February 16, 2004

Encouragement for Today

 

Fruitfulness Versus Faithfulness

Ginger Plowman – Author, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team, Assistant Director of Proverbs 31 Speaker Team

 

Key Verse: 

 

“Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.”  (Ephesians 6:7-8)

 

 

Devotion: 

 

While leading devotions for his office staff Billy Graham told his employees that he believed many of them would be ahead of him in Heaven to receive the Lord’s rewards. Noticing the looks of disbelief, he explained that the Lord rewards faithfulness above fruitfulness.  Whether we are famous for affecting thousands of lives or “unknown,” faithfully ministering behind the scenes, whether “slave or free,” we all serve under the same supervisor.   

 

The most amazing thing about good deeds is that God will reward us no matter how big or small. “Whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord” (Ephesians 6:8 NAS). God values every good thing you do.  It doesn’t matter if you speak for women’s retreats or speak to an elderly, lonely woman.  It doesn’t matter if you are a televised, gifted evangelist or you tell the grocery clerk about Jesus.  It doesn’t matter if you donate thousands of dollars to a ministry or buy a hamburger for a homeless person.  The Lord sees and will reward every good deed. 

 

Perhaps your boss refuses to recognize your earnest efforts at work.  If you go above and beyond the call of duty as if working for the Lord and not for men, the reward you will receive in Heaven will far outweigh any recognition your boss could offer.  Perhaps your family doesn’t thank you enough for washing clothes, cleaning house, or preparing meals.  If you are serving your family as if serving the Lord, your reward in Heaven will be great.  All of your deeds are recorded in Heaven and shall one day be revealed.

 

It’s hard to continually do good deeds when there is no one to pat you on the back. It’s even harder when you are persecuted for it.  So, how does one persevere in these situations?  It’s all about mindset.  When we focus our minds on the real Supervisor and work solely for Him, there is peace in persecutions and triumph in trials.  When instructions come from a not-so-gracious worldly supervisor, filter them through your Heavenly Supervisor, “as if working for the Lord and not for men” (Colossians 3:23b). 

 

Christ-centered living means that we do good deeds for the glory of God.  Will good deeds earn us salvation?  Certainly not. To say that our good deeds could earn us salvation is to say that Christ died in vain.  It is through Christ alone that we are saved.  “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8).  The service of good deeds is an overflow of our love for God. Jesus said that when we shine our light for Him, others will see and believe.  While our good deeds are sweet offerings to the Lord, the aroma can also permeate the heart of an unbeliever.  It is our duty as Christians to let the goodness of God show in our service, thus piquing the curiosity of unbelievers.   Let our good deeds be a living testimony to the goodness of God, and let our joyful service spring from hearts that are eager to please our Lord.

 

 

My Prayer for Today: 

 

Lord, create in me a pure heart and renew in me a right spirit.  Saturate my attitude with thanksgiving and joy.  May all that I do be pleasing in your sight.  Let your light shine through my good deeds to those who live in darkness.

 

 

Application steps: 

 

When faced with an opportunity to do a good deed, no matter how small, whisper a prayer offering it to God for His glory.  When you have a bad attitude about your work at hand, consider the following questions:

 

 

Reflection points:

 

Why would God want me to do this?

 

How would God want me to do this?

 

When would God have me to do this?

 

What impact might this have on others if I do this joyfully?

 

Will God help me do this?

 

 

Power verses:

 

Ephesians 2:10  For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

 

Colossians 3:23 -24  Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord and not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.  It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

 

1 Peter 2:13-15  Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men:  whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.  For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.

 

1 Peter 2:18-19  Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.  For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God.

 

 

Additional resources:

 

Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed by Lysa Terkeurst

http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/radical.html

 

P31 Woman – monthly magazine

http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/p31woman.html

 

A Woman for the New Millennium by Mary Southerland

http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/milleniumset.html

 

Living Life on Purpose by Lysa Terkeurst

http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/livinglife.html