I have often heard Bishop Dale Bronner, pastor of Word of Faith Family Worship Cathedral, say the following:
We are given to give;
We are taught to teach;
We are comforted to comfort.
However, the last time I heard this declaration I said to myself, “Can I be trusted with these benefits?” The Encarta Dictionary
defines benefits as “something that has a good effect or promotes well-being.” I started thinking of the many benefits God provides
for His children to use for our own spiritual well being and that of fellow believers. But I questioned if I am always trustworthy in
using them as he intends. As a parent I know that children do not always appreciate the benefits afforded them. As God’s children
are we any different? Below are some of the benefits God has entrusted to his children that we often fail to use. Ask yourself if you
can be trusted with them.
Can I be trusted to honor God’s timing? To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven (Ecclesiastes
God told Jeremiah that He knew him before his conception (Jeremiah 1:5) and had plans for him (Jeremiah 29:11), which is no
different for us. God created us to serve based on His perfect timing, not our personal agenda or schedule. However, many
Christians fail to respond appropriately to God’s timing by moving too hastily, procrastinating, or serving past their God-appointed
season. Jesus exemplified the importance of operating within one's season. When Mary asked him to handle the wine shortage at
the wedding reception he responded, “my hour has not yet come” (John 2:4). Jesus also demonstrated the need to move hastily
when directed to do so. He told the disciples that he had to work while it was day (i.e., which was the time allotted him to do God’s
will) because night would eventually come and his ability to work would cease (John 9:4). Jesus also recognized that He had to leave
His early ministry in order for the Holy Spirit to come (John 16:7). Many things can cause us to be out of step with God’s timing
such as fear, low self confidence, selfishness, pride, or the need for control. The key to determining if you are acting within God’s
will or your own is to ask yourself if you are striving to please yourself or God. As the saying goes, “Timing is everything.” Paul
said that Christ even died, “at the right time,” (Romans 5:6) neither too soon nor too late! Are you on God’s clock or your own?
Can I be trusted to use my spiritual gifts? As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good
stewards of the manifold grace of God (1 Peter 4:9).
Paul teaches that God gives each believer spiritual gifts for the common good of the body (1 Corinthians 12:7). The purpose of
spiritual gifts is to enable believers to conduct the work of ministry as God directs. Spiritual gifts are so important in the life of
believers that Paul discusses them in detail in three of his letters: Romans 12:3-7; 1 Corinthians 12:1-12, 28; and Ephesians 4:11.
Further, he challenged Timothy to “stir up the gift of God” within him and to use it with power, not fear because it came from the
Holy Spirit. (2 Timothy 1:6-7). This same challenge is for all believers. Paul wrote that our gifts are irrevocable (Romans 11:29).
Hence, failing to use them is essentially disobedience. Are you boldly using yours in service?
Can I be trusted to exercise my faith? For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of
himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
God has given each believer some faith by which to serve Him. However, faith is like a muscle; it is strengthened when exercised.
James said that Adam's faith was perfected as a result of his works (James 2:22). The Bible teaches that mature believers exercise
faith on their own behalf as well as that of others. Many of us readily exercise faith for ourselves, but far fewer of us intercede for
others. However, Matthew 9:1-2 and Luke 5:18-20 depicts how cripples were healed because of the faith of their friends. James
also teaches that believers who are sick will be saved when elders pray the “prayer of faith” (James 5:13-15). When was the last
time you used your faith to aid a fellow believer?
Can I be trusted to show mercy? And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation (Luke 1:50).
In this passage the Greek word “eleo” is used for mercy, which means kindness or good will towards the miserable and the
afflicted, joined with a desire to help them. Luke was essentially reiterating the words of the psalmist who declared that the loving
kindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting for those who fear the Him (Psalm 103:17). Just as God promises to be
merciful to us despite our sins, we are to show similar mercy to those who offend us. Jesus illustrated the consequences of doing
otherwise in the story of the merciful kings and his unmerciful slave in Matthew 18:21-35. Extending mercy is the theme of the
book of Philemon, in which Paul asks Philemon to receive as a fellow believer his runaway slave, Onesimus, upon his return. Are
you merciful to those who have wronged you?
Can I be trusted to maintain peace? Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you, not as the word gives do I give to you. Let not
you heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:27)
Peace in this instance has several meanings: peace between individuals (i.e. harmony, concord), security, safety, prosperity, and
felicity. However, my favorite is, “the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, fearing nothing from God, and
content with its earthly lot.” God does not promise believers a trouble-free life. However, He promises to be present during times of
trouble. Recognizing that peace is the very presence of God, Paul encouraged members of the church in Philippi to seek peace with
others (4:1-3), peace with self (4:4-9) and peace with circumstances (4:10-23). Such peace reflects the absence of worry, which
according to Luke is pointless (Luke 12:25-26)! There is a saying, “no God, no peace; know God, know peace.” Do you know
Can I be trusted to exemplify Christ? For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you (John 13:15).
Jesus uttered these words to the apostles as He was washing their feet at the last supper. Realizing His earthly life would soon end,
He used this occasion to teach the apostles a final lesson on servant hood. Jesus spent His time on earth showing believers how to
live and left us with examples for handling every aspect of life (e.g., relationships, money, working, ministry, etc.). Paul understood
this and strove to live a life that reflected Christ’s example. He told the Corinthians, “Pattern yourselves after me (follow my
example), as I imitate and follow Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). Can you make that appeal as well?
Peter wrote that God has given us everything we need to live godly through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory
and excellence (2 Peter 1:3). The psalmist declared, “Bless the Lord O my soul, and forget not all his benefits (Psalm 103:2). He
later asked, “What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me?” (Psalm 116:12). God provides His children with an
exceptional benefits package. Can you be trusted with it?
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