Earthen Vessels Archive 2008
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  • I got a dozen roses (poem)
  • God's Servants (poem) by Alma Norman
  • Patience in Serving Others
  • Story on patience 
  • Patience Taught by Nature (poem) by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  • Parable of the Great Harvest by J. David Powlas
  • When You Thought I Wasn't Looking
  • Visit People Who Need Help by Allan McNabb
  • I Took Your Place
  • Deeds (poem) by Oren Alden DeMass
  • Story about kindness
  • God's Caring People by Keith Greer
  • Why Humanity Should Serve God by Wayne Jackson


I got a dozen roses from a friend the other day
But I only have one left, for I gave them all away.

I gave one to my sister, who to me is very dear
In the hopes that it will bring to her a little floral cheer.

I took one to a friend who's not feeling very well
The flower or the visit, which helped more I could not tell.

The rest went to the ones who've helped me in so many ways
They have been a cheerful presence on my dreariest of days.

The roses were so pretty, I just could not keep them all
Except one single rosebud, standing beautiful and tall.

My friend gave me the flowers to help brighten up my day
But the biggest joy I received was giving them away.


--Author Unknown--

 

Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. Say not unto thy neighbor, Go, and come again, and tomorrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee." Proverbs 3:27, 28 We can get so busy talking spiritual that we neglect to do something practical! The Church could use more Christians in work clothes. Share with some needy person today.  -selected


God’s Servants

We’re God’s servants
Whose been given a brain
Not like puppets
Dangling from a string.

We are able to think
And we’re able to choose
To obey his commands
Be ready for Him To use.

Through knowledge of His word
His truth can be proclaimed
By telling others about Jesus
Oh blessed be His name!

Tell others of his perfect life
That he once here lived
Dying on the cross
Obeying his Father’s will.

Although Jesus was willing
To do as his Father asked
He prayed to God
"Let this cup from me pass."

There was no other way
God’s will could be done
So, the scriptures were fulfilled
By the death of God’s only son.

Sadly, Peter denied Christ
The other disciples ran away
They feared for their own lives
Lacking courage to stay.

As long as we’re His servants
And we’re allowed here to live
We’re His hands and His hearts

And to others we must give.

John 12 : 26 "if any man serve me, let him follow me; And where I am, there shall also my servant be; if any man serve me, him will my Father honor."

Alma Norman  
copyright 2003



Patience helps us in our service to others.


How to Be Patient

It has never been easy to be patient, but it's probably harder now than at any time in history. In a world in which messages can be sent across the world instantly, in which seemingly everything is available for immediate purchase with a few clicks of the mouse, it's hard not to always expect instant gratification. But patience remains a valuable tool in life. We don't always get instant gratification, and some of the best things in life require years of hard work and waiting. Fortunately, patience is a virtue that can be cultivated and nurtured.


Tips

  • Try to figure out why you're in such a hurry. We tend to lose our patience when we're multi-tasking or when we're on a tight schedule. If you're stretching yourself too thin, you should reconsider your to-do list before you attempt to change your natural reaction to an overwhelming situation. Try to spread out your tasks so that you're doing only one thing at a time. Delegate responsibilities to others if you can; this in itself may be a test of your patience, but you have to learn to share the load.
  • Pinpoint the triggers that often make you lose your patience. Impatience creeps in insidiously, and if you feel anxious, worried, or unhappy you may not even realize that the underlying cause of these feelings is impatience. To reduce the frequency of impatience, it helps to be aware of it. Which events, people, phrases or circumstances always seem to make you lose your cool? Sit down and make a list of all the things which cause you anxiety, tension, or frustration. At the core of most triggers is a reality that we have a hard time accepting. What are those realities for you?
  • Overcome bouts of impatience. In the long run, developing patience requires a change in your attitude about life, but you can immediately make progress by learning to relax whenever you feel impatient. Take a few deep breaths and just try to clear your mind. Concentrate on breathing and you'll be able to get your bearings.
  • Look for patterns. Being aware of your impatience also gives you a chance to learn from it and perhaps uncover a relationship or circumstance that is simply not healthy or constructive, and that you may have the power to change. Figure that out, and you can then think logically about the problem issue and decide whether or not your impatience is warranted or helpful. It usually isn't, but when it is you can then figure out ways to fix the root problem rather than simply feeling stressed about it.
  • Let go if you can't do anything about the impatience trigger. If there isn't anything that you can do to resolve whatever has triggered your impatience, just let it go. Easier said than done, yes, but it's possible, and it's the only healthy thing to do. Initially, you will probably find it difficult to let go if the matter is important to you but if you make a concerted effort to be more patient in relatively inconsequential, short-term situations, you'll gradually develop the strength to remain patient in even the most trying and enduring situations.
  • Remind yourself that things take time. People who are impatient are people who insist on getting things done now and don't like to waste time. However, some things just can't be rushed. Think about your happiest memories. Chances are, they were instances when your patience paid off, like when you worked steadily towards a goal that wasn't immediately gratifying, or took a little extra time to spend leisurely with a loved one. Would you have those memories if you had been impatient? Probably not. Almost anything really good in life takes time and dedication, and if you're impatient, you're more likely to give up on relationships, goals, and other things that are important to you. Good things may not always come to those who wait, but most good things that do come don't come right away.
  • Expect the unexpected. Yes, you have plans, but things don't always work out as planned. Accept the twist and turns in life gracefully. Keep your expectations realistic. This applies not only to circumstances, but also the behavior of those around you. If you find yourself blowing up over your child or your spouse accidentally spilling a drink, you're not in touch with the fact that people aren't perfect. Even if the occasion is not an isolated incident but is instead caused by their repeated neglect and carelessness, losing your patience isn't going to make it any better. That's something to be addressed with discussion and self-control.
  • Give yourself a break. The meaning of this is twofold. First, take a few minutes to do absolutely nothing. Just sit quietly and think. Don't watch television; don't even read. Do nothing. It may be hard at first, and you may even feel pretty impatient after a minute or two, but by taking some time out you can essentially slow your world down, and that's important to develop the attitude necessary to develop patience. Second, stop holding yourself and the world around you to unreachable standards. Sure, we'd all be more patient if babies didn't cry, dishes didn't break, computers didn't crash, and people didn't make mistakes--but that's never going to happen. Expecting the world to run smoothly is like beating your head against the wall. Give yourself a break
  • http://www.wikihow.com


    Late one December night on the cancer ward the halls were quiet and solemn, the patients were asleep and most of the visitors were gone. The nurses were gathered about the nurse's station preparing for shift change. Sarah, one of the nurses, was especially tired, having worked seven straight 12 hour days. The kids had needs, her husband had been laid off, and the house payment was due. What kept her going was that in January she was going to find a new job. After ten years of answering call lights, working short staffed, putting up with constant administrative changes, she had decided that it was not worth the effort anymore.

    PING. PING. PING. Sarah angrily looked at the call light box.

    The patient was a seventy-year-old woman. Sarah had been to her room at the end of the hall at least fifteen times. Angrily she started down the hall. On her way, she suddenly stopped. She stood motionless as a soft voice wafted out of room 235.

    "And then one day I'll cross the river; I'll fight life's final war with pain; And then as death gives way to victory, I'll see the lights of glory and I'll know He lives."

    Tears welled up in her eyes as she listened and thought about the young woman in that room -- a thirty-five year old mother of two with cancer, with only a week to live, perhaps days. Sarah stood there, with tears in her eyes, remembering how this young terminal woman had such peace. The patient would speak to everyone who came into her room and she would smile even in her pain and took the time to share her faith and let people know the reason for her peace was a faith in God. All the nurses who had been around her commented on her strength and how they had felt peace and calm after talking with this exceptional young woman.

    "Because He lives, I can face tomorrow; Because He lives, all fear is gone; Because I know who holds the future, Life is worth all the living, just because He lives." Unstoppable tears flowed as Sarah stood a few moments more, but the tears had taken on a newness. No longer were they tears of sadness for this young woman but tears of renewal that washed away the disappointment and disillusionment of her job, and the fear about the future.

    Sarah started down the hall to answer the call light, but she was no longer going to check on some pestering old woman. She was going to the room of a patient, a person, a fellow human in need. Sarah no longer looked to January so she could quit -- she looked to her next shift when she would again have the opportunity to serve her fellow man. Sarah left work with a new outlook on life. She had a rekindling of the spirit of service that had motivated her to become a nurse. Those fires had almost died, but for a young terminal woman who had the desire to be of service to her fellow man even unto death.

    This is a reminder to me that the reason that we are on this earth at all is to be of service to each other. Christ said it best when He said, "Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his brother."

    author unknown

    Luke 21:19: In your patience ye shall win your souls.

    Col 1:11: Strengthened with all power, according to the might of his glory, unto all patience and longsuffering with joy;

    2Th 3:5:  And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patience of Christ.

    Jam 1:4:  And let patience have its perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, lacking in nothing.

    Jam 5:8:  Be ye also patient; establish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord is at hand.


    Patience Taught By Nature

    by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

    'O dreary life,' we cry, ' O dreary life ! '
    And still the generations of the birds
    Sing through our sighing, and the flocks and herds
    Serenely live while we are keeping strife
    With Heaven's true purpose in us, as a knife
    Against which we may struggle ! Ocean girds
    Unslackened the dry land, savannah-swards
    Unweary sweep, hills watch unworn, and rife
    Meek leaves drop year]y from the forest-trees
    To show, above, the unwasted stars that pass
    In their old glory: O thou God of old,
    Grant me some smaller grace than comes to these !--
    But so much patience as a blade of grass
    Grows by, contented through the heat and cold.


    Parable of the Great Harvest
    J. David Powlas

    Many Christians are like some farmers who were eagerly awaiting the great harvest. The farmers had bought and read some of the latest books which explained how to produce the great harvest. They had sharpened and repaired all of their reaping tools to get them ready for use in the great harvest. A number of workers had been trained to use the tools and to assist the farmers in gathering the great harvest. The farmers had even invested much time, effort, and money in building a large, fancy barn in which the great harvest was to be stored. But, alas, it did come to pass that the farmers never reaped the great harvest. Although the eager farmers had made very much preparation for the great harvest, they never did actually plant the seed! 

    Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.”  (Luke 8:11) 

    Can you figure out the rest of the parable? 


    When you thought I wasn't looking,
     
    I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator, and I immediately wanted 
    to paint another one. 

    When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you feed a stray cat, and I learned that it was good to be kind to animals. 

    When you thought I wasn't looking
     , I saw you make my favorite cake for me and I learned that the little things can be the special things in life. 

    When you thought I wasn't looking, I heard you say a prayer, and I knew there is a God I could always talk to and I learned to trust in God. 

    When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you make a meal and take it to a friend who was sick, and I learned that we all have to help take care of each other. 

    When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you give of your time and money to help people who had nothing and I learned that those who have something should give to those who don't. 

    When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you take care of our house and everyone in it and I learned we have to take care of what we are given. 

    When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw how you handled your responsibilities, even when you didn't feel good and I learned that I would have to be responsible when I grow up. 

    When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw tears come from your eyes and I learned that sometimes things hurt, but it's all right to cry. 

    When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw that you cared and I wanted to be everything that I could be. 

    When you thought I wasn't looking, I learned most of life's lessons that I need to know to be a good and productive person when I grow up. 
     
    When you thought I wasn't looking, 
    I looked at you and wanted to say, "Thanks for all the things I saw when you thought I wasn't looking." 



    LITTLE EYES SEE A LOT . 


    Each of us (parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, teacher or friend) influence the life of 
    a child. 
    How will you touch the life of someone today?
     


    Visit People Who Need Help
    Alan McNabb

    There are many things we can do, and should do as we have ability, to help other people and share the gospel.

    In last week's article, we explored the use of our telephones in personal work and evangelism. It's simple to make a phone call; it takes little time, energy, and effort. But a phone call can mean the world to someone who is sick and homebound.

    In this article, I want to take explore visiting people who are in need.

    Visiting People in Need is a Characteristic of the Saved
    James gives us some examples of being a doer of the word and not just a hearer. "If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless. Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world" (Ja. 1:26-27).

    We can tell whether we're a faithful Christian (doer of the word) by whether we control our tongues, visit others and see to their needs, and keep ourselves pure.

    Visiting Must be a Habit
    "Visit" as used in James 1:27 means "to look upon, care for, exercise oversight" (Vine's Dictionary). Grace, mercy, love, and compassion are qualities required to visit people who have needs, and help relieve their burdens.

    James uses "visit" in the present tense, meaning that visiting others and seeing to their needs should be a habit (A. T. Robertson). It's not something we do occasionally; rather it's something we do habitually -- all the time.

    How Do We Visit?
    The word "visit" means we have to go physically and see people. A couple of Webster's definitions say that visit is "to go to see in order to comfort or help" and "to pay a call on as an act of friendship or courtesy."

    To visit people in need, we must physically go and see them. We can't send someone in our place, or try to keep track of them by listening to others who've been -- we must physically go.

    For example, when Jesus taught about judgment he said of the saved, "'I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me'" (Matt. 25:36). Then of the lost, He said, "'I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me'" (Matt. 25:43). To visit someone we must personally go, and see to their needs.

    In today's technological world, we also visit by interactive communication (telephone, instant messaging, etc.). This type of visitation is helpful between the times we physically visit, but it can't replace physical visitation. If we are able, we have a responsibility to physically go and see to the needs of others.

    Who Do We Need To Visit?
    The Lord has made visiting our brethren and taking care of them a top priority in our life. Paul says, "Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith" (Gal. 6:9-10).

    We need to visit people who are sick, homebound, and in need -- especially brethren. When we visit, we are to see to their spiritual, emotional, and physical needs. If we are unable to meet their needs totally and completely, we should solicit help from other individuals. And for our brethren, we should tell other Christians about their needs so they can help.

    What Can You Do When Visiting
    Most of all, in our prosperous nation, brethren need us to visit and talk. People who are sick and homebound can't get out and interact spiritually or socially. So, we must go to them. They need us to physically be there, interact in conversation, talk about spiritual things, and sometimes pray.

    The sick, homebound, and elderly may need help with light chores such as changing a light bulb, taking out trash, picking something up from the floor. etc. And occasionally taking food is helpful.

    Most of all they need to see our faces and hear our voices. Don't worry about what you'll do or say, just go and visit. Everything else will come natural.

    Do You Visit People In Need?
    Habitually visiting people in need, especially our brethren, is a mark of faithfulness.

    There are people in our congregation who need to be visited regularly, mostly for spiritual encouragement and to relieve their loneliness. If members from every family physically visited them every month, besides calling on the phone, they would not have too many visitors.

    Do you visit people in need -- especially Christians, and especially members of our congregation?


    To give without any reward,
    or any notice,
    has a special quality
    of its own.

    "One day, a man went to visit a church. He arrived early, parked his car and got out. Another car pulled up near him, and the driver told him, "I always park there. You took my place!"

    The visitor went inside for Bible classl, found an empty seat, and sat down. A young lady from the church approached him and stated, "That's my seat! You took my place!" The visitor was somewhat distressed by this rude welcome, but said nothing.

    After Bible class, the visitor moved to another seat. Another member walked up to him and said, "That's where I always sit. You took my place!" The visitor was even more troubled by this treatment, but still said nothing.


    (This does occur, it has happened to me in the past, but the main point is we should do and say all things for edification.)

    I'm going to change the ending of this story somewhat and ask that you imagine Jesus Christ visiting the congregation, unknown to others, and as He stood up horrible scars became visible on His hands and on His sandaled feet. Someone from the congregation noticed Him and called out, "What happened to You?"

    The Visitor replied, "I took your place."

    selected/edited


    DEEDS

    Tis better you do that kindly deed 
    You've forgotten to do today; 
    Better you go to the friend in need, 
    Who's striving along life's way. 

    Give him a friendly word of cheer 
    'Twill help him to face the strife 
    A glad hello or a welcome hand 
    May brighten his path in life. 

    Putting off till some distant tomorrow 
    The words that you meant to say, 
    Won't lighten the burden of sorrow 
    That he's bending beneath today. 

    Reach out and extend the grip of a friend 
    "Twill take but a moment or two 
    And will help him to know that you understand 
    The troubles he's fighting through. 

    For when we have followed the winding path, 
    And come near life's setting sun, 
    'Twill count for naught what we meant to do, 
    Just the kindly deeds we have done. 

    Oren Alden DeMass 


    Thanks to Pat Greer for the following submission:

    The man slowly looked up. This was a woman clearly accustomed to the finer things of life. Her coat was new. She looked like that she had never missed a meal in her life. His first thought was that she wanted to make fun of him, like so many others had done before.
     
    "Leave me alone," he growled.  To his amazement, the woman continued standing. She was smiling -- her even white teeth displayed in dazzling rows.
     
    "Are you hungry?" she asked.
     
    "No," he answered sarcastically. "I've just come from dining with the president. Now go away."
     
    The woman's smile became even broader. Suddenly the man felt a gentle hand under his arm.
     
    "What are you doing, lady?" the man asked angrily. "I said to leave me alone".
     
    Just then a policeman came up. "Is there any problem, ma'am?" he asked.
     
    "No problem here, officer," the woman answered. "I'm just trying to get this man to his feet. Will you help me?"
     
    The officer scratched his head. "That's old Jack. He's been a fixture around here for a couple of years. What do you want with him?"
     
    "See that cafeteria over there?" she asked. "I'm going to get him something to eat and get him out of the cold for awhile".
     
    "Are you crazy, lady?" the homeless man resisted. "I don't want to go in there!" Then he felt strong hands grab his other arm and lift him up.
     
    "Let me go, officer. I didn't do anything."
     
    "This is a good deal for you, Jack," the officer answered. "Don't blow it."
     
    Finally, and with some difficulty, the woman and the police officer got Jack into the cafeteria and sat him at a table in a remote corner. It was the middle of the morning, so most of the breakfast crowd had already left and the lunch bunch had not yet arrived. The manager strode across the cafeteria and stood by his  table.
     
    "What's going on here, officer?" he asked. "What is all this. Is this man in trouble?"
     
    "This lady brought this man in here to be fed," the policeman answered.
     
    "Not in here!" the manager replied angrily. "Having a person like that here is bad for business."
     
    Old Jack smiled a toothless grin. "See, lady. I told you so. Now if you'll let me go. I didn't want to come here in the first place."
     
    The woman turned to the cafeteria manager and smiled. "Sir, are you familiar with Eddy and Associates, the banking firm down the street?"
     
    "Of course I am," the manager answered impatiently. "They hold their weekly meetings in one of my banquet rooms."
     
    "And do you make a goodly amount of money providing food at these weekly meetings?"
     
    "What business is that of yours?"
     
    "I, sir, am Penelope Eddy, president and CEO of the company."
     
    "Oh."
     
    The woman smiled again. "I thought that might make a difference." She glanced at the cop who was busy stifling a giggle. "Would you like to join us in a cup of coffee and a meal, officer?"
     
    "No thanks, ma'am," the officer replied. "I'm on duty."
     
    "Then, perhaps, a cup of coffee to go?"
     
    "Yes, ma'am. That would be very nice."
     
    The cafeteria manager turned on his heel "I'll get your coffee for you right away, officer."
     
    The officer watched him walk away. "You certainly put him in his place," he said.
     
    "That was not my intent. Believe it or not, I have a reason for all this."
     
    She sat down at the table across from her amazed dinner guest She stared at him intently. "Jack, do you remember me?"
     
    Old Jack searched her face with his old, rheumy eyes "I think so -- I mean you do look familiar."
     
    "I'm a little older perhaps," she said. "Maybe I've even filled out more than in my younger days when you worked here, and I came through that very door, cold and hungry.
     
    "Ma'am?" the officer said questioningly. He couldn't believe that such a magnificently turned out woman could ever have been hungry.
     
    "I was just out of college," the woman began. "I had come to the city looking for a job, but I couldn't find anything. Finally I was down to my last few cents and had been kicked out of my apartment. I walked the streets for days. It was February and I was cold and nearly starving. I saw this place and walked in on the off chance that I could get something to eat."
     
    Jack lit up with a smile. "Now I remember," he said. "I was behind the serving counter. You came up and asked me if you could work for something to eat. I said that it was against company policy."
     
    "I know," the woman continued. "Then you made me the biggest roast beef sandwich that I had ever seen, gave me a cup of coffee, and told me to go over to a corner table and enjoy it. I was afraid that you would get into trouble. Then, when I looked over, I saw you put the price of my food in the cash register I knew then that everything would be all right."
     
    "So you started your own business?" Old Jack said.
     
    "I got a job that very afternoon. I worked my way up. Eventually I started my own business." She opened her purse and pulled out a business card. "When you are finished here, I want you to pay a visit to a Mr. Lyons. He's the personnel director of my company. I'll go talk to him now and I'm certain he'll find something for you to do around the office." She smiled. "I think he might even find the funds to give you a little advance so that you can buy some clothes and get a place to live until you get on your feet. If you ever need anything, my door
    is always opened to you."
     
    There were tears in the old man's eyes. "How can I ever thank you?" he said.
     
    "Don't thank me," the woman answered. "To God goes the glory."
     
    Outside the cafeteria, the officer and the woman paused at the entrance before going their separate ways. "Thank you for all your help, officer," she said.
     
    "On the contrary, Ms. Eddy," he answered. "Thank you. I saw a miracle today, something that I will never forget. And thank you for the coffee."


    God’s Caring People
      By Keith Greer

    But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38) Christ’s disciples had become very forgetful. In how many more ways could He have demonstrated His constant care for them? What do we mean by CARE? The word is defined as “attentive assistance or treatment to those in need.” God’s people are to have many good character traits, and caring is one of them. In what ways do we, as God’s children, demonstrate to Him that we truly care about others?

    We must be willing to serve. “Peter said to Him, ‘You shall never wash my feet!’ Jesus answered him, ‘If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.’” (John 13:8) Jesus, previous to His crucifixion, wanted to teach His disciples a lesson—but it was not a lesson on foot washing. He wanted them to learn about humility and service. God’s servants must be willing to serve others. In order to accomplish this, we must see their needs as greater than our own. We must seek for ways to help. Sometimes it may be nothing more than a kind word, a hug, a card, or encouragement for a job well done.

    We must be willing to offer ourselves. “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:9,10) Stop and take a good look at what is happening around you. At each service, we announce those who are sick and shut in, or who are on the prayer list. Their names are repeated in the PowerPoint presentation before and after each service. We can see who is here and who is missing. Sometimes, people just need to know you missed them and are concerned about their absence. One never understand how difficult loneliness is until he experiences it firsthand. One of the greatest benefits of visiting, whether it’s a phone call or a personal visit, is the strength it gives to the one who is doing the visiting. Give it a try and see if I’m not right.

    We must understand our need for each other. “And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.” (1 Corinthians 12:23-25) Just as the physical body works more efficiently and effectively when all the parts are functioning together, so does the body of Christ. God’s people must work to develop our relationships so we can give each other support, comfort, help, and encouragement when needed. We are to be caring Christians. So let’s work toward exhibiting love for one another.

     Why Humanity Should Serve God
    by Wayne Jackson

    I have no reason to doubt that her question was entirely sincere—however misguided it was.

    “Suppose you could prove to me that there is a God. So what! Would that necessarily mean that I would be obligated to serve him?,” the young lady asked. “Your God must be on a super ‘ego trip’ if he expects everyone in the universe to worship him.”

    What response should be made to this flippant comment from an intelligent but confused college student?

    First, the issue of whether humans should yield their lives to the Creator has nothing to do with the divine ego. God, by definition, is infinite in all of his attributes. He cannot be more powerful than he is. He cannot be wiser than he is. The Lord cannot be any more glorious than he is. Consequently, his ego could never be enhanced by human servitude.

    This is implied logically in the language of Christ’s prayer shortly before his crucifixion. Jesus petitioned that he might be glorified with the glory that he shared with the Father “before the world was” (John 17:5).

    If it were the case that God’s glory had been inflated by virtue of human devotion across the centuries, the Lord’s prayer surely would have reflected a desire for the current glory of the Father, rather than that possessed before the world was created (cf. Fuller 1963, 23).

    God’s requirement that we serve him, therefore, obviously is not for his benefit; rather, it is for our’s. Because God is love (1 John 4:8), he wants the best for us. Our true contentment will be found only in living for him, and that is why he bids us thus to do.

    But let us expand this thought with supplemental reasons as to why we, as rational human beings, should be obedient to the Creator of our very being.

    The Nature of God

    A primary reason for bowing before Jehovah has to do with the nature or essence of this Being. God is worthy of human service simply because of who he is! Exactly what does this suggest?

    There are two sources of information regarding the Supreme Being. First, there is the abstract revelation of nature, which argues for the wisdom and power of Deity (Psalm 19:1; Romans 1:20). Jehovah’s power is seen in the vastness of the universe; his wisdom is reflected in its intricate design.

    The evidence is so clear that those who survey these data, and yet fail to conclude that “he is,” are “without excuse” (Romans 1:20; Hebrews 11:6).

    In addition to the abstract revelation of divinity in the book of nature, there is the concrete revelation of Holy Scripture, which affirms the moral attributes of the Lord. These two “volumes” of testimony complement one another wonderfully. The Bible teaches that God is the eternal Spirit who is the Architect and Creator of the universe.

    But when did Jehovah, himself, originate? He didn’t. God has existed always; he is the eternal “I Am” (Exodus 6:3; cf. Genesis 21:33; Psalm 90:2). Logic demands this.

    A venerable argument—that remains unanswered to this day—is this: If anything is existing, then something must always have existed. But things are existing; therefore, something always has existed.

    That eternal “something” must be either matter or mind. But it is not matter, for science demonstrates that matter is not eternal. Thus, the eternal something is mind. The Scriptures identify this Mind as God.

    As to his essence, God is spirit and not flesh (John 4:24; Luke 24:39; Matthew 16:17). He is the Almighty (Genesis 17:1; Revelation 1:8), whose purposes cannot be restrained (Job 42:2).

    God is infinitely wise (Romans 11:33-36), and his loving, benevolent disposition is breathtaking (1 John 4:8; Ephesians 2:4; James 1:17). The gift of his Son to accommodate the redemption of rebellious humanity provides ample motive for surrendering one’s life to him.

    One of the profound documents of the Old Testament is the book of Job. An interesting aspect of that narrative has to do with the worthiness of God as an object of human adoration. In a mysterious convocation at which Satan was present, the Lord introduced Job, the patriarch of Uz, as a trophy of human character—a spiritually mature, upright man who was unique among his contemporaries.

    Satan agreed, but suggested that Job’s righteous demeanor was the result of bribery! In other words, God had blessed Job so abundantly that the sage of Uz would have been foolish not to serve him. In a word, Job knew who buttered his bread!

    The subtle and diabolical implication in this charge was this:

    You, God, are not worthy of human devotion on the basis of your character; rather, men serve you only because you make it to their advantage to do so. Let us use Job as a test case. Take away his goodies and he will abandon you.

    And so, for our benefit (not for his own), the Lord accepted the challenge. Thus, Job was deprived of his wealth, his family, his health, his friends, and his prestige. He lost everything. And yet, the devout dignitary never forsook his faith in God. Though he lashed out in anguish at times—because he did not understand what was happening to him—he nonetheless could proclaim triumphantly: “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him” (Job 13:15).

    The noble patriarch thus demonstrated this proposition: God is worthy of human service on the basis of his own nature—apart from the generous blessings he bestows. As the psalmist expressed it: “I will call upon Jehovah, who is worthy to be praised” (Psalm 18:3).

    We ought to praise God simply on account of who he is!

     The Relationship We Sustain to Our Maker

    Certain associations carry with them intrinsic responsibilities. One of those is that of the Creator-creature relationship.

    The created thing sustains a subordinate status to that which created it. Paul argued this very point in his letter to the Romans. “Or hath not a potter a right over the clay?,” he asked rhetorically (Romans 9:21). In the Greek text, the query implies an affirmative answer, as suggested by the particle ouk (cf. Matthew 13:55). The term rendered “right” in our common versions is the Greek exousia, literally “authority.” The potter, by virtue of his status, has authority over the vessel he has fashioned.

    The historical facts are these. “Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7; cf. 3:19). The inspired writers of both testaments affirmed that the Lord is our “Creator” (Ecclesiastes 12:1; Isaiah 40:28; Romans 1:25), or our “Maker” (Psalm 95:6; Proverbs 14:31; Isaiah 17:7; Hosea 8:14). Hence, by virtue of this Creator-creature relationship, Jehovah has a right to commission human loyalty.

    But there always has been a propensity in man to repudiate the Creator-creature relationship in order to justify human self-centeredness. More than anything else, some people want to be their own god.

    Seven centuries before the birth of Christ, Isaiah wrote regarding the rebels of his day:

    Ye turn things upside down! Shall the potter be esteemed as clay; that the thing made should say of him that made it, he made me not; or the thing formed say of him that formed it, he hath no understanding? (Isaiah 29:16).

    Of this arrogant claim—”He made me not”—Edward J. Young rightly observed: “Words more wrong, more foolish, more soul-destroying have never been uttered by human lips” (1969, 325). May we be chastened by the inspired writer: “Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves” (Psalm 100:3, NASB).

    This haughty and independent attitude, of course, is the motive behind the theory of evolution. Foolish man wishes to cut loose from the moral and religious ties that bind him to a sovereign Creator. Hence, he has fashioned gods of his own design—Mother Nature and Father Time—to whom he owes no responsibility.

    As the late George G. Simpson, the renowned paleontologist and evolutionist of Harvard University, once expressed it:

    Man stands alone in the universe, a unique product of a long, unconscious, impersonal material process with unique understanding and potentialities. These he owes to no one but himself, and it is to himself that he is responsible. He is not the creature of uncontrollable and undeterminable forces, but is his own master. He can and must decide and manage his own destiny (1953, 155).

    Despite such infidelic protestations, the theory of naturalistic origins is void of proof that man is the “product of a long, unconscious, impersonal material process.” Rather, the evidence suggests that human beings are the result of an intelligent Cause who specially designed them (see Thompson and Jackson 1996; Jackson 1993). As creatures of divine planning, we have a responsibility to submit to God—and he has the right to require it!

    The Human Condition

    Another valid reason for serving Jehovah has to do with the status quo of the human family. As an old, country philosopher put it: “That’s Latin for ‘the mess we’re in’.” Nothing could be further from the truth than the old cliché: “Every day, in every way, we’re getting better and better.” The fact is, as Paul once wrote: “Evil men and impostors shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13).

    The presence of evil is apparent universally, and has been acknowledged from time immemorial. The Roman philosopher Seneca said: “We have all sinned, some more, and some less.” A Chinese proverb states: “There are two good men: one is dead and the other is not yet born.” Paul wrote: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). And John bluntly noted: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).

    How is this deplorable condition to be remedied? Man has never been able to concoct a solution. When it was alleged that education could provide the answer, we discovered that education, without spiritual values, makes only more skillful criminals.

    Those who touted psychology as the panacea for human woes have lived to see one theory after another disappear into complete obscurity. Ours is now a world of escapists—alcoholics, drug-abusers, and dream-world mystics. A recent news feature suggested that by the end of the next decade, the third leading cause of work-disability will be clinical depression.

    And we have more material security than any generation that has gone before us, but generally speaking we are a miserable lot. Is there no help for the human family?

    Someone is bound to claim that religion surely is not the answer, for it has been around for centuries, and yet, here we are, in this sordid predicament. Yes, “religion” has been around alright, but it rarely has been tried on a massive scale in its pristine form. If the teaching of Jesus Christ were to be adopted sincerely and pursued rigorously by a significant segment of society, changes so dramatic would occur as to produce utter amazement.

    There is absolutely no remedy to human distress apart from the divine plan as implemented through the atoning work of Jesus of Nazareth. The Lord declared emphatically: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one comes unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). This declaration carries validity because of the solid historical evidence that undergirds Christ’s authoritative claim of being the Son of God.

    The truth is, there is no abiding contentment in a world without God. Out of a background of materialism and hedonism, Solomon, an inspired penman, proclaimed: “[T]he way of the transgressor is hard” (Proverbs 13:15). “Fear [reverence] God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

    On the other hand, it is a lie which suggests that serving the Creator is all pain and tears. Moses was willing to forsake the temporal “pleasures of sin,” which are but for a season, to identify with the people of God. Why? He did so because he knew that the reproaches of Christ are vastly superior to the treasures of any land (Hebrews 11:24-26) [see He Forsook the Treasures of Egypt].

    For troubled souls in a world of confusion, the Scriptures offer hope: “And the peace of God which passes all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).

    In the sermon on the mount, Jesus announced: “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). This passage has long perplexed multitudes. It cannot be a prophecy that finds its fulfillment in events following the return of Christ (as some allege), for there will be no earth at that point (Matthew 24:35; 2 Peter 3:10ff.). Rather, it is a promise for those who yield to God—here and now! Barclay has shown that the “meek” person is the one who has been mastered by God (1974, 240-242).

    The passage suggests this: as children of him who is the God of heaven and earth, those who yield to Christ will enjoy this planet’s blessings more than all others. The point is: people ought to serve the Lord for the sheer joy that it brings—not only in eternity, but right now, here on the earth.

    All Accounts Are Not Settled in this Life

    Some years ago there was published an edition of Charles Darwin’s revolutionary volume, The Origin of Species. On the back dust jacket were these words: “This book has made a joke of ‘the Day of Judgment.’” If there is a joke in this, Jehovah will have the last laugh: “He that sitteth in the heavens will laugh: The Lord will have them in derision” (Psalm 2:4).

    The laughable thing is that man labors under the illusion that he can thwart the will of the Almighty. If there is no ultimate Judgment—where all wrongs are made right and where justice ultimately prevails—then life is a meaningless riddle.

    Consider the plight of Asaph who, according to the superscription, penned the seventy-third psalm. The poet had assumed that if one enjoyed a right relationship with God, his well-being always would be secure. Conversely, it is implied that rebellion against the Creator would bring only woe. That concept is suggested subtly in the opening verse of the narrative.

    However, as he considered the circumstances of his environment, Asaph was baffled by life’s inequities (73:2-9). In this state of bewilderment, his “steps had well nigh slipped,” i.e., he had almost lost his faith in Heaven’s providential government of earthly affairs. He surveyed the “prosperity of the wicked” and was confused. Though evil men wear pride like a chain around their neck, and their eyes bulge with opulence, they finally seem to die in peace. The godless live as though the Judge of the earth has no knowledge of what is transpiring on his planet (v. 11).

    Asaph wondered, therefore, whether his religious exercises had been for naught. He had attempted to serve his Maker, yet he suffered hardship consistently (vv. 13-14). What is the answer to this enigma? The writer says that he entered “into the sanctuary of God,” i.e., the place where divine truth was revealed.

    Delitzsch and Keil observed that he became privy to the “holy plans and ways of God” (1978, 318). He discovered that the “latter end” of the wicked would be destruction (vv. 17-18). He learned this truth: all accounts are not settled in this life!

    If there is no final Judgment, then it makes no difference at all as to how men live upon this globe. The life of Jesus Christ amounts to no more than that of Adolf Hitler. But who can live with such a senseless philosophy? No one who is rational can do so.

    Orin Gifford wrote: “You may juggle human laws, you may fool with human courts, but there is a judgment to come, and from it there is no appeal” (Mead 1965, 259).

    Men need to serve God because they possess an immortal soul that eventually will give account to the Creator.

    Conclusion

    There are multiplied thousands of people who are willing to give intellectual assent to the fact that a Supreme Being exists, but who do not see that such an idea bears any relationship to their daily personal lives.

    Technically, these people are designated as deists. They are theoretical theists, but practical atheists. Such people have made a tragic mistake.

    There are powerful and valid reasons for totally surrendering to the will of God, as such ultimately is made known in the revelation of the New Testament. May we urge our contemporaries to give due attention to such matters.

    Sources/Footnotes

    Barclay, William. 1974. New Testament Words. Philadelphia, PA: Westminster.

    Delitzsch, F. and Keil, C.F. 1978 Reprint. Psalms. Commentary on the Old Testament. Vol. 5. Grand Rapid, MI: Eerdmans.

    Fuller, Daniel P. 1963. God’s Sovereignty in Creation. Things Most Surely Believed. Clarence S. Roddy, ed. Westwood, NJ: Revell.

    Jackson, Wayne. 1993. The Human Body: Accident or Design? Stockton, CA: Courier Publications.

    Mead, Frank S. 1965. The Encyclopedia of Religious Quotations. Westwood, NJ: Revell.

    Simpson, George G. 1953. Life of the Past. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

    Thompson, Bert and Jackson, Wayne. 1996. The Case for the Existence of God. Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press.

    Young, Edward J. 1969. The Book of Isaiah. Vol. 2. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

    from http://www.christiancourier.com

    The Lord cannot be any more glorious than he is. Consequently, his ego could never be enhanced by human servitude. This is implied logically in the language of Christ’s prayer shortly before his crucifixion. Jesus petitioned that he might be glorified with the glory that he shared with the Father “before the world was” (John 17:5). If it were the case that God’s glory had been inflated by virtue of human devotion across the centuries, the Lord’s prayer surely would have reflected a desire for the current glory of the Father, rather than that possessed before the world was created (cf. Fuller 1963, 23). -Wayne Jackson