9 A brother of humble means should rejoice in his having been exalted, 10 and a rich person in his having been humbled, because he will fade away like a wild flower. 11 For the sun comes up with its scorching heat and dries up the grass. The flower in it drops off, and its beauty is gone. That is how the rich person will fade away in his pursuits. - James 1:9-11 ISV
God has people in all levels of society, from the homeless to those living in huge homes and castles. Whether we are rich or poor, from the human viewpoint, has no effect on how God sees us and whether or not, He can use us. We are all special in His eyes and worthy of His death on the cross. Not all us are capable of playing musical instruments but, in a band or an orchestra, every player must play the right notes for the music to be appreciated, Even fewer of us will be band directors or orchestra leaders. And that is a very good thing. Because we need farmers, doctors, business men and women, educators, engineers, scientists, as well as someone to fill all the other positions that are needed for our survival. God has given each of us a talent that He can use for His glory if we will allow Him to do so. While we are all very special in God’s eyes and have special talents, we are all alike in that we will all have temptations to avoid and trials to go through. For us to persevere, we will need to keep our eyes and our hearts focused on Jesus and not on the world around us. Regardless of our social position or our economic value, Jesus expects us to allow Him to use us to further His Kingdom here on earth. When we learn total dependence on Jesus, the worldly things will become of much less importance to us and we can be joyful in the fact that Jesus considered us worthy. Worthy enough that He would choose to die for us, worthy enough to allow us to be a part of His team and worthy enough to spend an eternity with Him in glory. We should never belittle His gift and His opinion of us by not using our talents to glorify Him.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
1 Finally, my dear friends, since you belong to the Lord Jesus, we beg and urge you to live as we taught you. Then you will please God. You are already living that way, but try even harder. — 1 Thess. 4:1 CEV
When it comes to living a Holy Life, I am learning to never say “I have learned”. I find it much more truthful to say “I am learning”. It seems that every time I think I have my mind wrapped around a Biblical concept, God opens each verse a little wider and I see there is more to it than I thought. I am not sure that I will ever graduate from Spiritual kindergarten. I believe that is why Paul carries the theme of learning, teaching, and encouraging throughout the book of 1 Thessalonians. We must continue to study and to mentor others until Jesus calls us home. To me, that is part of the beauty of Scriptures. They just never grow old or boring, Every day,God has something fresh, new, awesome, and wonderful for us to learn and to teach others
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
As we progress through life, we all pick up references from different sources. These sources can be environomental, familial, societal, or experiential. For example, have you ever tried to describe the taste of celery to anyone who has never tasted celery? To what would you compare it? You can’t just say that it tastes good or bad, since you don’t have a reference for the other person’s taste buds. These references cause us to form opinions about the things and the people that we see and meet along the way. So, when we meet someone that has had different experiences, we need to determine if we are looking at the world through the same set of glasses. When I say I am hungry, I usually just mean that I haven’t eaten in the last few hours. When a destitute person says they are hungry, it could very well mean that they haven’t eaten for days. So, the references we have had and the opinions we have based on those references cause us to see the world from different perspectives.
Think about the word “beautiful” and what comes to mind? For some, it is mountains, for others, it is seascapes, and to a hungry person, fields of grain could be the most beautiful sight in the world. I like what John Cage had to say about “beuatiful”—“The first question I ask myself when something doesn’t seem to be beautiful is ‘why do I think it’s not beautiful?’. And very shortly I discover that there is no reason.”
Does this mean that everything in the world is beautiful? No, of course not, hunger, violence, abuse, and prejudices are not meant to be beautiful. That brings us to the real question. How do we perceive and respond to those who think these things are beautiful?