1 Peter 4:7 ¶ But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful (self-controlled and sober-minded) in your prayers. 8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins." 9 Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. 10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
We were reminded again on Good Friday that Christ suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous! We did not deserve the grace that God has bestowed on us when He imputed the righteousness of Christ to us. In our celebration of Resurrection Sunday, our Pastor brought three witnesses before us: Mary, who had a devoted heart; John, who had an analytical mind; & Thomas, who was skeptical, but was treated with the most amazing kindness and grace.
I have been thinking about these three witnesses. God used three totally different people, with different strengths and weaknesses, to spread the message that Jesus is alive. Each of them ministered by word and deed to fellow believers.
Amy of Amy's Humble Musings recently coined the phrase, "trump verse". If there is a trump verse, she stated, it must be that we are to love God with all our heart, and love our neighbour as ourself.
Knowing that the end of all things is near - a moment away (I am not guaranteed the next breath or the next heartbeat) I am to be self-controlled and sober-minded. Jesus, the resurrected Saviour, and my Lord and Master, could return before my head hits the pillow tonight. I must live in the light of eternity, and choose wisely. How am I spending these precious moments alloted to me? What battles am I engaging in? Who am I encouraging?
Above all, I am to have fervent love for my brothers and sisters in Christ. I am to love them earnestly, covering their sins and my own with that love. So that means that if someone sins against me, I am to cover their sin with love. If someone sins against me, I am to cover my own sin (the tendency to respond in anger, lashing out to protect myself) with love. How am I doing when someone falsely accuses me or does me harm? Am I reacting as Jesus did, or am I self-protective?
I am to be hospitable - given to generous and cordial reception of guest, offering a pleasant or sustaining environment to them, without grumbling. How often have I welcomed guests into my home? Have I grumbled about the mess? Have I gone out of my way to make them feel at home?
I am to serve others with the gifts and abilities God has graciously given me. Holding nothing back. Recognizing that everything I have is from God, and that I am to love Him with all of my heart, and to love my neighbour as myself, I must serve. It also means that I am to serve in any capacity, from the lowly washing of a dish to the more exalted teaching of women. No matter what the task at hand, if I am able to do it, I should do it fervently! It is God Who has given me the ability; it is He who has appointed the task. Do I view every chance to serve as an opportunity to glorify God? Do I see that He ordained that I would have the ability to teach that children's story or write that article? Am I in awe of this Beautiful God who uses such broken vessels to accomplish His will?
When I open my mouth, I am to speak oracles of God! Matthew Henry writes, "What Christians in private, or ministers in public, teach and speak must be the pure word and oracles of God. As to the manner of speaking, it must be with the seriousness, reverence, and solemnity, that become those holy and divine oracles." Do I watch what proceeds out of my mouth? Have I examined my words, oral and written, comparing them to the Pure Word of God? Do I edify, or do I destroy? Do I encourage, or do I dishearten?
When I serve, I am to do it with the strength that God supplies. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I can teach that course, solve that disagreement, listen to that child's chatter. No matter how exhausted I am, God is my strength. He is my song. He gives me joy as I serve. But do I depend on Him? Do I work in my own strength, or do I accomplish my tasks with a full acknowledgment that I am only the branch - He is the Vine - and without Him, I can do nothing?
Whatever I do, in word or in deed, do I do it all to the glory of God? For that is the purpose of my existence.
I pray that in all things that I do or say, God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To Him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.