Tuesday, January 13, 2015
A few years ago my son and I were watching a public television program entitled “Our Town” which featured local talent contests from each section of the city. I hesitate confessing it but I think we used to watch these programs mostly to see the poor contestants who definitely had no business being there. So much for those who may have thought I didn’t have a “dark side.” Anyway, a young man came on one day, who would not have been able to carry a tune if his life depended on it, who tried singing a popular country song at the time. I’m sure my son will immediately remember it when he reads today’s topic, and even though many people who saw it probably had a thousand guffaws at his expense, there was one thing about him that I will never forget, namely he put his heart and soul so completely into his “song” that he had tears in his eyes all the way through it. Perhaps, because what I saw that day made me feel ashamed of myself, I no longer tune in to programs of that type.
Nevertheless, here are some of the things the Lord either taught me or reminded me of on that day: The first is that God, so unlike the world, looks at the heart whenever people do things. Perhaps I’ve bored you with this pet saying of mine, but “Its not what you do but the reason you do it.” If God had been the official Judge on that day, this young man would have won that talent show hands down. Throughout the years, I’ve seen many Christian pastors, preachers, singers, and musicians in person or on television “do their thing” and although I can only suspect that God has given me the gift of spiritual discernment, I’m pretty sure I can tell the difference between “performing” and “ministering.” Let me give you an example I’ve used before: In a series of revival meetings in Los Angeles many years ago, designated speakers were invited to read or recite their favorite psalm. One night, a very famous screen actor from Hollywood came up and read the 23rd Psalm. Almost everyone in the crowd was impressed. The following night, an elderly gentleman was invited to recite his favorite psalm and he too chose Psalm 23, but by the time he finished reciting his psalm, there was not one dry eye in the audience. What made the difference? One knew the 23rd Psalm well and the other one knew the Shepherd personally.
So often, believers who feel they are not talented or gifted won’t venture out and try to serve God in a greater capacity because of it. God is interested in that we serve Him because we love Him more than whatever gifts or talents we may possess. A favorite verse of mine says: “And whatsoever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.”(Colossians 3:23) Gifts and talents are great but if they are not accompanied by love, they have very little value. Serve God, He wants to use you too.
Memory verse for the week: (John 12:26) “If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am , there shall also my servant be : if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.”