OUR PRAYER FOR THE COMING YEAR SHOULD BE THAT WE BE FAITHFUL
And sadly this standard of measurement has found its way into the Christian Church as well. How many came forward at the end of the meeting? How many hands were raised? Or how many ‘decision cards’ were signed? etc. I actually once met with a preacher who told me that he could go up to the pulpit where other ministers had failed to get enough ‘decisions’ and preach in such a way as to get a considerable amount of decisions, because he had the ‘anointing’ for it. (sic)
Experience has taught me that if you are an eloquent speaker with enough charm and skill and know how to press the right emotional buttons you can actually get a lot of people to ‘come forward’ or make a ‘decision’ for Christ. But such ‘fruit’ (fruit if you could call it) never lasts. What truly lasts is the work of the Holy Spirit in the ministry of a preacher where the Word is faithfully proclaimed in all its fullness.
The late William Parks B.A. of Openshaw said it well “Were ‘the Word’ is faithfully preached, no crowds or masses will be found”.
Thankfully our Lord does not measure us by our ‘successes, but rather our faithfulness! He never said, “Well done thou good and SUCCESSFUL servant” but rather “well done thou good and FAITHFUL servant”. “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found FAITHFUL.” [1Cor 4:2] As long as we are faithful to preach the Gospel to the ones whom the Lord leads us to and tell them what He wants us to tell them, then we can say with the Apostle as we near our journeys end, “I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” [Acts 20:26,27]
So may THAT be our prayer for the coming year – i.e. that we be FAITHFUL to God and to our own conscience both in our ministry and in our daily walk before Him.
The Lord said, “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life!” [Rev 2:10]
You might be thinking to yourself, “How in the world am I going to be faithful UNTO DEATH?! That seems like an impossible task for someone so weak and frail as me.”
Hey, to be “faithful unto death” just be faithful TODAY! One day at a time. It is always tomorrow the enemy gets you all worried about. The Master said, “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” [Matt 6:34]
A lady once asked a preacher if he had ‘dying grace’ and he retorted, “No!” She said, “How come?” And he shot back, “cause I ain’t dying yet!” Grace for the hour and supply for the need . . . WHEN the hour comes and WHEN the need arises, not before!
“As thy days, so shall thy strength be.” [Deut 33:25]
Commenting on this Spurgeon says, “The promise is “As thy days, so shall thy strength be. “When your vessel gets empty then will I fill it; I will not give you any extra, over and above. When you are weak then I will make you strong; but I will not give you any extra strength to lay by: strength enough to bear your sufferings, and to do your duty; but no strength to play at matches with your brethren and sisters in order to get the glory to yourselves.” Oh! if we had strength according to our wishes we should soon all of us be like Jeshurun, -wax fat, and begin to kick against the Most High. Then again, there is another limit.
It says “As thy days so shall thy strength be.” It does not any, “as thy ‘weeks’ or months’ but thy ‘days’. You are not going to have Monday’s grace given you on a Sunday, nor Tuesday’s grace on a Monday. You shall have Monday’s grace given you on Monday morning as soon as you rise and want it; you shall not have it given you on Saturday night; you shall have it “day by day”- no more than you want, no less than you want. I do not believe God’s people are to be trusted with a week’s grace all at once.”
As an old songs goes –
One day at a time sweet Jesus, that’s all I’m asking from You
Give me the strength to do everyday what I have to do
Yesterday’s gone sweet Jesus, and tomorrow may never be mine
So for my sake teach me to take one day at a time.
May the good Lord give us all the grace to be faithful one day at a time, each day and every day until on that great Day we hear those blessed words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” [Matt 25:21] Amen!