February 4, Saturday

Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, first posted on March 5, 2016, is provided by Pastor Mark Chun through whom God founded the Radiance Church in 2011. Mark, after recently stepping down as its Lead Pastor, is currently on a sabbatical.

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“Avoiding the Trap of Being Mediocre Christians in the Marketplace”

Acts 6:1-7

Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them. And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith. 

Before becoming a full-time pastor, I spent a number of years in the corporate world as a biochemist.  I spent the bulk of my time working in two companies.  One was a publicly traded company, which relied on secular investors and the other, a private firm owned and operated by Christian businessmen.  On the surface, you would think that the company run by Christian ownership would have a better atmosphere, culture, and work environment and that they would treat their employees better than a company without any sort of Christian ethic.  To my surprise, it was the non-Christian ownership that was better on most of these counts.  Unfortunately, this is a trend that I see as I compare the majority of Christendom to the world.  The world organizes better, sings better, motivates better, administrates better, builds better, and leads better.  The main reason for this is the fact that the world doesn’t accept mediocrity while the church in the name of God’s grace is perfectly fine with the mediocre.  While I was working at my first company, one of my co-workers sent me a pretty funny email about laziness in the workplace:  

“This company cannot afford to have our employees give half-ass efforts.  It doesn’t matter if your ass is half empty or half full.  Half is still half.  One cheek will never get the job done.  We demand that you put both of your cheeks into your work.  Half a buttocks, half a rump, half a tush will only get you half the results.  If we want to achieve success, we need to get behind our work (pun intended).”  

I think many of us have overlooked this emphasis on doing things well in regards to our faith and service to the Lord but if we sit down and think about it logically, it makes all the sense in the world.  We serve a God who does all things well and as His children we should reflect this characteristic of our Father in heaven.  There has to be a desire in us to excel in those areas where He has called us to minister.  

Obviously, only God can do all things well.  You and I can only do a handful of things well and so we need to prioritize.  Good leaders not only display proficiency, but they also understand priority.  This is what we see the apostles essentially doing.   They are proficient in caring for the widows but their priority is to pray and preach the Word of God.  They could not do both well so they raised a new group of leaders.  Nevertheless, they felt that serving the poor was important enough to recruit the best candidates in the church, men who were filled with the Spirit and of wisdom, because again this was a ministry worth the best effort of the church.  As we prepare for Sunday, I pray that the Lord would encourage all of us to serve well.  

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we know that your Son did all things well and grew in his reputations among men.  Help us to do things well not from a legalistic motivation but because we long to give you our best.  Guard us against laziness and grow us in our capacity to minister and serve your church effectively.  Amen. 

Bible Reading for Today: Nehemiah 11-12

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