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Spiritually Selfish

Spiritually Selfish

We’re continuing our walk through the Gospel of Luke. For the last few posts, I’ve been talking about the Lord’s Prayer.

At one point, I talked about our daily bread, and I related it to receiving God’s Word on a daily basis. As we continue in this chapter, Christ now gives a parable concerning bread. I want to continue that discussion.

We’re going to do that by looking at a parable which few ever teach about. We need to see how the bread of the Word applies to our daily lives.

Then he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.’

Luke 11:5-6 NIV

This parable brings to light an incredible truth. Listen carefully to what the man is asking for. He’s seeking bread. But the important fact is the reason he wants it.

Is he hungry? Does he have no money to buy bread? Absolutely not! These are not the reasons he needs bread so desperately.

According to the man, a friend of his was on a journey and has come near to him. He opened his home to the friend, but has no bread to place before the friend.

According to Scripture, every human is on a journey. We’re all traveling from total spiritual darkness to maturity in Christ. We’re all at different places along this path.

What this man was saying is, “My friend’s path brought him into my sphere of influence. I need to help him become what God wants him to be.”

The man was not seeking the bread of the Word for himself. He was seeking a Word that would meet the need of someone else. This is something the church needs to hear. It seems that much of the time we’re self-absorbed.

Many times we find that we’re seeking things for ourselves. We seem to think it’s all about my healing, my prosperity, and my blessing. What we really need to do is to follow the example of Christ. Most of what He sought the Father for was bread that He could give to others.

Notice the humility. My friend has come to me and I have nothing of my own that could meet his needs. This is an admittance of our total dependency on God.

I’m trusting God to meet someone else’s need. But I want Him to send the supply through me. This requires us to admit our inability apart from the work of the Holy Spirit in us.

I believe this is what James was talking about in his book.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

James 5:16 NIV

James gives us this exhortation in the context of healing. We need to admit the areas for which we need prayer. But then, we also need to be in prayer for one another.

In the context of the above parable, James is saying that we should be constantly seeking bread for others. Praying for other people is a way of asking God the Father to supply us with the Word needed to bring healing into someone else’s life.

If all I ever pray about is my own needs, then I’m being very spiritually selfish. God wants us to be more than just a Christian organization. He wants us to be an organism – the body of Christ. In that way every part can be a help to all the other parts.

When you spend time in the presence of the Lord, remember to think of others. Listen for a Word that could be a help to them as well as yourself.

Question: How have you helped others along their road to maturity in Christ?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2022 in Faith, Healing, Ministry, Prayer, The Church

 

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Who are You Really Serving?

There are posts that I really enjoy writing.  There are others that I wrestle with God about publishing them.  I don’t want to be the one who rocks the boat.  Unfortunately, today’s post is one of those that I didn’t want to write.

Jesus was nearing the cross and the battle lines were being drawn between Him and the religious leaders of His day.

As he taught, Jesus said, “Watch out for the teachers of the law.  They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted in the marketplaces, and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets.  They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers.  Such men will be punished most severely.”
Mark 12:38-40

In Jesus’ day, there were those who taught the Scripture, while at the same time having an element of self-indulgence.  There were times that they taught the truth of God’s Word, drawing people closer to the Lord.  At the same time, they were feeding their own egos and lining their pockets.

These religious leaders liked the fact that they were highly esteemed among the people.  They were able to dress well and were readily recognized.  People wanted to be at the meetings when these leaders were present.

According to Jesus, for all of their training and knowledge, they weren’t scoring any points with God.  As a matter of fact, the Lord warned the crowds that they needed to do what these leaders taught, while at the same time rejecting their self-absorbed lifestyle (Matthew 23:1-4).

Jesus also condemns the religious system itself.  He points out the fact that their extravagant way of life is paid for by those who could least afford it.

That was the easy part of this post.  Now on to the difficult section…

Lately, I’ve been becoming more and more disheartened by the direction of our modern system of Christianity.  It seems like in many areas we’re taking on the attitude of corporate America.

What do I mean by this?  In most large corporations, the senior executives make more money than they could spend in ten lifetimes.  In that same company, the employees who do the bulk of the work can’t make ends meet with the one salary they earn from doing that job.

Now we have huge churches where the pastors have big homes, garages full of cars, private jets and a continual desire for more.  Many of their members have to work two or sometimes three jobs to make ends meet.  Granted, they’re preaching Jesus Christ and many are getting saved under their ministry.  But at what point is enough, enough?

I’m told that their luxurious lifestyle is the reward for their faithfulness in the ministry.  As a pastor who has been serving the same church for 30 years, I find that kind of thinking offensive.  I gave up a career where I was on track for a six-figure engineering salary when God called me.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not jealous of these preachers.  If I had it to do all over again I would gladly make the same choices for the honor of serving my Lord.  I just don’t like being told that the car I drive or the house I rent is the indication of how faithful I’ve been to the calling of God.

It’s nothing new.  The church has been dealing with this throughout history.  I like Paul’s attitude.

But what does it matter?  The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached.  And because of this I rejoice.
Philippians 1:18

That’s the attitude I want to portray.  I apologize if I seemed to be ranting.  I hold no ill will against any of my brothers or sisters in the ministry.  I simply want Christ to be exalted in His church.

Question: What is the true indication of faithfulness to God?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2018 in Faith, God's Provision, Ministry, The Church

 

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