Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
Today as I was driving home I got to thinking about how much zeal people in my major have for biology. Truly it is amazing how much they love their field and I agree if your going into a career you do need to have a passion for it to some degree and not go in for the money. What really prompted my heart so to speak is how much of a zeal they have for their field and they are not the only ones, I've seen others who major in education, math, physics,etc and something really got to me. What I mean by this is and I pray I'm using the correct usage of this word,but I became a bit righteously angry. Let me explain as a biologist you would expect them to be all about biology or a mathematician all about math, so naturally shouldn't a Christian be all about Christ. Well, brethren too often I am discouraged that there are those claiming the label but not showing the passion. This thought was on my mind and as I looked over some scripture it was this one that stuck out. Granted there was others,but this I do believe puts it in plain english and no one can avoid what it says without twisting the text.
Now I'd like to move into the text and I pray it encourages you. Please brothers and sisters know I doing this for your good and for God's glory. Consider this as encouragement and a reminder of how we should be living for Him. Do not think I am in anyway claiming perfection,but instead see a brother whose desire is that himself along with his brethren would grow in their zeal for serving God daily and conforming more and more to the image of Christ.
First off in this verse the Apostle Paul writes not slothful in business. Friends, slothful is one who is lazy,sluggish or idle. From those very characteristics does that sound like what Christ has called us to be. Think about the great commission. Where in that does it say, just wait around and they will come to you. No friends, the great commission is an active call to go out and share the gospel. Granted friends evangelism is but one part of it, it in no way involves one to be lazy for the Word nowhere says that He saves us just to let us sit around. Now granted we are all not preachers or teachers this does not give us cause to become idle,but instead is a call to serve Him in which He has gifted us.
The apostle continues with being fervent in spirit. Is your spirit burning for Him? Is the very reason you wake up for Him? Brethren a fervent spirit burns for Him in such a way in that they are consumed by Him. Let me give an example to expound on what is going through my mind. The other day while at school I walked through a narrow fence gate and immediately Matthew 7:14 came to mind. I thank God for this cause honestly I love how instead of picturing the world through my experiences I examine and view things through His Word. I must ask brothers and sisters is your zeal as the psalmists writes in the 119 psalm, " My zeal hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy words. I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; because they kept not thy word. ( Psalm 119:139,158 ) " Believe me a fervent spirit full of zeal will feel this way and today I can say I experienced it at work.
Last in this verse it says serving the Lord. So as I stated above already that one we are not to be slothful( lazy or idle) when serving the Lord. Two I mentioned we should be fervent in spirit. When you think about the Apostle Paul in a sense contrast two types: active and inactive. Sadly I see and this is the cause of what I pray is me using this term rightly, "righteous anger" the idle Christian. The one who clings to the identity by name and nothing more. They want nothing more than to show up on Sunday, read their bible and that's it. They seemingly don't want to grow or participate. In essence they take Christianity as a spectator sport and I'm here to declare that faith without works is dead. Christ did not save us to become a front row sitting attendant, He called us to be witnesses. Now your serving the Lord does not have to be huge or monumental, but serve Him. Whatever He has gifted you to do,do so with all your heart. Serve Him! Let me ask you this when it says to love the Lord your God with all you are( Deuteronomy 6:5 ) do you believe a lack of obedience is loving Him with all that you are?
Let me give examples of zeal and I do believe we have some examples in scripture of what zeal is. Here are just a few, " For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.
( Isaiah 62:1 ). " Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.(Daniel 3:16-18) " I ask do we have this zeal today? Now I am by no means saying I have achieved perfection as I've stated before,but I do believe we should desire this zeal. A zeal to serve God one in which Isaiah, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego clearly display in these passages.
A passage I came across today earlier before writing and one I've read before, not to mention its part of the study I'm doing in Titus speaks on this. Let me include and show you the relevance to tonight's devotional, " Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. ( Titus 2:14 ). Notice first this text is the Apostle Paul writing to Titus and here it states that Jesus gave Himself for us( the church, Matthew 1:21 , Ephesians 5:25 ), but notice also what it says at the end of the verse zealous of good works. Friends in no way is Paul teaching of a works based salvation, but instead that the Lord desires zealous people. Think about it brothers and sisters did the Apostles sit around hoping people would come to them to hear about the Lord or were they fervent in spirit, zealous for Him, busy about His business. I'd venture to say a reading of the book of Acts will give a clear indication they were very zealous and granted it did cost them their life,but it didn't matter for as the Lord said, " For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. ( Matthew 16:25 )"
So brethren I ask this now are you zealous for Him? Do you contend for the gospel or compromise it? ( Proverbs 28:4, Proverbs 23:23 ) Friends zeal doesn't mean you go around quoting scripture and think look at me, but does your life show an outpouring of your love and adoration for Him. Think about the first Christian martyr Stephen. Could you if people were stoning you, ask the Lord to forgive them and lay not their iniquity upon them? Does His Word burn so much in your heart that even if you said I don't want to speak it, you can not help ,but say as did the prophet Jeremiah( Jeremiah 20:9 ).
Brethren I pray this has been an encouragement for you. May you grow in zeal to serve in Him all that you do for Him. As I stated the other night our passion and desire should be for Him alone. I've come to find that while yes I do have other desires as do we all my first and foremost passion and desire is Him. If someone were to ask me what means the most to you above all I would say God. Not because that sounds cliche or cause one could look at my profile and see that. The truth is nothing matters without Him. I know everything I have is because of Him and I've come to understand daily just as Job said, "And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. ( Job 1:21 ) " I brought nothing in this world and I know I will bring nothing out,but praise God for everything He has given me. I thank Him everyday for sustaining and upholding me for without Him I would surely fall. So brethren I pray for both you and I that our zeal for Him and to serve Him would only grow daily. May I leave you with some words from the Word for encouragement.
"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. "
( 1 Corinthians 15:58 )
"Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. "
" And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? "
( Luke 2:49 )
Good night and God bless,
John W. Whybrew III <><