Posts tagged ‘faithful’

November 28, 2011

Expect Versus Demand

by pastortimfowler

Luke 12:48 But the servant who didn’t know what his master wanted and did things for which he deserved punishment will receive a light beating. A lot will be expected from everyone who has been given a lot. More will be demanded from everyone who has been entrusted with a lot.
This verse comes from the teaching of Jesus about an evil servant and a faithful caretaker. It teaches that there are degrees of punishment and reward as well as degrees of responsibility. I want to focus of the last half of the verse that has been italicized.
Yesterday was an awesome day for me. I celebrated my 50th birthday and the highlight, other than spending the day with my wife, was preaching that morning. I love to preach and on those rare years that my birthday falls on a Sunday I had much rather preach than take the day off. This was no different and as always it was special. I usually give my testimony and this was no different and at the end of it when the invitation was given, 3 people accepted Jesus and I now share my birthday with the day that they were born, again.
Being 50 is not much different from being 49. I am sure that will change as the year goes by. I hear that 50 is the new 27, so that is exciting. But 50 does bring a time of reflection or at least it did with me. I sat up Saturday night waiting on midnight to roll around and then I spent some time looking back at what I had done with my life. I realized that I had wasted far too much of it on things that did not matter. So I thought about the things that do matter and found them to be lacking and decided to see if I could change that in the next 50 years. So far, I have done a great job of keeping the things that matter outweighing the things that don’t.
One of the reasons that we don’t do the important things in life is because they matter to other people and there is a huge level of accountability involved. That is what the last half of the verse above says. But notice that even the last half of the verse can be broken into 2 statements. Lets look at them for a minute.
A lot will be expected from everyone who has been given a lot. I believe that there is something that God puts into all of us that says that we should be a compassionate people. I also believe that most people know that there is a God who is responsible for everything that we have. After all, only a fool says in his heart. “there is no God”. I also believe that God has an expectancy of those whom he created to be responsible with the things they have. If you have a lot, you have a lot expected of you. I believe those who have a lot will be judged more harshly than those who do not. I think that there is that teaching in this story where this verse comes from. I believe that this is talking to people who do not have a relationship with God of their Father.
The second half, More will be demanded from everyone who has been entrusted with a lot, I believe he is talking to those who know Jesus as Savior and God as Father. Here is why. It uses the word entrusted verses the word given. I did a study on these two words and found that given, as used here, is most commonly used when speaking of giving servants their work load. The word entrust is most commonly used when giving an inheritance or a trust to a family member. God therefore entrusts those who are His children with a task far more important that those who are merely slaves. The good name of the family is at stake and that is why more will be demanded of us.
Now here is the difference in two more words. Expect versus demand. Expecting comes with an uncertainty of accomplishment. Demands come with a certainty of accomplishment. If you have high expectations of a new college graduate quarterback to become a great pro quarterback and he fails, he didn’t live up to expectations. If he makes the team and is made the starting quarterback, the team then demands his continued best.
In that context, you can think of someone blessed with much but not knowing God as Father as being expected to do what is right, but those who know God as Father, are demanded to use what they have been entrusted with to protect the good name of the Lord.
I want to spend my next 50 years meeting the demands of what I have been entrusted with; The good news that Jesus loves and saves those who are lost.

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November 2, 2011

I Want To Be Great!

by pastortimfowler

King David was said to be a man after God’s heart. He did not start out as a king, in fact, he was a shepherd from a pretty normal family. When God chose him to be king, the only thing that he had going for him was that he trusted God and was a faithful shepherd. He was the kind of shepherd that did not mind the lonely nights and days and the dangers of wolves and lions. But he was not considered the strongest or bravest and wasn’t even the oldest of Jesse’s sons.
So why would God pick someone like that? We often look at great leaders as coming from a great bloodline and given everything from the finest schools to the finest training for taking over the leading role. The Bible says that God does not look at the outside and what we have to offer, but rather He looks on the inside, to what our heart has to offer, mainly faithfulness. And this shepherd boy from humble beginnings was that, faithful.
The history of David tells us that even after he was anointed king, there was a good bit of time before he actually took the throne. He spent much time ministering to an evil king that was trying to kill him. He remained faithful to whom God had put in place as a leader and even served him as the chief musician. During this time he gained the friendship and respect of the king’s son and many others who watched as the king tried to kill him.
David eventually fled to hide from the kings armies who were sent to kill him and many people followed him into hiding until the time was right to take on the battle at hand. Those who followed David were not the leaders of society, but many of them outcasts and fugitives. It was this group of rejected people who God used to defeat the king’s army and move David to the throne.
Once David became king, he never forgot those who helped him get there. He built a kingdom that was strong and one where the people respected the leader. God honored this and allowed the kingdom to expand and become the most powerful of its time. But then the riches and fame offered overwhelming temptation and David fell to it. He committed adultery and even murder to try to cover his sins. He became a miserable man, yet this did not change him from being known as a man after God’s heart. No, not right then, this title came early, before he was king, but God ensured that it stick throughout history. How?
If you read through the Psalms, you will see a time of writings that came from David, a broken man. One that realized that his sin was not just against an innocent woman and man, but most of all against a holy God that loved him. His misery and morning are poured out into these Psalms in a desperate cry for salvation and forgiveness and that is what seeks God’s heart.
God does not want the holy and righteous, because there are none. He seeks those who need to be forgiven because they have sinned and that includes all of us. When we fail, God does not want to punish us, but rather forgive and restore us, just as He did with David. I believe David wanted forgiveness more than any man ever has, and that is why he was known as a man after God’s heart. David knew God intimately and desired that closeness, especially once he realized he had lost it. When he cried out to God for help and sought forgiveness, God forgave him fully. He will do that for us too.
You don’t have to come from money or power or have a name that all know in order to be special in the eyes of God. All you need to do is humble yourself like David did and let God lift you up to greatness. Just don’t forget that the greatness God gives rarely looks like the greatness man claims. God, through Jesus Christ, can make you a child of the King and great in the Kingdom of God.