What Can I Do For God?
Life is difficult at best. There are problems in the church. The world is very wicked. There is confusion and turmoil everywhere. What can I do to change our world? Paul gave some answers as he wrote to Timothy. "Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you." (1 Timothy 4:12-16)
What can I do? Let us observe that:
I can be a good and faithful example of Christianity. The world and its influences should not be allowed to make us a hindrance rather than a help in the world. Our conduct should serve as an example to others. Paul told Timothy to, "Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity." (1 Timothy 4:12) Paul gave Timothy the task of setting an example for believers in the whole of his life. If we are to make a difference in the world our lives must be such as to back up what our words say. As spiritually minded people, teaching and practicing correct doctrine, in love and purity we make our world better. The way we conduct ourselves will either lead souls to Christ, or drive them away from Him.
I can read, study and learn God's will: Paul told Timothy, "Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine." (1 Timothy 4:13) In a world with so much religious confusion we must study diligently. Reading the scriptures can have a powerful impact on our lives. We are only able to teach that which we have learned ourselves. The world will do better only when it is taught better. The goal of preaching certainly is to proclaim the truth and make God's word clear to all. "But it also at the same time should stimulate you to want to take up the sword for yourself, take advantage of the tremendous opportunity you do have to come to grips with the great truth of Scripture."
I can do what I can for God: Each person has certain talents or abilities. Take time to find what your talents are and then use them for God. Paul admonished Timothy, "Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership." (1 Timothy 4:14) Timothy had special gifts to uses in the service of God. We too have talents given to us by God that must not be neglected. If those talents are neglected they will wither away. God has given us talent and He expects something of us! "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more." (Luke 12:48) Are you using the talents that God has given you?
I can be faithful and dedicated in God's service: Timothy was encouraged to give himself completely in God's service. "Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all." (1 Timothy 4:15) Faithfulness grows out of meditating on spiritual things day and night. (Psalm 1:2) Those that meditate on God's great truths and commit themselves to obedience to those truths can make a difference in our world. Others will be impressed by the fact that you have learned right and are doing right. They will likewise be discouraged and hindered if you fail to learn and do right. God actively looks for faithfulness in His servants. It is one of the qualities on which He judges His people. God has a great interest in our faithfulness. He wants to be able to say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord." (Matthew 25:21)
I can be sure that my influence is good: As Christians we must continue in the teachings of God. Paul told Timothy, "Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you." (1 Timothy 4:16) "Take heed to yourself." If our influence is not good we are useless in God's service. "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men." (Matthew 5:13) My attitude, words, disposition and conduct show the world what I really am. Those that are truly converted have Christ living in them. "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." (Galatians 2:20) Paul said, "Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity." (2 Timothy 2:19)
I can strive to save others: Obviously we cannot save others in the sense that we can obey for them. Each person is responsible to obey for themselves. Peter told the people on the day of Pentecost to "save themselves" (King James Version) or to "be saved" from this evil generation. (Acts 2:36-40) Paul wanted Timothy to be careful about his doctrine or about what he taught. "Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you." (1 Timothy 4:16) The gospel that we believe must be shared with others. We must take care to teach truth and only truth. But we must also be sure we are teaching others. The church of Christ is a teaching body. Christians must be willing to share the gospel with their friends and family. "And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also." (2 Timothy 2:2) We can save others by what we teach and how they see us living. We have a great and glorious opportunity and a sobering responsibility to teach God's word.
God has always had a place in His service for those that are willing to be used. If we have not started the Christian life "Today is the day of salvation." (2 Corinthians 6:2) To become a Christian hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30) and be baptized to wash away sins. (Acts 22:16) Your attitudes and actions will determine whether you will help the church grow and where you will spend eternity. Are you doing what you can do? "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 15:58)
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, P.O. Box 551, Greenville, Alavama 36037 USA