Wednesday, November 02, 2005
GOD IS MAKING MANY, MANY RICH!
GOD IS MAKING MANY, MANY RICH!
Pastor Fedhelina Mlongecha, the only female student that we have in the FMBC told me a story recently that has remained in my mind and made me think a lot about the relationship that children have with their parents here in Africa. This incident occurred in her village and it left many people surprised. A young man refused a goat- a wedding present from his father. The reason, “He does not love his father!” Hmmmm. I know you are already looking for a reason as to why this young man did this. The reason is, his father is a devout Christian and he wants his son to give his life to Jesus Christ. The young man is a Muslim and he hates Christians! 2 Corinthians 9:9-11, says, “ Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God"
The Apostle Paul never stopped reminding the Corinthian Christians of the lavish kindness of God their father on them. He told them of what they had already received from their father despite the fact that they did not deserve it and what they could anticipate. God does not target one pew and one isolated good-living, man or woman. He bestows his gifts to all those who have nothing and deserve nothing. Mankind!
Surprisingly, like that ungrateful son in Kigoma, Tanzania, some of you are continuing to reject His gifts. He offers you His wonderful gifts and you continue, quite deliberately, to refuse them. Imagine how you would feel if you had saved up, and bought a fine wedding gift and when the time came for you to offer it to the bride and groom they refused to take your present. Wouldn't you be offended? Wouldn't you think, "So I'm not good enough for them am I?" Wouldn't it put a great strain on your relationship? Wouldn't you feel like having nothing to do with them ever again? But every Sunday God, our father, continues to meet with you here and he is making an offer to you of his dear Son Jesus Christ, to be the Lord of your life. To take total control of your whole life-everything!
GOD HAS SUPPLIED ALL OUR NEEDS!
See how the apostle Paul describes God here: "He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food" (v.10). The farm laborer doesn't buy the seed that he sows in his master's field. The farmer supplies the seed to the sower. So too God supplies everything at the beginning of the process of cultivation to the time of harvesting. That father in Kigoma had supplied “life” to his son. He took care of him until he grew up. He played a big part in making him what he is today. Free of charge. It isn’t nature that made that young man.
It isn't 'nature' that does that, it is God. There is no such thing as 'nature'. 'Nature' is a classical concept. It is God who causes everything to flourish in his creation. God gives the sower the physical strength to work, to drive the tractor that ploughs the field and pulls the other implements, which will sow the wheat in the furrows. He causes the seed to germinate and to put down roots and grow. He causes the flowers to blossom and start the whole process of fertilization, sending the insects, the flies and the bees, this way and that continually - they too live and move and have their being in Him. He opens His hand and satisfies their desires too. Eventually fruit appears - a hundredfold greater than the bare seed sown. God supplies it all, and we are debtors to him for everything. That is why we say grace sincerely before we eat a meal. God has once again on yet another day met our need. We prayed "Give us this day our daily bread," and He did so. "He supplies seed to the sower and bread for food" (v.10). Hasn't God been good to you? When did you ever return home to empty cupboards and bare shelves? God has seen to it that your barn (here in Africa) or refrigerator has been always full, and that you have had health to enjoy his temporal mercies until today. Are you thankful to Him? Do you vow from your heart, "Every day will I bless Thee, and I will praise Thy name for ever and ever"?
But you are not mere bodies alone. You are also souls, and those souls have needs too. They need life, because they are dead - dead to the life of God, and dead to the influence of Jesus Christ.
God can make them alive, and the consequence of that is when you hear about the Lord you don't immediately switch off. Without God's life in you will turn away, but when He quickens there is a new openness and a spirit of inquiry. You will accept an invitation to come to a religious meeting and you will discuss the claims of Christianity. That is the beginning of religion for you. You have been freed from the chains of indifference to Christ. God has supplied that openness, but he gives more than life. He supplies justification. Then He empowers us then He gives us an opportunity to serve Him in small and big ways.
GOD WILL MAKE US RICH IN EVERY WAY
He "will supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way" (vv. 10&11). By African standards, the young man in Kigoma has been made “rich” by his father. He has been given education. He has inherited a piece of land from this same father that he hates and he is given a goat as a wedding present! This goat can make him “richer” if he takes it and takes good care of it.
As I have said, at the beginning, He supplies seed so that we have strength to take our first steps following him, but those are merely the first-fruits of His gifts to us. He promises much more, an "increase" and an "enlargement". As our days so shall our strength be, and on and on to heaven. Stores of food greater and greater. Larger and larger harvests. These are the promises our Father makes to us. Every Christian faces the prospect of receiving from an inexhaustible Supplier.
OUR RICHES WILL MAKE US GENEROUS TO OTHERS!
"So that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God" (v.11). Like any African father, the young man’s father in Kigoma would have expected his son to use all the blessings that he had received from him to bless his own household and the extended family. He would also take care of his old parents. Christians are people made rich by God's constant generosity in every way. How then can they cling to their possessions? How can we mortify this strange phenomenon of Christian niggardliness? It is a real problem teaching godly generosity in a culture where suspicion and self are growing or have ruled for centuries.
God has blessed us and He wants to make us generous so that we may participate in the great commission either by PRAYING, GIVING or GOING. He expects us to be His co-workers not in things that we love only but also in things that we do not love. As long as they are dear to His heart. He expects us to participate in evangelism, missions, discipleship, leadership development, community development etc. Refusing a goat from a loving dad is bad. But refusing the blessings of eternal life and the crowns from the Lord our father is unimaginable!
Areas of need : Please pray for the following things, which would greatly enhance the provision of sound training of the FMBC students if they were available:
1. Property for building facilities such as classrooms, a library, dormitories, dinning hall, etc
2. Volunteer Teachers for the following courses: November 2005 onwards: Worship, Prayer, Meditation, and Devotion, Christian Home and Marriage, : Christian Education 2. Theology, Bookkeeping, The Christian Witness, Discipling, World Evangelization, Free Methodist Church History, African Church History, Helping to Good English.
3. Games equipment: Soccer balls, volleyballs, games kits, soccer shoes, etc
4. A keyboard for worship in the FMBC worship services.