Last December I was having several problems in my life. My car was breaking down, my computer broke down, and I was having money trouble. God was so present in the situation, however, and I was at a place of extreme peace. You can read all about it from my post in mid December by clicking HERE if you want to know the specifics. It was the perfect scenario for an awful Christmas, but those problems didn’t defeat me. For once, I was able to rest in the comfort and promise of God, knowing full well that I was loved and taken care of and that everything was going to be okay one way or another.
In the midst of that situation, a brother in Christ that I met at church last summer asked if he could swing by my house. I said sure, and he dropped by and said hey. Then he handed me an envelope and said that things had been good for him lately and he felt that the Lord wanted me to have something. He left, and when I went inside I saw that the envelope had money in it equal to about one week’s worth of pay for me.
I didn’t have a perfect reaction to this situation. As a matter of a fact, I went through a few emotions when I saw the money. My gut instinct was to try to give it back. Then I felt bad, like somehow this person felt guilted into giving me the money. Finally, I made a smart decision and got my brother on the phone. As a spiritual rock in my life, I can almost always count on him for great direction and he definitely had it that night. He called it an incredible blessing from God and said “praise God!” and reminded me that this was obviously the proper response. When I was on the phone with him I started crying because it hit me. God blessed me in a major way. God worked through that person to bless me in a huge way.
I was really appreciative of this person. What a blessing they were to me, and what a friend they were. I thanked them because they heard something from the Lord and took the direction and did it and in turn I received a huge blessing. That person’s obedience to God played into God showing me a great kindness and blessing that saved my Christmas (from a financial standpoint). I thanked that person, but I praised my God. I appreciated that person while I gave glory to my God for the blessing He brought upon my life.
There are two important truths you have to grasp in order to really get this whole concept. The first is this. Everything good is of God. Everything good in my life, everything good that happens to me, ultimately, it traces back to the Lord. He is the author of my joy, the source from which all goodness flows. So yes, while I appreciate and am thankful to my friend for the financial gift he gave me, guess who gave me the friend? I met this man at church, on a night when God brought the two of us together. If not for God, I never would’ve even known this person. Everything good in my life is of God.
The other important truth is that people who are obedient to the Lord and help others and carry out His will (like my brother in Christ did when he gifted me that money), their rewards will come from God. The reward in that situation was that he was obedient to God. God honors those who follow His ways, they store up rewards in heaven that will be bestowed upon them when they get there. My brother in Christ helped create a situation that caused me to praise the holy and loving God that we both serve. And I know him well enough to say with confidence that knowing he played a part in that was all the reward he’ll ever need for what he did. And I know my God well enough to say with confidence that this friend will be blessed and will be rewarded in heaven for what he did.
This is something God’s really been at work within me about because I think it’s something I’ve definitely struggled with in the past. I’ve had moments when I was younger, even in church where I’d hear an incredible message and be like “what a preacher!” and give little to no thought to God. My current pastor is a man I dearly love. He’s awesome, in fact. When he gives an incredible sermon, I admire him and I’m thankful for him. But I don’t assign any glory to him. I’m thankful and appreciative that he’s a man who really listens to God, that he’s got a strong heart and a strong desire not to tickle people’s ears and fill up the collection buckets but to deliver the absolute truth of the Lord. He’s obedient to the Lord, and as such he gets used as a conduit for the Lord. I’m very thankful for the man but I don’t praise him or elevate him to king of my life. I praise the power behind the pastor, the one true king, Jesus Christ.
There’s a certain type of person who probably isn’t going to hear what I’m saying today very well. They’re going to receive it badly. They probably think it’s wrong not to heap praises and rewards upon the head of the guy who brought me that money. And I understand that. I think that it takes knowledge of God and a love of God to grasp these truths. In the eyes of the world, praise and glory belongs to man. But let me share how this works for believers like my pastor and like my friend who gifted me the money. People who are being obedient to the Lord and helping others and being a blessing to others aren’t doing it for the earthly rewards. They’re not doing it for the praise and glory of mankind. I promise you, my pastor doesn’t need me to come slap him on the back and tell him how great he is after every single sermon. His work is in service to God, and his reward will come from God. As a matter of fact, more often than not, if you try to show your appreciation or thankfulness to a godly person they’ll respond with something like “God is good” or “It’s all thanks to the Lord” or “Thank you, it was all God.” Because they know where the glory belongs. They don’t want to be appointed king of your life, they don’t want to run the risk of you elevating them higher than you should.
PRAYER AND CLOSING
Father God, I know that true rewards come from you. So today, I want to ask that you bless those who have blessed me. I know they’re all storing up great treasure in heaven for how they’ve treated me, but I ask right now that you also bless them here on earth today. Lord I lift them up to you right now. You know the list Father, there are so many who have blessed my life so far this year. Those who teach and lead me in the church, the army of brothers and sisters who prayed over my health, the family that has done everything to support me and take care of me, the friends who have loved and helped me. I know I’m asking for a lot of blessings for a lot of people right now, but God, it’s just in relation to how much you’ve blessed me. You poured into my life a flood of love and support this year, and I’m asking that you multiply that back onto those who helped me. Show them your love in a way that’s undeniable. Gift them breakthroughs and comforts and victories and just explode your love in their lives today. And Father, I just want to thank you for all that you’ve done for me in 2016. You were with me in the hospital, you were with me while I recovered at home, and as I get stronger and healthier every day, you are with me. I went through something hard but I did not go through it alone. I’m so excited about my life, Lord, and I’m so excited about you. Thank you for the new beginning that you’ve granted me, and I pledge this new beginning to you. I live not for myself, but for you, Lord, and I ask that you take my life and use it in whatever way is needed. Work through me to show others your love, to bring them to a relationship with you. All glory and praise and honor to you, King Jesus, the only king in my life. Continue the great work you are doing in my life, and keep me humble and committed to the furtherance of your kingdom. I pray this in the precious name of Jesus, amen.
Well friends, it’s been a beautiful week for me and I hope you can say the same. God’s so present right now, it’s just such a beautiful time to be with Him and stay focused on Him. I love all of you and I hope you have a safe, relaxing, and enjoyable weekend!