When we are having problems in our lives, we often make statements to God that we will do such and such if He will answer our prayers with a “yes”. Then, when He has fulfilled His commitment and the seas are calm, we often forget to perform our part of the contract. Perhaps, we have said that if God would bless us financially, we would increase our tithe and we haven’t done that yet. Or, perhaps we have felt that we were in physical danger and God delivered us in answer to our prayer but we have yet to fulfill the contract.. This puts our very lives and souls in danger. When we make a vow to do this or that for God, we must be careful to fulfill this vow as quickly as possible. Take the case of Ananias and Sapphira in the book of Acts. They sold a piece of property for an amount of money, how much we don’t know. Ananias and his wife had agreed to keep part of the money but to tell the apostles they were giving the full amount. Ananias brought some money to the apostles and told them that it was the full amount of the purchase price. This was not true and when Peter pointed out that Ananias had not only lied to them but to the Holy Spirit, Ananias was struck dead immediately. The same thing happened when Sapphira came in and told the same story.
We must be very careful when we make vows and promises to God. He is not a man that He should lie and we cannot keep secrets from Him. If we have made a commitment to Him, whether the commitment is financial, more time spent with Him or a change in our lifestyles, we must be careful to make sure that our actions are consistent with our promises.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
We are told in verse one that “God gave Paul the power to perform unusual miracles.” In verse twenty, we see the reason for this was to spread the Good News about Jesus and the redemption story. The spreading of the Gospel always has a powerful effect on all those that hear. To those that hear and believe, it brings new life. To those who hear but refuse to believe, it brings death. Anytime the name of Jesus is spoken those that hear it must make a decision right then and there. Either they will believe the Good News and receive life or they will refuse to believe and earn their way to hell. When the name of Jesus is spoken with the intent to glorify God, it contains all of the power that was present at the resurrection of Jesus. But when the name of Jesus is spoken with the intention of self-glory or for the mere purpose of gaining wealth, the result is confusion and chaos. Just ask the seven sons of Sveca. God is a God of miracles and miracles are still being performed today. Not all of us are given the power to perform miracles as Paul was. God gives different gifts to members of the body of Christ so that it can be whole and bring glory to Himself. God doesn’t perform miracles on a whim or on demand. Each time we witness a miracle we know that God has a purpose and a plan that requires a miracle to complete the plan. Miracles always affect more than one person. The person receiving the miracle is not the only one touched. Those seeing or listening that are already believers are encouraged and those who do not believe will be drawn to God.
In First Corinthians, Paul uses the human body to describe the relationship and the function of each individual member of the Church. Here in his second letter to Timothy, he uses the analogy of a wealthy home with many utensils. We can assume that a wealthy home would have all the utensils needed for every task, from the lowest to the highest. That home would also have a full staff of servants with one of those designated as the chief of all of the servants. This person would be responsible for making sure that each person was assigned a specific task or tasks and also that that person would be given the exact utensils he needed to complete the task. Some will tutor the kids, some will do windows and yes, some will do the bathrooms. All of the utensils and servants are there to care for the home, the master and his family. In this analogy, God would be the Master, Jesus would be the heir and the Holy Spirit would be the taskmaster assigning the tasks and giving out the utensils necessary to perform the tasks. The home is the Kingdom of God here on earth. The Holy Spirit knows who He has gifted to perform each task and no one can do it better than that person. We are to spend our time, not in foolish discussions about temporary things of little or no consequence, here or later, but in doing the tasks that the Holy Spirit has given us to do. If we do not, the Kingdom will not function as well as it should and the world around us will grow more evil as satan moves in to take the territory that we give up. I think we can see the proof of that all around us today.
22 The next day the crowd that had stayed on the far shore saw that the disciples had taken the only boat, and they realized Jesus had not gone with them. 23 Several boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the Lord had blessed the bread and the people had eaten. 24 So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went across to Capernaum to look for him. 25 They found him on the other side of the lake and asked, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” 26 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. 27 But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.”—-John 6:22-27 (NLT)
The people that Jesus had fed the day before came looking for Jesus. Perhaps they thought Jesus would feed them again or perform other miracles for them. But just as we are today, they were concerned about physical welfare and “now”, rather than Spiritual things and eternity. They missed the lesson that Jesus was trying to teach them because of their concerns. Jesus is still trying to teach us this lesson today. But, we are so busy trying to make a “living” that we miss the true life that Jesus wants us to have. Huge crowds still gather to see miracles today. People run here and there to see or participate in revivals and “spiritual movements”. Jesus tells us in John 10:10, that He came that we “might have life more abundantly”. That abundant life is not necessarily a life without problems or a life overflowing with money, It is a life of abundant joy and peace that we can have now in any situation, if we “cast our cares” on Him. Since our Father owns everything and give us the best gifts, there is no reason for us to stress over anything. After all, He has given us everything we need. 3 By his divine power the Lord has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of the one who called us by his own honor and glory–1 Peter 1:3 (CEB)