by Herman Groenewald
As I have read some of the scripture portions below, I could not help thinking of the great need in peoples lives right now, especially amongst the needy. At my age of life one tends to spend sparingly to provide for the years we hope that lies ahead for us as aged citizens.
But we see the need in others and when we pray we ask for God’s provision, ask and give thanks for our daily food. It makes one aware of our cupboards with sufficient food for our own need. I wonder how much excess there may be in them right now.
And then I read the story of the Cheerful Giver in 2 Cor 9:6-10.
6 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 9 As it is written,
“He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.”
10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. 13 By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, 14 while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. 15 Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!
The needs of the saints I think in this case refers to the church, God’s instrument in the World. It also highlights for us the prayers of the needy for us and the church. Reading the account of the calling of the disciples in Luke and the catch of fish by casting their nets into the deep, it brings a message to us. It first highlights that Jesus had first been teaching the people in Luke 5:3-4.
Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”
When Christ had done preaching, He told Peter to apply to the business of his calling. Time spent on week days in public exercises of religion need be but little hindrance in time, and may be great furtherance to us in attitude of mind, as to our worldly business. With what cheerfulness may we go about the duties of our calling, when we have been with God, and thus have our worldly works sanctified to us by the word and prayer!
Though they had caught nothing, yet Christ told Peter to let down their nets again. We must not abruptly quit our callings because we have not had the answers to our prayers in what we may desire. We are likely to do well, when we follow the guidance of Christ’s word. The catch of fish was by a miracle. We must all, like Peter, first own ourselves to be sinful people, therefore Jesus Christ might justly depart from us. But we must beseech Him that He would not depart; for woe unto us if the Saviour depart from sinners!
Rather let us urge Him to come and dwell in our hearts by faith, that He may transform and cleanse them. These fishermen forsook all, and followed Jesus, when their calling prospered. When riches increase, and we are tempted to set our hearts upon them, we must renounce them for only Christ is thankworthy.
And so we are also reminded of the spiritual war we are within for the Gospel of Truth. For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every imposing opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.
The grace of God must be owned as the root and fountain of all the good in us, or done by us, at any time. It is grace and favour from God, if we are made useful to others, and advances to good works.
Whatever we use or lay out for God, it is only giving Him what is His own. All we give for charitable uses, will not be accepted of God, nor turn to our advantage, unless we first give ourselves to the Lord. By ascribing all really good works to the grace of God, we not only give the glory to Him whose due it is, but also show others where their strength is.
Abundant spiritual joy enlarges men’s hearts in the work and labour of love. How different this from the conduct of those who will not join in any good work, unless urged into it! And so sometimes when we lose focus, every now and then the Gospel points us back to our own purpose and calling and back to the one from where it all comes from.