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Daily Encounter: A Week-day Devotional by a staff of ACTS International.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020


Standing by the Stuff

"For who will hearken unto you in this matter? but as his part is that goes down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarries by the stuff: they shall part alike."1 Or as the New Living Translation puts it, "Do you think anyone will listen to you when you talk like this? We share and share alike—those who go to battle and those who guard the equipment [supplies]."

Have you ever noticed that, when someone works real hard to build a group, a class, or an organization from scratch, and when it is up and running successfully, how someone wants to take it over and run it—and sometimes ends up killing it?

I've seen it happen in churches more than once. I've had it happen to a support group I had started. When I returned after a six-week summer mission trip, it had been taken over by one of the members . . . and soon died.

"An admirer once asked Leonard Bernstein, celebrated orchestra conductor, what was the hardest instrument to play. He replied without hesitation: 'Second fiddle. I can always get plenty of first violinists, but to find one who plays second violin with as much enthusiasm, now that's a problem. And yet if no one plays second, we have no harmony.'"2

In King David's day some of those who went to battle wanted to keep for themselves all the spoils of that which was conquered. They didn't want to share the glory or the spoils with those who stayed behind the front lines and took care of the "stuff" (supplies and equipment).

In God's economy, Christians will not be rewarded on the basis of his/her rank or position. Whether one is a church leader, Sunday school teacher, or janitor; the president of a company or the new kid working in the mail room—each will be rewarded on the basis of their being a faithful steward of the gifts and abilities with which he/she has been entrusted. What God is looking for to do his work on earth are second, third, and fourth fiddlers who are not seeking to glorify themselves but to serve God by serving others and thereby bring glory to God. Let us joyfully use our gifts (not those of others) this season to share God's love with those around us.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, whether I am a fifth or a first fiddler, I thank You for gifts and the abilities You have given and entrusted to me, knowing that all have been given by You. Help me to be a faithful steward and use me to help extend Your Kingdom, and thereby bring glory to Your name. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. 1 Samuel 30:24 (KJV).
2. "Chapel Talk" by Adrian Dieleman www.trinitycrc.org/sermons/jn03v30a.html

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