Food in due season

Luke 12:42 – “Who then is that faithful and wise steward whom his master will make ruler over his household to give them their portion of food in due season?”

Friend, you have been given a charge from God to be a steward over God’s household. None of us lives for himself and none of us dies to himself so the Christian life is not designed to be lived in isolation. The Christian life is a life of living interaction and fellowship with other imperfect people who have trusted in Christ for salvation.  The church of Jesus is filled with people who struggle through life – the weak, the poor, the despised, those that are not esteemed and sinners. They need Christ during the whole week, not just on Sundays.

God wants you to be a faithful and wise steward over his house – one whom He can trust to take care of his people.

What then, is the food that He wants you to provide His people with in due season?

  1. God’s Word – Matthew 4:4 “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” You are expected to feed God’s people with the Word of God.
  2. Jesus – John 6:35 “And Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life.” You are expected to feed God’s people with Jesus. All that you speak and do should point people to Christ. Colossians 2:17 speaks of the substance of life being Christ himself.
  3. God’s will – John 4:34 “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” You are expected to teach God’s people to seek and do the will of God. Paul prays that the Colossians be filled with the knowledge of God’s will.
  4. Deliverance and healing – Mark 7:27 “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” Jesus spoke these words to the Syro-Phoenician woman who was seeking deliverance for her demonized daughter. Acts 10:38 speaks of Jesus being anointed with the Holy Spirit and power who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil. Here, we see that sickness is an oppression of the devil. Therefore, you are expected to provide healing and deliverance to God’s people in the name of Jesus.

Luke 12:43 “Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing (giving them their portion of food in due season) when He comes.”

The work of Christ

“Come to me, all you who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am meek and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. – Matt 11:28-30”.

The text from Matthew 11:28-30 has been used frequently in calling sinners to Jesus Christ, offering them freedom from their bondages, salvation and rest.

Today, however let us look at this passage in a different light – I want you to see it as a call from Jesus to work with Him. The picture of a yoke (and oxen) speaks of ploughing a field or of drawing a cart. Oxen are placed under a yoke only for work. Jesus is calling you to work with Him, to learn from Him and to find rest in the process. You are not called to work alone, you will be working with Jesus and doing His work. Instead of labouring and being heavy laden as with any yoke, the work of Jesus will bring rest and refreshing.

I have noticed that in my past four ministry trips to the Philippines, I have gone in tired and weary (I hold a full time job and did experience much spiritual warfare prior to leaving) but have come out rested and refreshed – in fact, I returned from the Philippines in a better spiritual state than when I went in. There seems to be something about the work of Christ that, instead of wearing one out, brings rest.

Let us look, as usual, at the Word to understand more about the work that Jesus calls us to.

1. Philippians 2:30 “because for the work of Christ, he came close to death……”

2. Acts 13:2 “…now separate to me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

3. 2 Timothy 2:15 “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed,……”

4. 1 Corinthians 3:9 “For we are God’s fellow workers…..”

5. 1 Corinthians 3:13, 14 “……the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.”

6. 1 Corinthians 15:10 “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I laboured (worked) more abundantly than they all,……..”

7. 1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”

What is the work of Christ ?

I believe it is preaching the gospel, making disciples, building Jesus’ church and doing the works that Jesus did such as destroying the works of the devil, healing the sick and casting out demons. 

Paul said that the ministry he received was to testify to the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24). Jesus commanded his disciples to go into all the world and to preach the gospel and to make disciples (Mark 16:15-18 and Matthew 28:19,20). He also said that he was building his church (Matt 16:18). Mark’s gospel ends with a lovely phrase in 16:20 – “and the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs.” Paul speaks of Christ working mighty signs and wonders through him as he went about preaching the gospel (Romans 15:18,19). In 1 Corinthians 3:9-15, we are admonished to take care how we build and also that our work will be tested with fire to see of what sort it is. We see people like Paul and Epaphroditus who dedicated their entire lives to the work of Christ, one came close to death because of that, while Paul gave up his life in the process. We see that while Jesus calls all of us to work with Him, some are called to engage in the work full time and be supported by other believers, while others like Paul, work and support themselves. In this work, while it is open to all and everyone has a specific task, there are some who are called to specific areas of service or functions such as apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher. All are equal in God’s eyes and each one will receive a reward for the work they have done.

Today, Jesus calls you to partner with Him in His work. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Will you respond?

The minister of Christ

Are they ministers of Christ? 1 Cor 11:23

Let a man so consider us, as ministers of Christ… 1 Cor 4:1

….you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ….1 Tim 4:6

….that I might be a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles…..Rom 15:16

But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God…..2 Cor 6:3

Therefore, since we have this ministry,…….2 Cor 4:1

The term “minister” of Christ means a servant of Christ, one who serves Christ, who follows his instruction, one who is totally submitted to Christ.

As ministers of Christ, we are called to receive from Him and transmit or dispense or give out to others what we receive from Christ.  An examination of 2 Corinthians 3 reveals that the minister of Christ is called to minister the following –

1. The New covenant – vs 6. We are called to minister (transmit/dispense/give out) the new covenant, not a mixture of the old and new covenants. We are to minister the new covenant of grace, not a covenant based on performance.

2. The Spirit – vs 6. Jesus said in John 7:38 that he who believes in Him would have rivers of living water flowing out from him. He was referring to the Holy Spirit when he spoke of the rivers of living water. We are called to minister (transmit/dispense/give out) the Holy Spirit. Note that although Jesus is the baptizer in the Holy Spirit, we are expected to have the Spirit flowing out from us like rivers of living water.

3. Life – vs 6. We are called to minister (transmit/dispense/give out) the life of God. The Holy Spirit always brings life – he raised up our Lord Jesus from the dead and will give life to our mortal bodies too (Rom 8:11), he will bring life to our souls (Rom 8:6 NIV) and will bring life to our spirits (1 John 5:11-13, 1 Cor 3:16). He is called the Spirit of life (Rom 8:2).

4. Glory – vs 8,9. We are called to minister (transmit/dispense/give out) the glory of God. Jesus gave us his glory (John 17:22) and we can transmit his glory to others.

5. Righteousness – vs 9. We are called to minister (transmit/dispense/give out) the righteousness of God. In the gospel,  the righteousness of God is revealed (Rom 1:16,17; 3:21,22). This righteousness is what we ought to minister to others.

May we examine ourselves to check whether we are ministers of Christ or whether we are serving ourselves. Let us be cautioned that we are expected to minister the new covenant, the Spirit, life, glory and righteousness. The fragrance of Christ ought to emanate from our lives, not the stench of self.