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Daily Distinctives, April 14, 2015 (Truth Be Told)

April 14, 2015

Daily Reading:

[1Co 4:1 NKJV]
Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.

[1Co 4:2 NKJV]
Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.

[1Co 4:3 NKJV]
But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself.

[1Co 4:4 NKJV]
For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord.

[1Co 4:5 NKJV]
Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.

Daily Distinctive:

There is only one true Judge that is capable of seeing the truth of a matter. If you have studied law you will begin to see that the way the law works is kind of like an onion. There are layers upon layers of facts and circumstances that have to be gone through in order to understand the motives and intents. But there is One who sees right through it all to the absolute truth, and His name is Jesus. I wanted to do my devotional for today on this section of Scripture and so I hope you will be blessed with it as I am.

[1Co 4:1 NKJV]
Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.

As a believer in Christ Jesus if I were to be classified in any way I would have to agree with Paul here. I would want to be known as a servant of Christ and a steward of the mysteries of God. The words that we use here for Servant and Steward, in our vernacular are somewhat watered down, giving the impression that it is a light service. But the words themselves are deeper in meaning. In fact I learned a long time ago that this word for servant is actually a term which means “under rower.” ¬†The under rower of a ship would be down in the belly of the ship and would be pulling the oars to move the vessel. It reminds me of the old Viking ships that is the picture that I get when I think of an under rower. But to be an under rower meant that you had to work hard in conditions that were not always the best, in fact very rarely did you get a chance to catch a break.

The other word here steward, is more like a “Slave;” granted it is a slave that is in charge of slaves, but a a slave none-the-less. The master would be the true authority, and the steward would be the underling to the master. Both of the words do not necessarily project power and strength, prominence and position as most would be inclined to view as success. Yet what we find here are the absolute highest ranking positions in the Kingdom of God. The Servant & the Steward. I challenge you to find a more rewarding position to hold in any fellowship than the one that allows you to be like Jesus.

I used to say, “the best leaders are first and foremost servants, it is a matter of the heart. To be a leader of leaders, one must first be a servant to servants.” But I began to realize over time that the servant of servants is the leader indeed. And so to be a servant is a high calling. To be a steward of the mysteries of God is equally profound.

In essence this means that the steward of the mysteries of God has the very WORD of God to manage. I count it a pure blessing to be able to read, much less handle and teach the WORD of God. And so to be a steward over the mysteries of God is something that blows my mind. What a privilege and honor to be found worthy of teaching the WORD of God. I know that this is not worthiness in and of ourselves, but righteousness can only be ascribed by Jesus Christ to me a sinful man, but still, that He would choose me to share His WORD, I am deeply humbled. There are not words to describe and so I submit them to the LORD who is the Judge of all things.

[1Co 4:2 NKJV]
Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.

Here is a faithful saying, literally. A steward is required to be found faithful. Faithful to keep and preserve the WORD of God, faithful to administer it, Faithful not malign the WORD, faithful to share it. These are all qualities of the faithful steward of the mysteries of God’s WORD. ¬†When I look at my own life I know that I have been largely faithful minding that which the LORD has entrusted me with, still, I see that there is always room for growth. I am careful to preserve the WORD of God, but am I diligent to continue studying so that I might uncover more? I have been faithful to share the WORD of God, but have I shared it at every opportunity? There are degrees of faithfulness, but only One who judges the heart and the intents, and so again, I submit the the LORD who is the Judge of all faithfulness.

[1Co 4:3 NKJV]
But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself.

Paul is probably tired of hearing it from the Corinthians. They have held Paul with contempt and had not been respectful to the Apostle in the past. They were critical of him and judged him according to their standards. But Paul says that their judgement is nothing, in fact he is not even capable of judging himself in a righteous way.

[1Co 4:4 NKJV]
For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord.

If we were to be honest with ourselves we would discover that we generally hold ourselves with a higher view than we should. Where we tend to be lenient on ourselves others would be more critical. We have the tendency to cut ourselves a break while being more critical of others. But Paul here rightly notes that even if he judges himself righteous that his judgement holds not weight, but the only true Judge is Jesus Christ the LORD.

[1Co 4:5 NKJV]
Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.

In the final analysis we will stand before the One who is worthy to judge. He will expose the truth and the lie and will bring even the secret things to light. I know that on that day there will be some things that I will stand with my head in my hands, shamefully accepting the truth of who I am. I know also that there will be rejoicing over the things that the LORD was pleased with in my life. Either way, I am not worried about my salvation, that is secure in Christ. But I look around and see people that judge me according to their preconceived notions of who I am, and I see this theme reoccurring. Just like in our devotional from yesterday, people judge others superficially. Praise the LORD that He will judge according to truth.

Daily Muse:

If we would give people the benefit of the doubt we would surely be disappointed from time to time. I would even venture to say that we would be disappointed a majority of the time; however, we could say with all honesty that we did not forbid or hinder the working of the Holy Spirit by weighing in on the side of peradventure. I often wonder how many Presidents have been discouraged by the ignorant disbelief of potent encouragers failing to risk giving what is not theirs to withhold. Have I failed in this way with those who I may have encouraged to go beyond themselves. If so LORD forgive me. Every encounter with every person can go one of two ways, either there can be an encouragement or a discouragement. There is little left between the two. If you can encourage someone while you have the time with them to do so, don’t withhold encouragement, especially that which is Kingdom oriented. You never know, your words may stoke the fires of the Spirit in someone who will in turn go on to make a radical difference in the lives of others for the glory of Jesus Christ.

Daily Prayer:

LORD, I want to hear Your voice. Please speak to me today and impart wisdom to my ears that I might follow in the path that You have set before me. I love You Jesus and ask this in Your holy name.   -Amen

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