Know Your Bible

VOL. 7                           August 10, 2008                           NO. 29

The Stewardship That Leaves Home

    Have you noticed your children lately? The baby who couldn't do anything but cry last month can now turn over by himself. The toddler who pleaded to be read to last week is suddenly a six year old who independently reads to himself. And the youngster who just yesterday wanted to borrow a crayon, today wants to borrow the car. All too soon, these eternal products of our stewardship will walk out our doors to begin lives of their own, never to return again in the same way.

    All of our gifts from God come with a tag attached: "On loan. Manage properly. Be a good steward." "Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful" (1 Cor.4:21). Our children are near the pinnacle of God's richest gifts. Every parent could say along with Jacob, who when asked about his offspring said, "They are the children God has graciously given your servant" (Gen.33:5).

    Like turning out products at a factory, we parents have scheduling deadlines that must be met. We cannot put a child on hold until we have more time. They will grow up with our having nurtured them in the Lord, or they will grow up without it. But they will grow up. We must strike while the iron is hot, and it is only hot for a few fleeting years.

    Do you have a plan for carrying out God's commands to you as a parent? Are you deliberately and purposefully developing and implementing specific strategies that will start your sons and daughters on the road to maturity in Christ Jesus? Do you realize the urgency and infinite importance of this stewardship, or are you just haphazardly hoping that everything will somehow turn out right?

    It would be great to save the world. But we need to begin with our little corner of it. Because one day the Master who owns these children is going to make us give an account for how we managed His precious gifts. "But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief" (1 Thess.5:4).

---Jim King

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For What Are You Working?

    When your life is over, what do you hope to have accomplished?

    Droves of people believe that by becoming wealthy that they have accomplished much. Yet, have you considered what is at the end of the road for a wealthy person? "Then I hated all my labor in which I had toiled under the sun, because I must leave it to the man who will come after me" (Eccl. 2:18). Pile up all the cash and things that you can, but in the end you will leave it all behind.

    For some, leaving something for posterity is exactly the thing for which they are working. Yet, speaking of the one who inherits wealth, Eccl. 2:19 states, "And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will rule over all my labor in which I toiled..." Leave a fortune behind and the odds are it will be ruined in a few years.

    Then there is a more noble approach. Instead of possessions that will rust, what about leaving behind ideas and knowledge that people will treasure for decades to come? Again, Eccl. 2:16 tells us, "For there is no more remembrance of the wise than of the fool forever, since all that now is will be forgotten in the days to come. And how does a wise man die? As the fool!" Many people have died believing their words or works would live on. Yet, very few people in history are remembered and what few who are remembered are often misrepresented or misunderstood.

    The bottom line is that you cannot count on accomplishing anything in this world which will really last. Yet, there is something that will last for which we can work and hope. "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal" (Matt. 6:19,20).

    There is something permanent for which we can all labor. It is eternal life with God in heaven for eternity. Are you looking for something that will really last? Then look to Christ, He offers everlasting life.

    Does it sound too good to be true? For certain it sounds too good not to investigate to see whether it is true or not. Open the Bible and see for yourself.

---Phillip Mullins

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A Problem Area for Preachers

    Paul told Timothy to "preach the word; be instant in season, out of season" (2 Tim. 4:2). It has been suggested that this phrase literally means to preach when folks like it and when they don't. In another place the apostles prayed for "boldness" in their preaching (Acts 4:29). So, preachers are to boldly proclaim a message that will sometimes be unpopular.

    In the process of doing this work, a preacher is in a precarious situation. This boldness may cause his hearers to think that he is over-confident. Some may imagine that he is close-minded. There may be the impression that he is not open to other points-of-view, or that he wants to stifle what others have to say. Sadly, in some cases and with some preachers, these accusations are true.

    However, no preacher 'worth his salt' wants to discourage open discussion of issues. And, while he may speak forcefully on a given topic, he acknowledges his own limitations and the possibility that he can err in understanding the Scriptures. If he is obedient to the Word, he knows that he (like all others) must continue to "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2 Pet. 3:18).

    In this age of "political correctness" it has become increasing unpopular to tell people that they are wrong about anything. But, of course, that is a significant part of what preachers do. Those who are doing their best to "reprove, rebuke and exhort" (2 Tim. 4:2) will inevitably touch some areas that are 'close to home.' When this happens, we urge you to seriously consider what has been said. Honestly examine your self to see if you need to apply the lesson. Be willing to re-think your previous position. And, finally, do not hesitate to share your thoughts and concerns with the preacher. If he is the kind of man he ought to be, he will gladly discuss any issue with you. Give him the chance to do so!

---Greg Gwin

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Know Your Bible" is e-mailed weekly by the church of Christ which meets at 112 Roberts Avenue in Wise, Virginia. If you know of others who might benefit from the articles contained in this bulletin, we would be glad to have you submit their e-mail addresses and we will include them in next week's mailing. If you are receiving this bulletin and do not wish to continue to do so, please e-mail us with your desire to be removed from the mailing list and we will remove your address promptly. Continue to the bottom of this page and further instructions will be given as to how you may contact us.

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