“Do more than belong: participate. Do more than care: help. Do more than believe: practice. Do more than be fair: be kind. Do more than forgive: forget. Do more than dream: work.” (William Arthur Ward~American pastor/author~1921-1994)
In the Body of Christ there are spectators, critics, dreamers, lovers, carers, idlers. If we all leave our comfort zones, and do as the pastor of yore enunciates the Body of Christ would be wonderful but we must dream on , as the Body of Christ is made of human beings imperfect and full of frailties.
Do more than belong: participate by helping because you care, practicing what you believe, being kind to be fair, forgetting and forgiving, and working for Jesus.
Do more than care: help. Do not wait to be called, volunteer. See a need? be the one to fill the gap for Jesus. Say that comforting, encouraging word. Pray with someone in need, lend a listening ear, offer a shoulder to cry on. Be there when words lose their meaning. Just care in your own special way with humility and God’s love in your heart.
Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.
Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which He has given you.
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.
…the righteous gives and does not hold back.
He who is generous will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor.
But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
And he would answer and say to them, “The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none; and he who has food is to do likewise.”
In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.
…Or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
2 Corinthians 9:6-8
Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.
And you yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; for even in Thessalonica you send a gift more than once for my needs. Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account.
If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?
Do more than believe: practice.
Show forth the fruit of the Spirit
Galatians 5:22.23 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Teachers to be led by the Spirit of God : “If any of you falls short in wisdom, he should ask God for it and it will be given him, for God is a generous giver who neither refuses nor reproaches anyone” (James 1:5, N.E.B).*
When young people study the Bible, they plug into the creative energy that called the worlds into existence. That Word begets power and imparts life It has a dynamic, transforming, refining, and ennobling influence.
1. Apply knowledge and principles to evaluate and distinguish what is good. “But test everything: hold fast what is good” (1 Thess. 5:21), R.S.V.). “By all means use your judgment, and hold on to whatever is good” (Phillips). † “Try hard to show yourself worthy of God’s approval, as a laborer who need not be ashamed, driving a straight furrow, in your proclamation of the truth” (2 Tim. 2:15, N.E.B.).
2. Develop noble thought. “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Phi. 4:8, R.S.V.).
3. Develop good work habits. “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might” (Eccl. 9:10).
4. Understand and maintain principles that lead to good health. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own: you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:19, 20, R.S.V.). “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (chap. 10:31), R.S.V.).
5. Apply Christian understanding to living victoriously. (See Matthew 5 and 6, Romans 7 and 8, and the book of James.)
6. Share the knowledge of God with others. “Be always ready with your defense whenever you are called to account for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15, NE.B.).
7. Demonstrate love for others, as well as for oneself, based on an understanding of God’s love (Matt. 25:31-46).
8. Develop one’s abilities to the maximum potential. (See Matt. 25:14-20).
Do more than be fair: be kind. If you are in a position of authority be kind.
Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven. Colossians 4:1
Ephesians 4:32 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
This quality is the sympathetic kindliness or sweetness of temper that puts others at ease, and shrinks from giving pain. This kindness demands that one consider another’s feelings and seek to enhance his joy, rather than to make him unhappy. We should desire to help, instead of hurt (. 1 Peter 3:8; Colossians 3:12-13; 2 Corinthians 6:6; Romans 2:4, 11:22).
The Psalmist sang: “Give thanks to God for he is kind, for his steadfast love lasts forever.“ (Psalm 106:1, 107:1, 136:1) We must follow the example of our Father in heaven. What moves the heart of the Psalmist is not God’s moral goodness, it is His sheer kindness. His only claim to God’s gifts, and his only hope of forgiveness lie in the fact that God is kind; his only prayer is that God should hear him because God is kind, and that God should be merciful to him because God is kind (Psalm 69:16, 86:3, 100:5, 109:21). “Remember me,” he prays, “according to thy steadfast love, for thy kindness’ sake, O Lord.” (Psalm 25:7)
God demands that we be kind. For it is kindness that makes a man a good man. To neglect kindness is to invite God’s condemnation. I must “put on… kindness” (Colossians 3:12) as a part of my Christian life. This means “forbearing one another, and forgiving each other, if any man have a complaint against any; even as the Lord forgave you, so also do ye.” (Colossians 3:13) Paul wrote, “Be ye kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32) He also wrote, “Love suffereth long and is kind.” (1 Corinthians 13:4) The wisdom writer affirmed, “That which maketh a man to be desired is his kindness.” (Proverbs 19:22) He also described the worthy woman, “She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and the law of kindness is on her tongue.” (Proverbs 31:26)
The attitude that motivates kindness toward others is the same attitude that motivated God’s kindness to us. Paul wrote, “Doing nothing through faction or through vainglory, but in lowliness of mind each counting other better than himself; not looking each of you to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others…“ (Philippians 2:3-4) Wouldn’t a little kindness cure a lot of ills?
Kindness is indeed a lovely thing. It doesn’t cost any money, but it does cost part of ourselves. The lovely thing about kindness is that it causes us to treat others the way that God treats us.
How do God’s own people show kindness to one another if in their hearts, they bear ill will toward one another? A brother who makes no effort to “fix a problem” shows no kindness by that behavior? What if one sees a brother or sister living in an ungodly way and offers no warning concerning the consequences of such conduct? If we are kind, we will show the brother the error and how he can correct it.
Brethren, many times we accuse fellow Christians of being “unkind” because they correctly point out sin in our lives. Such understanding has truly “missed the mark.” This type of kindness should never waver among those in God’s household. Thank God for the brethren who are “kind” enough to warn others about falling back into sin. May their tribe increase! (KMG)
Do more than forgive: forget. The phrase “forgive and forget” is not found in the Bible. However, scriptures commanding us to “forgive one another” (Matthew 6:14; Ephesians 4:32). A Christian who does not forgive can reap bitterness and the loss of eternal rewards (Hebrews 12:14-15; 2 John 1:8). Forgiveness is a decision of the will. Since God commands us to forgive, we must make a conscious choice to forgive. This frees the forgiving one from the past. The offender may not desire forgiveness and may not change (Matthew 5:44). Ideally, the offender will seek reconciliation, but if not, the one wronged should still make known his decision to forgive. If we belong to Him through faith in Christ, God does not hold our sins against us. In that sense we must “forgive and forget.” If we forgive someone, we must act as if that sin had never occurred as God does to us. We remember the sin, but we live as if we did not remember it. Ephesians 4:32 tells us, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Do more than dream: work.
“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.” -Colin Powell . There are two kinds of people: those who do the work and those who take the credit. There is no substitute for hard work . Hard work doesn’t guarantee success, but improves its chances.The greatest weariness comes from work not done. Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all. Those are words by various people about work.
Let us learn from Billy Blanks. People told Blanks he would never amount to anything. Even the local karate instructor said he didn’t have the patience to work with him. But Billy believed in his dream. He stepped out and made his dream come true, becoming a karate world champion seven times. . Even the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq love when Billy brings his Tae Bo team for a visit. He’s still fulfilling the dream God has given him, and you can fulfill your dreams too, with these pearls of wisdom Billy has come to live by:
KNOW YOUR DREAM IS FROM GOD : Billy says, “We are God’s creation. What is it He doesn’t want us to have? Jesus has made the way. All we have to do is get to work and go get it.” If the dream in your heart drives you to do better, if it encourages you, if it isn’t selfish, it’s from God. It will be good, positive, and it will give glory to Him. Listen to your heart. Billy reminds us, “The Bible tells us that ‘God so loved the world’, not just Christians.” Our dream should reflect the love of God to the world. Once that’s settled, don’t get caught up in doubting that your dream is from Him.
STEP OUT : Blanks believes that once you have a vision of where you want to go, it’s time to step out. “Most people won’t do that. They hide their dream or they get scared. They only go as far as they can control. God is the God of the impossible
EXPECT OBSTACLES : :The key to reaching our dreams is understanding that the unexpected is going to show up. Billy says, “If you work towards a dream thinking problems aren’t going to come your way, you’ll be caught off guard. You’ll get slapped in the face and end up quitting.” Expect the unexpected. When a setback does pop up just say, “Okay, I knew that was coming. Now I’ll just work a little harder.”
TAKE A DETOUR: The pursuit of our dreams can be compared to being on a highway, an analogy Blanks often uses. When you come to a road block, what do you do? You take a detour. You look for other ways to get there. He points out that you may even find a better way. But when most people reach a road block they say, “Well, I guess God doesn’t want me to have my dream.”
DON’T HIDE YOUR FAITH: “When I gave my life to Christ, that’s when God said, ‘I’m going to use that man.’ Only when I accepted Christ was I truly fulfilled Look for opportunities to glorify God with your dream, and don’t keep what He’s done for you a secret.
FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD: “Most people pray, ‘God, give me the power to do this’,” Billy explains. “But you have to do the work. If you don’t do the work, you won’t get the dream. You already have the power.” Don’t wait for God to deliver the dream to your doorstep. He’s given that dream to you, and He wants you to go get it. Train yourself for the dream God’s given you. Billy is convinced “It takes work to reach your dreams. God didn’t say it was going to be easy. You may go through pain and suffering, but that’s what it takes to be successful.”
SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE: You might not reach your goal as quickly as you’d like. “If something comes slowly it builds a foundation in your life. Nobody can take it from you. You know how you got there. Overnight success may be exciting, but it won’t last. You may not be able to hold onto it.” Take the time to work, and work, and work. Then when you get there, you’ll know how to keep it.
DON’T QUIT: Don’t just try to fulfill your dream. When a stumbling block gets in your way, your’e likely to quit. It will turn you around. Have faith that you will reach your goal, and you’ll get there.
MAKE PRAYER A WAY OF LIFE 24/7: Billy talks to God all day, giving thanks for everything he has. “My prayer life is like my skin. You can never peel it off. It’s a part of me,” “I’m always talking to Him.” Prayer keeps us focused. It refuels us as we work toward our dreams, keeping the lines of communication open for His guidance. “Every day when I wake up I have to choke my senses to stay disciplined. I’m not perfect, but Jesus makes me perfect in Him.”
STAND ON SOLID GROUND: The Word of God must be the foundation of everything we do in order to stand strong and not falter in the pursuit of our dreams. Billy’s eyes brighten when he says, “The Word is the number one thing in my life. I fit everything else around it. Without the Word of God, I have nothing.