Appreciating God’s Workers

1 Corinthians 16:18   (NLT)   They have been a wonderful encouragement to me, as they have been to you. You must show your appreciation to all who serve so well.

God’s workers ought to be some of the most appreciated people in the world. They strengthen, encourage, comfort, build up, and so much more. The most is: they’re affecting eternal realities in people. That’s of incomparable value. There are many of 1 Corinthians 16.18 - Appreciating God's Workersthem out there, serving God faithfully, through thick and thin, trials and temptations, through comfort and discomfort. They don’t serve for adulations, gifts, and appreciations, but it’s something they ought to receive from their fellow believers—especially those benefiting much from their services.

God knows how to take care of His children. Wherever He leads and assigns, He provides. He’s a good Father and a good employer. He’s the best in fact. He has raised us up as His spiritual family. We are honored for being the people through whom He moves, especially in caring for each other.

We all need help. We who worship and serve the one true living God, though individuals with different gifts, callings, and ministries, belong with each other. As sheep among wolves, we need much help and encouragement. We are under constant attack; attack—that’s something the ungodly world system does. Discouragements and attacks ought to not come from fellow believers and co-workers in the Lord’s vineyard. We may not always cover all needs, but we can always help. Willingness and availability to help is a very good starting point. Because we appreciate and support each other, more lives are touched; more souls are saved; more believers grow; the church expands; the world gets better.

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Touch Not God’s Anointed

1 Samuel 26:23   (KJV)   23 The Lord render to every man his righteousness and his faithfulness; for the Lord delivered thee into my hand to day, but I would not stretch forth mine hand against the Lord’s anointed.

God calls leaders. We honor our leaders because we honor God Who calls them.  Although all believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, there is a unique anointing that comes with God’s leadership call.  They may not be our best choice; we may not agree 1 Samuel 26.23 - Touch Not God's Anointedwith the way they do things, but as long as they don’t tell us to jettison our God, His Word, His law, we ought to honor them, submit to them, pray for them, and support them.

God is our supreme leader.  When someone He has anointed as leader tries to usurp His authority, that’s the time we rightfully rebel—this is a righteous rebellion.  Otherwise, disobedience becomes a direct assault on God’s choice.  We want them to do good; we want them to succeed; we want them to make the right decisions, and we’re ready to accept their decisions even when different from ours.

I pray that this won’t be taken as self-serving since I too am a leader, perhaps not to hundreds and thousands, but to scores.  We are accountable to our heavenly Father as to how we obey Him in honoring His anointed;  the anointed leader is personally accountable to the Father as to how they conduct themselves.  Leaders will make bad decisions; instead of shooting them down, why not find ways of filling their lack?

To position ourselves as an opposition to a leader and everything he does is obviously biased and wrong, but there are those who glory in such stand.  We don’t support anyone—leaders or not—when they directly oppose God.  We fully support God’s choice;  we dare not touch God’s anointed.  Instead of giving them a hard time, we bless them, and we want to be a blessing to them.  Again, if it’s just a difference of opinion, policy, approach, strategy—if it’s not against God or His Word—the leader has the mandate; we give him that.  It’s a righteous thing to do, and the Lord rewards it.

Of Crown and Righteousness

2 Timothy 4:8   (KJV)   Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

There is seemingly an interestingly direct correlation between righteousness and our attitude regarding the return of our precious Savior. Why of all the different rewards and crown to be given, the crown of righteousness is given to those who love His appearing? 2-timothy-4-8-of-crown-and-righteousnessMy humble theory is this: We who are excited about His return—we who are deeply longing for our blessed hope and that blessed moment when we’ll meet our dear Lord in the air—live righteously.

To the best of our knowledge, the Lord’s return is imminent; He can come literally any moment of the day. That’s why we’re constantly waiting; with this, we’re constantly prepared; we don’t want to be like the foolish unprepared virgins in the Lord’s parable. We fight a good fight; we run a good race; we keep the faith. We try—as best as we know how—to live as good reflections of our righteous Father. There’s still a long road before us on the way to our predestination: our conformity to the image, or likeness, or character of our Lord Jesus, but we’re destiny-bound.

We prepare ourselves, we also help others prepare. As we do, the Lord’s also preparing to step back visibly into human affairs. There’s a famous cliché: there’s a payday someday. For us, there’s an awarding ceremony someday—very soon. He’s also preparing our eternal homes. Right now, we carefully guard ourselves against the ever-increasing evil surrounding us. The closer the curtain of this “age” comes to a close, the more ungodliness increases. With that, hostility and persecution against us increase; our suffering increases all the more. But we’re undaunted; the Lord has so sufficiently readied us for whatever lot we get; He also more than adequately empowers us.

Unforgotten Servant

Acts 28:21-22  (KJV)   21 And they said unto him, We neither received letters out of Judaea concerning thee, neither any of the brethren that came shewed or spake any harm of thee.

God’s workers can find  themselves in a position where they’re seemingly alone, taken for granted, and forgotten. The silence of others in a middle of hardship doesn’t necessarily mean rejection, but silence itself may not really be the treatment either when encouragement and support is much needed.

Through reasons unknown, we may find ourselves seemingly lacking support from our co-workers. Yes, it would be great if we can receive communication from them that boosts our morale. It would be great if they would drop a good word about us here and there, but if they don’t, we ought to not be quick to conclude that they are not supportive of us. There are a million possibilities why. For all we know, they may be undergoing worse persecution or circumstance than we are. So, let’s keep serving the Lord – alone, or when submerged in overwhelming show of comforting presence or communications. And when we have opportunities, let’s make sure we become instruments of encouragement to each other.

Dear God Who never leaves us or forsakes us, with You, we’re really never alone. – In Jesus’ Name, amen.