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 (Manna 52: Spiritual Renewal)
You Can Do Your Best
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YOU CAN DO YOUR BEST

Translated from Holy Spirit Monthly—Issue 330

            Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do. Do not wait to shed your light afar. To the many duties ever near you now be true. Brighten the corner where you are.1

This hymn is one of my favorites. The theme of this hymn not only expresses the purpose of service to God, but also sets the direction for daily living. As long as I faithfully attend to my duties, use my talents well and grab hold of opportunities to serve, I can do my best at all times and in all of my services to God.

Here are some practical steps to take towards putting forth our best for God.

UNDERSTAND GOD’S WILL AND YOUR SPIRITUAL GIFTS

When Paul was on his way to Damascus to persecute Christians, God’s bright light from heaven shone on him, thus beginning his calling. After Paul understood that the Lord Jesus is the True God, he immediately asked, “What shall I do, Lord?” And at once, God instructed him on what he ought to do and showed him the direction of his work (Acts 22:6-21).

Paul understood that God’s will was to have the gospel preached afar to gentile lands. He dedicated his whole life to this goal. Moreover, he made good use of his spiritual gifts to accomplish the work that was entrusted to him.

To work for the Lord, you must first understand God’s will and what spiritual gifts God has given you. Ask yourself, “Is there anything that I can do to glorify God and benefit man?” The possibilities are countless: praying continually, giving thanks in all circumstances, being friendly to others, staying optimistic at all times, working hard in your academic studies, offering your wealth and time to the Lord…

BELIEVE AND OBEY THE LORD WHOLEHEARTEDLY

During the reign of King Jehoiakim, Judah was destroyed by the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar. Many were taken into captivity. Daniel and three of his friends were among the captives. They resolved not to defile themselves with the practices of the Chaldeans.

God gave them knowledge and wisdom so that they were assigned important positions by King Nebuchadnezzar. When Nebuchadnezzar was troubled by a dream that he could not even recall, he unreasonably sought to kill the wise men and diviners if they could not interpret his dream for him.

In order to interpret the king’s dream, Daniel and his three friends pleaded with God for mercy and revelation. God answered their prayer and Daniel was able to interpret the king’s dream. By that, their lives were spared and they glorified God’s name in a gentile country (Dan 2:14-49).

On another occasion, Daniel’s three friends stood firm in refusing to bow down to worship the gold image made by King Nebuchadnezzar. Though they were thrown into the blazing furnace, they were not harmed. Instead, they won respect and affirmation from the king (Dan 3 16-30). Daniel and his friends were not afraid of powerful threats from high authority because they had the almighty God as their reliance.

When Ahab was the king in Israel, he did evil in the eyes of the Lord by joining his wife, Jezebel, in worshipping Baal and corrupting the nation’s faith. God sent the prophet Elijah to Mount Carmel to demonstrate God’s glory to the people, that they might understand that the Lord is the only true God.

If we put ourselves in Elijah’s shoes, it’s probably not easy to stand up against four hundred and fifty of Baal’s prophets. He did as God instructed, and fire was sent from heaven to burn up the offering he offered. By relying and obeying, Elijah brought the hearts of the people back to God (1 Kg 18:16-46).

We know of many biblical examples and testimonies of God’s power and blessing. We too can experience these great works. As long as we are synchronized with the Holy Spirit and always seek God’s glory, we will receive God’s promise—because with God all things are possible (Phil 4:13; Gal 5:25-26; Mt 19:26).

TOTAL SUBMMISSION TO THE LORD

During the wedding that took place at Cana in Galilee, Mary, Jesus’ mother, saw that the wine was running low. She told Jesus and also asked the servants to do according to what Jesus said. The servants’ obedient actions changed water into good wine, allowing the crowd to enjoy the banquet and give glory to God (Jn 2:1-11).

Think about a time when you were faced with an adverse situation. How did you react? Did you fully submit yourself to God and wait quietly for God’s plan, or did you grumble and complain? Did you entrust all things to God, or did you forsake the truth?

We can learn from Mary’s conscientiousness—as soon as she found out what others needed, she brought the matter to God and believed that the Lord would provide a perfect solution.

TO DO GOD’S WORK IN DUE TIME

Opportunities sometimes strike but once. Mary of Bethany seized hold of a great opportunity to please God by pouring a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume, on Jesus’ feet (Jn 12:1-8). Peter and John preached the gospel whenever and wherever they could, even amidst threats and hindrances from the Sanhedrin (Acts 4:1-20). Paul and Silas, when imprisoned, still prayed and sang hymns to God.  In the end, the two of them led the jailer and his household to be baptized into the Lord (Acts 16:16-34).

We ought to apply our faith to our daily lives. There are many things we can do. We can serve the Lord in our speech, actions, and conduct. As long as we hold a heart of reverence to God and a heart of love to men, we can surely glorify the Lord’s name.

Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, Before the difficult days come, And the years draw near when you say, “I have no pleasure in them.” (Ecclesiastes 12:1)

FULFILL OUR CHRISTIAN DUTIES

Jesus said, “‘You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain . . . these things I command you, that you love one another’” (Jn 15:16-17).

God’s command for us can be simply summed up in one word: love. Love is the driving force that brings about much good. From simply being thankful in all circumstances to taking good care of ourselves, from lending a helping hand to seeing others’ merits and giving appropriate praise and assurance, we know that love is the key ingredient. Love generates many great and small deeds.

GIVE PRAISE TO THE LORD

The apostles always gave the glory to God for the miracles they performed. After being healed by Peter at the gate named Beautiful, the crippled man jumped to his feet, walking, leaping and praising God (Acts 3:1-10).

God guides all things and we are merely His servants. We ought to give praise to God and not steal God’s glory. When we finish our duties and complete all we are entrusted to do, we should only say, “We are unprofitable servants. We have only done what was our duty to do” (Lk 17:10).

POSSESSING THE RIGHT ATTITUDE IN SERVING

Do not be arrogant. Accept advice.

When Rehoboam became the ruler of Israel, he rejected the advice of the elders to lighten the workload on the people, and increased their load instead. Rehoboam’s decision brought forth the Israelites’ rebellion against him (1 Kg 12:1-19).

King Uzziah became proud after God granted him power over surrounding lands. Rejecting the advice of Azariah the priest, he entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense. Because of his action, God inflicted him with leprosy until the day he died (2 Chr 26:1-21).

Be humble in our service

What is important before God is not the significance of the work itself, but rather our attitude in serving Him. When God tested Abraham by asking for his beloved son Isaac as an offering, Abraham raised no questions and uttered no complaint. Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him to go (Gen 22:1-18).

During the process, Abraham’s attitude in attending to God’s command, and his trust in God, won His favor. God then promised to bless him and his descendants.

            “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is also unjust in much.” (Lk 16:10)

Follow God’s will and work together in unity

The success of a project in church relies heavily upon close coordination among all fellow workers (Gal 5:15; Phil 2:2). No matter what type of work we take up, other than good planning, putting God’s will as the center and having godliness as the guiding principle are the keys to successful completion of any project.

Put in your best effort and pursue spiritual cultivation

When serving the Lord, we ought to be hard working, have an attitude of endurance and have a sense of responsibility (2 Tim 2:15). In addition, we must actively pursue spiritual cultivation because serving the Lord starts with spiritual cultivation. Holy work and spiritual cultivation are inseparable (Lk 10:41-42).

Take the choir as an example. When we practice in a choir, we no longer sing for the sake of singing and we do not practice for the sake of performing on stage. Instead, we participate in choir to remind ourselves to seek further improvement to our spiritual cultivation.

Singing hymns is a way to express our gratitude towards God; thus, we should sing with our life and sing out of love. When we sing in this manner, we will be able to show our thanks to God, and at the same time, touch the hearts of the audience.

Pray for spiritual gifts

We should set high standards and expectations for ourselves. Otherwise, we will surely slacken. We must be willing to suffer for the Lord and train ourselves in godliness so that our spirituality may grow.

We can observe and find out what type of talent is needed in our local church and ask God for that particular talent. Then we can further cultivate our ability and spirituality through various training seminars and prayers. Everyone with a willing heart to serve can serve.

YOU CAN DO IT!

            Moses has the staff; Aaron can speak; Samson has the donkey jawbone; David has the sling; Dorcas has the needles; Paul has education; Mary has the pure nard; Everything is to serve the Lord!

These are the lyrics from a children’s hymn describing how biblical characters loved the Lord. These characters include men and women, young and old. They all have one thing in common—everything is for the Lord!

Man can only find value and meaning in life when he serves the Lord (Gen 2:15; Lk 1:75; Rev 14:13). In the process, we learn to give thanks and repay His love as we understand more of God’s grace and love for humanity.

1.        Hymns of Praise (True Jesus Church, 1993), No. 219.

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