it honors Him when His people use that strength for His work.
When you help clean at your church''s meeting place, did you know that what you do ought to reflect your dependence on God''s strength? When you obey your parents, you should do so in dependence upon the Lord. When you offer to do yard work for an elderly couple in your neighborhood, or when you take care of your younger siblings, or when you are asked to do a ministry job that just really scares you for some reason--remember that you can do it with God''s help, and that it is a glory to God when you serve with the strength He gives you.
Think about the last time you offered to do some work as a ministry to someone. Were you doing it for the right reasons? Were you counting on your own ideas and your own efforts? Were you hoping to get some special recognition for all your hard labor and devoted sacrifices? Or were you really just taking the gifts and skills God has given you and glorifying Him by serving in His strength? Matthew 5:16 says, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Do your good works point others'' attention just to you? Or do they point to your Father in heaven?
An old preacher used to say, "A Christian is the only ''Bible'' some people will ever read." What kind of things are others "reading" about your God and His people when you serve? When you have a chance to minister to someone, honor God with your service: Minister to that person as God Himself would have you minister to that person.
God has given us abilities, time, and energy so that we can rely on and glorify His strength.
» How do I respond to ministry opportunities?
» Am I using my gifts and skills and time for myself, or do I use them to honor God and help others?
» How can I change the way I serve so that my ministry will point others to my almighty God?
Truth In Real Life
“It is a mercy that our lives are not left for us to plan, but that our Father chooses for us.”
At the beginning of his ministry in the mid-1800s, most of London seemed to love 19-year-old Charles Spurgeon, but Susannah Thompson was not impressed. She thought he got too excited when he preached, and she said of his hair, “Why, he looks like a barber’s assistant!” But things would soon change for Susannah. She eventually trusted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior under Charles Spurgeon’s sermons and was later discipled by his preaching, and by her life together with him. On January 9, 1856, Charles and Susannah became Mr. and Mrs. Spurgeon.
Charles and Susannah Spurgeon loved each other, loved the Lord, and determined to give their entire lives in Christian ministry together. Their strong bond of marriage – one of the strongest marriages ever recorded in Christian history – carried them both through many struggles and heartaches. Both experienced illness, and it is said that Susannah was not even able to leave her house for a period of about fifteen years. She maintained her ministry as a wife and mother to the best of her ability.
Charles lovingly nicknamed her “wifey.” Although she was sick for much of her life, Susannah took care of her twin sons – both of whom God would choose to serve Him in ministry someday. She also began a book fund in which she raised money to give Bible books and commentaries to preachers who were too poor to buy them. During Susannah’s lifetime, she gave away nearly 200,000 books. Her last thoughts before her death were about this fund and the preachers who still needed books.
Susannah Spurgeon is remembered for encouraging and ministering to God’s men in full-time ministry. What can you do to be a blessing to your pastor? You can pray for him, write him notes of encouragement, heed his instruction, and let him know you appreciate him! Have you ever been sick for a long period of time like Susannah? Are you ever tempted to sit around and be angry at God for choosing certain circumstances for you, or do you try to think of ways you can encourage others from exactly where He has put you?
Romans 12:11 – Not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.