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Ask Not!

Ask Not

Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. James 4:1-4 (NKJV)

I love the way God shows me things slowly so I can process it and understand it in just the way He wants me to.  Unfortunately, when I am shown something new, it usually means I was probably doing something wrong.  I'm okay with this - in that I want to continue to change to be more like Jesus.  

I was listening to the radio the other day and I heard an old recording of John F. Kennedy giving what is now known as a famous quote. He said, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."  I like this statement a lot!  In fact, I believe it means more to me now than when I first heard it years ago.  

I started to think about the concept of "asking."  I have never really thought about asking the country to help me with anything, but I know there are many people who believe the country owes them much, and they don't have a problem asking all the time.  

I thought about how this statement could be applied to the church as well.  Just change the word "country" for "church" and look what happens.  Ask not what your church can do for you, but what you can do for your church.  Now that puts a new spin on it!

The first thing I would like to point out is the church is not some building or one specific denomination, it is made up of all who believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord, and who have made their profession of faith in Him - to be a follower of His ways.

The second thing I would like to say is, I don't have a problem with people coming to the church in times of need and asking - this is very much what the church is for.  We see this in the very first church as recorded in the Book of Acts.

And they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. Acts 2:42, 44-45 (NKJV)

The problem I see is there are some people who are faithful to turn to the church in their times of need and ask for help - but these people are never involved with giving and helping others.  I am not just speaking of finances, but of every ability and talent they may have.  

The Bible teaches us that we have all been given certain gifts or abilities.  These are gifts from God and they belong to Him and should be used for His glory.  They are to be used to help and assist others in need, and to bring glory and honor to God in the process.

For instance, a person may have the ability to build things, and there may be people with things in need of being built.  Hey, maybe you can't make prevailing wages, and in fact, you may not make any money at all, but that's not the point here.  If we are truly seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, these things (the money and provisions) will be added unto us as we faithfully serve.  So maybe you help someone in need and they can't afford to pay you.  Don't worry about it; just do it unto God and trust in His provision.

I see plenty of people out of work these days.  Many are so down and out about their future.  They don't have what they used to have and they are losing hope.  This happens as we take our eyes off of God and His Word and put them on the problems we are facing.   When this happens, doubt and fear can run rampant - this should not be in the Christian life (See Matt. 6:25-34).   

Hey Christian, I would strongly encourage you to go and find someone to help with the talents and possessions you have been given.  Go find someone who needs help and serve them as unto the Lord (See Col. 3:17). Listen to what Proverbs says about helping those who are poor.

He who has pity on the poor lends to the LORD, And He will pay back what he has given. Proverbs 19:17 (NKJV)

It doesn't matter whether we have asked for help in the past.  What matters is what we are willing to do with what we have been given.  I want to encourage you today; ask not what the church can do for you, but what you can do for the church.  God will take care of your needs.

STUDY QUESTION: What can we be assured of by Proverbs 19:17?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Are you looking for opportunities to serve and help others in the body of believers?

APPLICATION: Ask God to guide you in helping others with what He has given to you.  Pray about everything and then act as the Spirit prompts.  Don't allow fear and doubt to stop the act of giving when God is leading.  

Father, Thank You for all provision.  Thank You for the opportunity to help others with the things You have given to me.  Help me to see these opportunities and to take captive any thought causing me to fear or doubt.   In Jesus' precious name, amen...

Be blessed, Pastor Scott

Copyright ©2017 by Pastor Scott Wright.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000