REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on January 29, 2014.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Can You be Trusted?”
“I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ. Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask.”
Few things in my house still remind me of my time in Mexico in the 2000s. One is a generator and the other, two computer projectors. These items were donated to me by someone who served in my youth group in the 1980s. Actually, while I needed these things for my teaching ministry, conducted mostly in the city but sometimes in rural areas, I never asked for them. But one day in 2003, she asked me whether I would like a projector and the PowerPoint. “Sure,” I said. Those who are familiar with my teaching know how much PowerPoint I use; well, it all began with her gift. When this projector broke down, not only did she get it fixed, but bought another one for backup. Sometime later, when I asked her whether a portable battery pack would be strong enough to run a projector, she immediately shipped me the generator!
In today’s text, Paul certainly is not advocating a relationship in which pastors fleece their flock: “Hey brother, give me some cash—the more the merrier!” What can easily be ignored here is the relationship between Paul and Philemon, a man of means who became a believer through him in Colosse. That alone, however, is not enough for God’s servants to be able to say, “May I have some benefit from you?” In addition, a relationship of trust, a partnership (Philem.1:17), had long been established between the two. Philemon knew that Paul did not “think that godliness is a means to financial gain” (1 Tim. 6:5) and that he “preach[ed] the gospel . . . free of charge” (1 Cor. 9:18). Paul also knew that Philemon was “generous and willing to share” (1 Tim. 6:18). Out of that mutual understanding and trust, Paul could be forthright in making these requests to Philemon, who was neither suspicious nor offended.
I, too, became up-front with this godly woman in my periodic requests; she trusted that I was doing the Lord’s work with integrity and I knew that she just wanted to be part of God’s work. How about you? Can a missionary have that kind of confidence in you? Can a layperson have that kind of confidence in her pastor? Before asking or giving, let’s work on building the trust first.
Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, it is amazing how much I have been blessed over the years by you. In every area of my life, I have received so much more than what I need. Therefore, please lead me to those who serve you with integrity, who are in need of the kind of resources that I can provide. Fill me with your Spirit. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Jeremiah 43
Lunch Break Study
Read 1 Kings 22:3-7: “In the eighteenth year of his reign, King Josiah sent the secretary, Shaphan son of Azaliah, the son of Meshullam, to the temple of the Lord. He said: 4 “Go up to Hilkiah the high priest and have him get ready the money that has been brought into the temple of the Lord, which the doorkeepers have collected from the people. 5 Have them entrust it to the men appointed to supervise the work on the temple. And have these men pay the workers who repair the temple of the Lord— 6 the carpenters, the builders and the masons. Also have them purchase timber and dressed stone to repair the temple. 7 But they need not account for the money entrusted to them, because they are honest in their dealings.”
Questions to Consider
- In view of the lack of ethics existing in work places, what is so refreshing about what went on?
- In what sense is the working relationship here similar to the one between Paul and Philemon?
- How do you build this kind of trust? (Lk. 16:10)
- The money went through several hands in order for work to begin: donors, to the collectors, to the high priest, to the supervisors, and to the actual workers. In many countries, by the time the money reaches to the level of workers, half of the original amount would have been siphoned off. That’s why some buildings and bridges don’t stay up. Financial honesty means a reliable structure, which, needless to say, is a matter of life and death.
- Accountability enforced by an outside party is all the more necessary in an environment in which people have shown that they cannot be trusted. It is also placed as a preventive measure as well. But, those who supervised the reparation of the temple didn’t need it. To reach that level, the relationships must be tested, and trust, earned (which is what happened between Paul and Philemon).
- Luke 16:10 says like this: “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” Trust is built by showing responsibility and trustworthiness with little things.
Evaluate your day from the standpoint of trust: Did people around you gain more trust in you by the way you lived and worked today? What are some areas that you need to fix? Let’s begin by trusting in God.