District Fellowship News

July, August 2012

TRY - A little three letter word that you say to your child when you are teaching them to ride a bike and they are certain that there will be very painful results if they were to fail.

Christians and children are a lot alike. No wonder Paul refers to our maturity as Christians in terms of drinking milk (child) or eating meat (adult). Yes, there are positive aspects of being childlike. Those traits have to do with unwavering trust and belief— our faith should be like a child’s, and there should be an innocence that is free from  cynicism, uncolored by prejudice or hatred. However, sometimes we take the traits of children that we should grow out of, and hold onto them for way too long.

The last man in the parable of the talents (Luke 19:12-26) is like that. He is given a little bit by the master and told to put the money to work. He has many options available to him, but instead of trying anything, he takes the coin and hides it away in a safe place until his master comes back and asks for an accounting. The master is very displeased because the servant did not even try.  “Why then didn’t you put the money on deposit?...” (Luke 19:22a). In other words why didn’t you at least make an effort to do what I asked? Today’s Christians find themselves in the same situation. God gives us talents, and giftings. He sets an assignment in front of us, and when we meet him, he will expect an accounting. Why didn’t we even try?

One of the reasons we don’t make an effort is fear. In the parable, the man said, “I was afraid of you, you are a hard man.” Fear can cause us to be paralyzed, not able to move forward at all. We begin to see failure as a certainty and decide that it would be better to play it safe. Throughout the Bible we see examples that require men and women to take a step of faith, to believe that the effort is as important as the result. With what seems to be certain failure, humiliation, or pain looming over their effort, God still expected them to try. It is during these times of almost certain disaster that God becomes our salvation. He steps into the situation and uses our effort as the catalyst for a miracle of provision, or protection. He is looking for obedience and trust, not for us to calculate the risks to see if our chances of success are 100%. We may be ridiculed for sharing the Gospel, our prayer may not be answered in the way we would like, the results may not be good, but because we tried, we have followed God’s directive and can rely on Him for results.

A second reason that comes into play for some Christians can be stated like this, “I don’t want to”. Sometimes we are afraid, and sometimes we just don’t want to try. We may just be tired - “I’m weary of doing good”, or lazy - “Other people can pick up the slack why should I make the effort”. We may not like the task, or even worse, we may rebel against the One who wants us to try. In our rebellion we shout, “Who are You to expect effort from me?” No matter what our “don’t want to” reason is, it goes against the very principles that God has designed. In God’s Word, laziness and rebellion are punished, you can be certain the results of trying would be better than the results of disobeying the Father. For those who are tired, God promises to be their rest. Notice He doesn’t promise to remove the task, He promises to be a source of strength for your effort, and to provide rest when the effort is completed. And many times the tasks that are set before us do not involve our favorite things. We find ourselves as servants rather than leaders, unrecognized instead of exalted, in the mud feeding the livestock instead of at the table waiting to be fed. But that is God’s kingdom, a place where servanthood is placed on the highest pedestal, where obedience is highly valued.

And the best part of all is that trying is an end in itself. Not trying to get into heaven, not trying to earn your own salvation, not trying to obey the Law down to ever dot of an i and cross of a t, but trying to follow the lead of God’s Spirit, trying to put on the armor of God, trying to think of “these things”. Our motto should be with God’s help, I will try.