REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on August 19, 2014.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Winning, but Win What?”
1 Cor. 12:22-3a
“On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor.”
One highlight of my first-time trip to Dominican Republic was visiting the Baseball Academy of the Colorado Rockies. A pastor in my class, doubling as a scout for them, gave me a tour of this state-of-the-art facility that houses 30-40 young prospects from all over Latin America. (In fact, every Major League team has the same facility here.) These tall and lanky kids are given two years to prove their ability, and those who outperform others are taken to America to be further developed, hopefully, to reach the Major League. I met such a kid, a shortstop, who just signed a contract for $1.4 million. However, another pastor whom I met later, once a prospect himself in the academy, pointed out that only 4 or 5 kids make the cut while the rest, once released, return to a life of poverty.
While no one can blame the Major League for trying to discover the next Miguel Cabrera, when churches try to do the same, they cease to function as the body of Christ. Now in sports, since winning is the goal, those deemed “weak” are discarded. The apostle Paul, too, wants to win; he once quipped, “To win as many [souls] as possible” (1 Cor. 9:19). But to win for Christ, the presence of weak and less honorable in the body (team) is indispensable. For instance, while the prophet Elisha certainly led Syrian general Naaman to faith in God when his leprosy was healed, it was the anonymous Israelite girl, taken as a captive to Syria, who played a pivotal role. As a servant to Naaman’s wife, she said, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” Without her contribution, Naaman would not have realized that “there is no God in all the world except in Israel” (2 Kings 5:15).
So, you don’t think you measure up? Regardless of our talent level, God can use us! So, grow in faith in Him; cultivate a right attitude; work hard (Prov. 14:23) to improve; and pray harder to depend on God.
Prayer: Lord, I am so thankful that you are not like the people of the world who look for the most talented and smart people. While I am neither talented nor intelligent, I have hope because my “God cho[oses] the weak things of the world to shame the strong” (1 Cor. 1:27). Lord, use me for your glory.
Bible Reading for Today: Matthew 1
Lunch Break Study
Read Acts 11:19-24: Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch. . .. Men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. 22 The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, . . . 24 and a great many people were added to the Lord. . ..
Acts 13:1-3: Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger,Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.
Questions to Consider
- What is the importance of the church in Antioch?
- Whom did God use to crack open this city for the gospel?
- How do feel about yourself? Do you think God can use you? To whom are you focusing on?
- This church would replace Jerusalem as the center of missionary activities in the early church. It was this church that commissioned Paul and Barnabas as missionaries to evangelize the Gentile world.
- God used the anonymous Jewish believers who were running away from a fierce persecution against them in Jerusalem. They were homeless, penniless and powerless people, yet God used them to initiate what would become a very pivotal church for world evangelization.
- As long as we focus on our abilities, we may feel like we are ready to serve God, like Moses did in his younger days (Acts 7:22-5). But in reality, that’s when God won’t use us. Of course, we do need to be prepared, yet ultimately, without a firm dependency on God, we are unusable. Look to Him.
How did it go today? Did anything happen that made you feel “small”? Good! Instead of being discouraged, go to the Lord in prayer, looking to Him for hope, inspiration, and direction.