REPOST Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on October 6, 2014.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“A Man Who Wasted His Life”
Matthew 25:25, 6
“I . . . went out and hid your talent in the ground . . . His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant.’”
When I first met Carlos at the church we were attending in Mexico, he was part of a construction crew to add another floor to the church for the expanding Sunday school. During this period in his life, Carlos, a proud father of three daughters who sang like professionals, was heavily involved in the choir, was happy, and apparently not drinking.
When the job ended, though, he hit the bottle– again, and nothing could stop him; and soon, he hit rock bottom– again. During his binges, he had even hocked his daughter’s precious violin for quick cash to buy more drinks, and would frequently leave home. Though claiming to be a Christian, he once joined a cult, soliciting donations on the streets. Desperate, he checked himself into a rehab center, but that didn’t help him either. Sometime afterwards, Carlos was found dead in a run-down hotel, presumably after drinking. He was barely 50.
The funeral was truly sad, but his wife kindly said many wonderful things about him. But me, as his friend, I was “mad” at him for fumbling away the potential to have a wonderful life and even his family. The pastor of the church who knew the family well, and who once told the wife to show tough love to her wayward husband, was judicious with his words: He didn’t say where Carlos went, not convinced that he had shown any fruits (James 2:26); he wanted to avoid emboldening the conscience of those who were straddling the fence. Instead, after reading Hebrews 9:27, “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,” the pastor simply said, “Carlos’ journey has ended and now he stands before the judge of the universe. If he really believed in Jesus, he would be with him forever.”
One sad thing about Carlos’ life: he wasted it. Not only did he bury it, but he let it rot. How are you doing with the life, family and talent that God has given you? Don’t bury them; don’t let them rot. Get right with God; find a body of Christ that really cares for you; stick with them; and serve God.
Prayer: Dear Lord, I admit that I could have gone astray and could have completely destroyed myself. It certainly wasn’t because I’m so smarter or more spiritual that people like Carlos, but simply because of your overwhelming grace and mercy in my life. Keep them coming Lord, because I need them. Thank You. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 12
Lunch Break Study
Read Luke 13:6-9: Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ 8 “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”
John 15:1-3: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”
James 2:14, 17: “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? . . . . 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”
Question to Consider
1. Is God merely content that we are saved? What do these verses indicate?
2. Why is this so important to the Lord?
3. What is God willing to do so that the believers can bear fruits? Are you bearing good fruits?
1. God, as the owner of the fruit tree and vine, wants to see more fruits. Evidently, the Lord isn’t content with just us going to heaven; He wants us bring many people there. That’s the ultimate fruit: sharing and living our lives in such a way that others would want to join our faith in Christ.
2. For one thing, good works prove our salvation. Martin Luther was correct when he said, “We are saved by faith alone but not by faith that is alone.” A true faith, soon or later, produces good fruits.
3. Cutting the tree and pruning (no doubt a painful experience for the plant) suggest God’s discipline to jolt or motivate the lethargic believers to actively participate in their spiritual growth to be able to bear good fruits.
Did you make the most of what God gave you today? Briefly write down some positive and negative things you did today with what God gave you to make Christ known and to serve others.