There are three kinds of people you will meet in life: (1) The critic. They're the first to point an accusing finger and the last to extend a helping hand. (2) The cautious. When you're in trouble they'll distance you lest they become tainted by your perceived liabilities. These people are not bad, they're just self-serving. Don't put your trust in them. (3) The committed. 'A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.' Recognise such people and build your life around them because they are a gift from God. Beware of those who change their mind about you when your circumstances change. Build your life on those who believe the best about you, and want to bring it out.
When we work and worship, we reflect God to our world, and reflect our work in this world back to God. And this means that everything we do matters. Everything we create, the mouths we feed, the sick for whom we care, the environments we clean up, the children we nurture, the spouse you love, the friends with whom we weep and rejoice, the hard work at our jobs, the kindness we offer strangers, the art we make—it all matters, and not just for now, because everything you do for God matters for eternity. This is what we must know: The work we do every single day matters to God.
It’s no different for us. We can live as peacemakers, fight against the injustices of poverty and hunger, work to provide clean water for all people, research to discover cures to deadly diseases and stand against violence. This is what we must know: We can show others today what the new heavens and new earth will be like tomorrow.
And there is one more thing we should know. When it comes to knowing who we are, why we are here and where we are going, it’s not something we learn overnight. Like anything important, it takes a lifetime of work. It’s learning everyday to trust more, to love more and to be more honest with God and ourselves.
The 3 Things we can give to God in 2014
As we enter into a new year, here is something to remember: When it's all said and done, we have three things we can offer God—our treasure, our talent, and our time. Each of these is given to us by God, and each of them should be given back in generous portions.
First, there is our treasure. I urge you to commit yourself to give faithfully and generously to the Lord in this coming year. Jesus said, "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Matthew 6:21 NKJV). Whenever we put our money into something, we develop a vested interest in it. It makes sense to us that we would place our treasures where our hearts are. If we love reading books, or being entertained, or the latest technology, we spend our treasure on those things. And if our heart's desires change, that changes where we put our treasure.
But it works the other way too: Where we put our treasures, our heart will follow. Do you want your heart to be in the things of God? Then put your treasures in the things of God! Develop a vested interest in God's kingdom.
The second thing we can give to God is our talent. God has gifted each believer in different ways. Everyone has something to offer for the work of the kingdom. Romans 12 says, "Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ's body. We are all parts of his one body, and each of us different work to do" (NLT).
Finally, there is our time. Let's say that one day your phone rang and it was the president of the bank that you use. He told you that an anonymous donor who loved you very much had decided to deposit 86,400 pennies into your bank account each and every morning. At first, maybe that didn't seem like a lot. But then you figured out that it was $864 a day. At seven days a week and 52 weeks a year, those pennies add up to almost $315,000 each year! But the bank president added one thing: "The anonymous giver said you must spend all of the money on the day you receive it! No balance will be carried over to the next day. Each evening the bank must cancel whatever sum you failed to use! Remember, what you don't spend is lost."
That may sound like fantasy, but here's the reality: Every morning, Someone who loves you very much deposits into your "bank of time" 86,400 seconds, which represent 1,440 minutes, which of course equals 24 hours each and every day. God gives you that much to use each day. Nothing is ever carried over on credit to the next day. There is no such thing as a 27-hour day. It's called time, and you can't escape it. Time is ticking away right now. The Bible tells us to "redeem the time"—to make sacred and wise use of every opportunity.
Offer God your treasure, your talent, and your time. Live this next year as if it were your last, because it could be. Make those minutes count!*
* Greg Laurie,The 3 Things we can give to God in 2014