Focus on the right thing leads to success!

Community - focus on loving one another

What are you focusing? Are you focusing on yourself? Are you focusing on those around you? Are you focused on making a difference in the community?

Remember how we were created on purpose with purpose for a purpose? Part of that purpose is to build a relationship with God! The other part of that purpose is to build relationships with others!

Today’s devotional puts it this way:

God created us to be in relationship with him, and he also created us to be in relationship with one another. Andy Crouch writes in his book, Culture Making, that God created a world,

…designed for the flourishing of exquisitely relational creatures, male and female, who themselves are very good because they bear the image of a relational God.

–from The Biblical Meaning Of Success

We aren’t supposed to try and go it alone! That’s why we read in the Bible so much about “one another” – we are to bear with, forgive, be kind and compassionate, love, be devoted to, honor, … It’s not all about us! We aren’t supposed to go it alone! It’s not about independence, but it’s about dependence on God!

Today’s reading starts back in Matthew talking to how we have to be good stewards…

14 “For  it will be like a man  going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. 15To one he gave five talents,to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ 21His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ 23His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

–from Matthew 25

Consider what you have and how you be a good steward of it so as to bring a return to God who gave it to you according to your abilities!

As a community coming together and sharing and using our gifts together, we are able to do so much more than if we just tried to go out and do it alone! Today’s reading continues into Romans where we hear…

1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Gifts of Grace
3For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
–from Romans 12
So let’s consider today those God has brought around us, those God has brought into our lives, those God has brought into our paths, and how He would want us to be good stewards and work together.
We are to be living sacrifices to God! Not rubbish, but holy and acceptable to God! Our lives and how we live are to be worship to God! We are to live transformed lives by the renewal of our minds by God! We are to live transformed lives by the testing in order to be able to discern the will of God – what is good, acceptable, and perfect!
We aren’t to be walking around proud or conceited, but rather to walk with the faith God has given us. We each have a purpose! We aren’t all supposed to do the same thing! God’s brought us together to be a body that can work together to serve our communities!
So let’s now allow our focus to be us! Let’s be servant leaders in our communities so that we can make a difference!
Today’s devotional concludes with…

God intentionally made his creation diverse. Here Paul is confirming something economists call comparative advantage.

Comparative advantage is using the gifts and talents God has given you to do the things you are best at doing. Comparative advantage is the glue that holds communities together.

As we each do what we are best at doing, we all add to the common good. We are to fulfill our call to be good stewards in community with one another. This is what God intended. This is also why the great reformer Martin Luther can say the first way we love our neighbor is to do our jobs well.

It is through Christ’s redemption that we are restored to a right relationship with our heavenly father. That in turn allows Christians to seek the fullness and wholeness of living and being good stewards in community.

When we do this, we bring a level of flourishing to our families and our communities, reflecting the glory of God to a world that is in desperate need of finding something greater than itself.

Grab a pen and make a quick list of your gifts in one column and how you might use those gifts to serve others in the second column. Pray through what you have written and look for ways to serve others around you starting right now.

–from The Biblical Meaning Of Success

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