Almost all of us have been in the position of having to pick out a gift for someone who has everything. That can prove to be quite difficult. At times like that we are prone to ask ourselves the question, "What would please that person and what could he or she really use?" Well Jesus fits into the category of having it all. "Psalms 50:10 etc. For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills."
Also we see in the Christian era writings, "Acts 17:24- God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needeth any thing; seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; etc.
It is evident that there is nothing that we can give God that is essential for his existance or well being. On the other hand we depend on him for everything. Well then, we are called for good works as it says in Ephesians 2:10- For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
What then can we do in the way of good works for Jesus? I will list a few that I think one can do. What are some things that we can give Him.
When it comes to setting priorities, we have already determined that Jesus will have top place in our life and all our activities. In short what He wants most of us is ourselves. In Rom. 12:1- So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life- your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around lift-and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out in you, develops well-formed maturity in you. (The Message) So when a question arises there is not any doubt as to our course of action regarding that particular thing. I see lots of trinkets in the stores now-a-days with WWJD on them. That acronym stands for what would Jesus do. We get so close to Him that we automatically do what he would in the same circumstances. When we get to that point we won't have nearly as many decisions to make and think of the load of worry that will be off our minds.
(KJV) Matt. 10:37: He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38: And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. 39: He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. 40: He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. 41: He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. 42: And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.
In this Yesuah is saying that he has to hold first place in his desciples' life. Even the things that we hold most dear must give place to our relationship to Yesuah. He was exactly right on when he stated that a man's (woman's) foes would be those of his or her own household. When we build a relationship with Him it provokes a jealousy lots of times among those that we are the closest to. They kind of get the idea, "Who are you to be following Jesus and not caring about your family?" This does not mean that we don't love our family members, but that Yesuah has top billing over them. When it comes to a showdown between them, he is the one who wins out in our dealings.
Additionally, we also will have a love for all of His desciples and they will have a high place in our life also. We will help each other and be kind to one another. Other Christians have a very special place in the hearts of Jesus's followers.
If we put Yesuah first place in our lives then it causes us to have compassion for other people. We ourselves feel their hurt and want to help them. Nothing is too demeaning to do to help one of the "little ones" as he calls them. We have compassion on those that the rest of the world has forgotten. By caring for and helping others we are indeed caring for and helping Jesus himself.
Whether we realize it or not every one of us has the same amount of time every day. How we use that time is determined by our priorities and desires. Each one of us orders the events of his life in their order of priority to him. If we find that we are not having any time for Jesus then maybe the place to look is our list of things in life that are important to us. Well, she might say, "How can I give time to the Lord when he gave me all the time that I have to start with?"
There is an old song that expresses very well what we can do with our time.
This old song just about covers it in our using our time for Jesus and for our fellow man. Indeed it will help us tremendously if every one of us will stop and take time to be holy. Holy is set apart and not a part of the run of the mill. When we take time to be holy then it sharpens the eyes of our spirit so that we can see the Lord. We are in the world but we are not of the world. We who are followers of Yesuah are set apart and are a special peculiar people. We can spend time in prayer, reading and meditating on the bible, and helping other people. We can read God's word but also we need to meditate on it and apply it to our own lives. We can just find a quiet place and ask the Pure (Holy) Spirit to speak to us. If we truly listen, we will hear the voice of God. Meditation, is a good thing to do because it slows us down and helps us to get quiet. Also, it allows us to think of one thing at a time. In the hectic days of our lives we often find our minds going all different directions at once. A question to ask oneself is, "When have I ever just sat down and thought about God and God only?" Then there is prayer. I have the opportunity to pray to God whenever and wherever I can. I need to keep the communications going from my end of the line. It is not a case that He doesn't know what I need even before I ask. But I surely do need to ask Him for my sake. So, time spent in prayer is very profitable. I need more than a quick formula that I repeat but I need to do some real communications with God. I believe that being a disciple of Jesus is more than an adjunct to your life, it is your life. It is not something that we go somewhere to perform or wait until some designated time to perform. The very acts of our life from day to day are our acts of worship.
Jesus said in Matt. 10:40-42 "We are intimately linked in this harvest work. Anyone who accepts what you do, accepts me, the One who sent you. Anyone who accepts what I do accepts my Father, who sent me. Accepting a messenger of God is as good as being God's messenger. Accepting someone's help is as good as giving someone help. This is a large work I've called you into, but don't be overwhelmed by it. It's best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice. You won't lose out on a thing. (The Message)
We do these small acts as we go about our daily living. Well, we might say," I don't see anything that I can do in my daily living." Or we might say, "everything is so small and boring in everyday affairs. How could I ever impress God with the things I do in my boring life?" I know that these questions crop up in our minds, because I have had personal experience with them. The Devil loves to convince us that there is nothing we can do.
Well, what are some things that I can do as a disciple?
Many that come to mind do not require lots of energy or expense. Many necessary things of life do not have a price tag on them.
A great difficulty for many people today is that they are lonely. That seemingly is a paradox in this crowed and bustling world. Nonetheless it is true. Many cry out for a kind word, a warm hand to hold and a smile. These three things cost nothing but yet we see such a scarcity of them in the world today. People just want to know that they are noticed and remembered and not forgotten. The loneliness is especially true among older folks. Maybe some of them have lost their entire family and everyone they have ever know in the world are gone from them. Some have lost their spouse, maybe of many years. And you don't even have to be older. Even younger people many times feel isolated in the crowd. If Satan can isolate people he can make them doubt, fear, and worry. These things take the mind off our Lord and Master. As disciples of Jesus we have a mission order. We must let them know that we see them and we also see their sorrow and loneliness.
Yes, you say, that is good in theory but how do you go about doing it? I think we sometimes have an overabundance of theory and a lack of the practical mechanics of doing things.
We all probably know some people who are alone in this life. Just pick up the telephone and dial them up. Say something like this, "I was just thinking about you. How are you doing? I just wanted to talk to you because I have missed you," or something to that effect. Then, most importantly, listen to them. Take whatever few minutes they want to talk to you and listen to them. After that, don't make this your last contact. Continue to check on them and be friends with them. They're sure to wonder what motivated you to do this and will ask you. Then tell them of the love of our Savior Jesus. Did you know that you might be the only one that ever would call that specific person due to circumstances of the way life is. Each one of us have some unique people whom we can reach and nobody else can. What a lift it will give to their life and to yours!
Visiting the sick, that is something where we do a pretty good job. But most of the time we visit friends or at least someone we know. That is fine and as is should be. We could however go to the reception desk and ask for someone we don't know and especially one that doesn't have any friends or family around. Go to that person's room. Tell them that you have just come to see them and ask if they want you to pray with them. Most of the time they will say they do. Then just sincerely pray and ask for God's healing power on them. Then you can ask them if they know Jesus. Don't be pushy but sincerely offer to help in any way that you can. You may become best of friends with that person and even become united in the family of God.
We also could call or write to someone that we don't particularly know well or like and just say hello and acknowledge that we are thinking about them. Especially pick out someone that you are not especially fond of. Sometimes we have very superficial reasons for not liking people. I was even guilty one time of disliking a person because he physically looked like someone that had done me a bad deed. Poor fellow couldn't even help it. Later we became very good friends. Talk and listen to them and think of any way that we can help them. Or we could stop and talk to someone on the street, someone that we do not at first thought think of very highly. You know the expression, "What a bum! They ought to do something about these people." Stop and talk to that person. Try to get to know him or her and above all treat them with respect and be sincere. Treat them as one that is made in the image and likeness of God. One might say, "Can I buy you lunch?", if they look hungry or some other need that you see.
There are many other things that we can do. I gave these for starters and examples. What others can you think of?
In Matthew chapter 25 is this quote: "When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angles with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep on his right and goats on his left. "Then the King will say to those on his right, "Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what's coming to you in this kingdom. It's been ready for you since the world's foundation. And here's why:
Our treasure includes our money but that is not all of our treasure.
"Where our treasure is there will our heart be also," Yesuah said.
That statement really hits the nail on the head. We all will put all
the time and effort in the world into the things that we love the most.
Our treasure might include our money but our money is by no means all
the treasure we have. A way to find out what we treasure is to sit down
and list the five things that mean to most to you in the world. Really
think about it and be honest. Then look at that list and tell yourself
which would you be willing to give up for Jesus. That doesn't mean
necessarily that He wants us to give them up but He just doesn't want
these things to come ahead of Him. After all he gave up much for us.
(KJV) Phil. 2:5: Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
(KJV)Phil 3:7-But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8: Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9: And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11: If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. 12: Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13: Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14: I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. We could think on this when we try to decide what we would be willing to give up. As with all things in being a disciple of Jesus it is the inward being that He is concerned with. What I want to do from now on is the count those things that I loved so much and took so much pride in as worthless in the light of knowing Jesus. From this day onward I want to stretch toward him as the prize and knowing Him and being in Him.
Jesus promises us if we follow Him he will give us rest. Praise God, we can lay those burdens and troubles on Him and we don't have to carry them ourselves. Jesus said this.
Matt. 11:28-28: Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29: Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30: For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
In the writings of Paul he tells us to cast all our care on the Lord. I Peter 5:6- Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
It is very comforting to just ponder the teachings of Jesus concerning not worrying.
Matt. 6:25- Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26: Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27: Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28: And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30: Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31: Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32: (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33: But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34: 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.
It is a great burden lifted from us to know that we don't have to worry about anything. He tells us first to look for the Kingdom of God and his righteousness. We are to seek that above all earthly things and that includes our money our circumstances and also our religion.
At some time in our life, each of us is going to come to a point when we must trust someone else. There is a place where we can not make it on our own. That point is where our faith has an opportunity to come out. Heb. 11:1- Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2: For by it the elders obtained a good report. 3: Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
I Tim. 4:10- For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe.
I Peter 2:21-For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: 24: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 25: For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.