(Summary of the sermon: 03 Jan 2016)
And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
2 Corinthians 9:8
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen
God who is all powerful and sovereign chooses to work in and through us. In the process, He is able to bless us abundantly in ways beyond our imagination. Now, the important thing to remember is that God blesses us not for us to simply hoard it. Rather, He blesses us so that we can be a channel of blessing to others.
Genesis 26 talks about Isaac and the Philistines. Isaac sowed and reaped a harvest. But the jealous Philistines chased him away. Instead of fighting, he relocated and unearthed wells that his father had dug. The Philistines came after him again, closed the wells he had opened and chased him off.
The enemy is cunning. Often he doesn’t take away our seeds; instead he blocks our source of water. We have the living water inside us. But the enemy tries to fill the wells of our lives with the lusts, cares and worries of this world. Therefore it’s important for us to dig out all the weeds and depend on God to release the flow of water in us.
SOURCE AND MEANS
Lest we misunderstand, let us remember that the source of water in our lives is God. Yes, God does work through us. But we are only the means that He has chosen to work though. He has chosen us because of His great love for us. Now, we all know that God loved us at Creation, when the world was perfect and beautiful. But then sin entered and tarnished the perfect world. However we continue to see the same love for the world shine through, when Jesus speaks in John 3:16. He said, ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life’. It is this loving God that lives in us and is the source of the wellspring of our life.
LAWRENCE OF ARABIA
Let me tell you a true event in this connection. Thomas Edward Lawrence who was also known as Lawrence of Arabia was a famous British military spy. During the war against the Turks, he formed close friendships with many sheikhs of Arabia. As a token of gratitude for their support in the war, he invited them to visit England. The sheikhs were treated to a wonderful time in England. They saw the sights, visited the Parliament and the Queen. On the eve of their departure, Lawrence told the sheikhs that they could take anything back to their home. They ushered him into their hotel room, took him to the bathroom and pointed at the tap with running water. They said, ‘we want to take these taps so that in our desert homes we will have running water’. Lawrence replied, ‘I can certainly give you the tap but the water does not originate from it. It comes from elsewhere’. The magic was not in the tap but it was in the source. Even if the tap was of 24 carats gold, it would be pretty useless if the source of the water supply is not operational.
CHECK THE PLUMBING
That’s why even in our households, if there is a problem with the water supply, it is pointless to blame the city and the government. We need to check if the plumbing is working well and if there is anything blocking the water flow. God has chosen us to work through us. Instead of grumbling about the inconveniences, let us praise Him for choosing to work through us and allow ourselves to be used by Him. Like the Psalmist says in Psalm 8, who are we that God should care about us?
NO MORE EXCUSES
Many a time, we come up with numerous excuses as to why we can’t be used by God. We feel that we don’t look good or are worthless or have messed up big time and therefore we don’t qualify in God’s plan.
But here are some interesting statistics. Moses stammered, had a short fuse and was a murderer, Jacob was a liar, Solomon was too rich, Abraham was too old, David was too young, Lazarus was dead, Naomi was a widow, Paul was a murderer, Jonah was a coward, Miriam was a gossiper, Thomas was a doubter, Elijah was too burnt out and Samson had long hair! But God chose to use each one of them. All that God seeks is a willing and available heart that obeys Him.
God says, ‘I stand at the door and I knock. If you open I will come in and have a banquet with you’. Even though He has the power to break the door open and come in, He will not force Himself in. He is gentle and patient. He expects us to open the door ourselves so that a river can flow through us. He wants us to be available so that He can move through our lives.
God is not a mean boss, but He is a gentle father. Even if we mess up, He will welcome us back. He won’t disown us. Yes, in His love, He may prune us, but instead of rebelling, let us abide in Him.
Throughout the Bible we see that God stops moving when He does not find anybody willing to rise up for Him. Ezekiel says that God stands and watches to see if there is anyone who can stand in the gap. Revelations 5:2-5 says that John wept when he saw that there was no one worthy to open the scrolls. By our own merit, we may be worthless. But with the help of God, we can be used for His glory. No power in this world can stop God’s power from working through us. All that we need to do is to be willing and ready to be used by Him.
Let me tell you two real life examples in connection to this subject.
One is an incident that happened a few years back. As a small church we volunteered to organize the Peace and Healing Festival in Chennai. God honored our small step of faith and used it to be a powerful blessing in the city of Chennai.
Similarly, a Christian gentleman told me a couple of days ago about something that happened in his life. During the recent floods in Chennai, he tore down the walls of his house so that the water would not damage his neighbors’ houses. His neighbors were so impressed by his kindness that it gave him an opportunity to invite them to Church.
When we keep ourselves available, God releases the flow. It may not be easy to hold fast but if we continue to make ourselves available to God and trust in Him then He will use us for His glory abundantly.
Please feel free to share your thoughts on this message in the comments section below.