Daily Archives: June 7, 2024



‭1 John 2:3-6 NLT‬
[3] “And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments. [4] If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. [5] But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. [6] Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.”

How often I catch myself praying earnestly for others who are not living up to standard but forget that I am exactly where they are.

The Apostle John’s first letter is full of encouragement to live what we believe. It’s no using claiming to love God but, in practice, being more concerned about self than others.

I watched a video clip of a pastor sharing a story of God’s miraculous intervention to defuse a life-threatening clash between two rival groups in my country. He told of God’s dealings with him, revealing an attitude in him which he, the pastor, initially denied until God exposed his heart.

God told him he was a racist. He vehemently denied this accusation until the truth was revealed. Racism, (which is a fallacy since there is only one race – the human race), is a ‘hot potato’, often called in to raise blood pressure in times of conflict. People immediately take sides and the fight is on.

God revealed the truth about ‘racism’. It’s not about the colour of our skin or the culture of our group. It’s about our indifference to the struggles of another class as long as our class is okay. For example, we don’t care about the poor as long as we have enough. We dodge the issue by thinking or saying, “It’s not my problem!” What about the jobless, or the children in abusive situations, or women who are being raped or murdered. The list is endless. No matter the colour or culture, do I really care?

Then I have to face the truth. Am I a participant or a parasite? A participant is one who is fully involved at whatever level the Lord places him or her. I cannot save the world. I cannot feed all the hungry or house all the homeless. I cannot take up every cause but… I can be whom God wants me to be and do what God calls and equips me to do where I am in the situation.

This was the issue, in Jesus’ story, of the man who received one talent and buried it. He refused to get involved by failing to increase what he had been lent.

This issue is especially relevant in the church. Since God’s priority is the church, He provides what is needed to grow Christ’s body here on earth.

The Holy Spirit gives every believer at least one spiritual gift to benefit believers in every way… material, physical, and spiritual.

‭1 Corinthians 12:7 NLT‬
[7] “A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.”

How can I identify my gift? What am I good at and love doing? What can I do to lift others up? What can I do in Christ’s body that confirms my gift by bringing me joy, satisfaction, and fulfilment? God equips us with qualities and abilities that we love doing but we must use them to hone, use, and grow in our ministry to others. If we neglect our gifts, we will become parasites, content to gain from others but not contributing to the growth and maturing of believers in the church.

“Pay it forward” is the model in the church. Gifts are essentially gifts to the body through us, not for a name or recognition for ourselves, but to serve others. I don’t think that God calls us to use our gifts to serve the world except when He clearly directs people that way.

However, He does instruct us to serve one another in the body, and for specific reasons. Loving service to one another and unity in the fellowship are powerful witnesses to the world that we are His disciples.

‭John 13:34, 35 NLT‬
[34] “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.
[35] Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

‭John 17:21 NLT‬
[21]”I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.”

It’s this teamwork, this mosaic of gifts that lends credence to our witness to Jesus. The world doesn’t know a love like this that gives selflessly what we could keep for ourselves unless we show it to them by our love for one another.

So, what does this have to do with praying God’s way?

Since, as Jesus said, we can do nothing without Him, prayer keeps our hearts in close fellowship with Him, sensitive to the Holy Spirit in us as He leads us in the use of our gifts. Prayer keeps us in touch with God’s power to work His grace in other lives as we minister to them.
Without this tight connection with the Lord, our ‘good works’ will be empty of the effectiveness we desire in our lives as believers together.

Be a giver, not a taker; be a participant, not a parasite, in this life.