Pass The Plate Please
(2 Kings 7:9) “Then they said to each other, “What we’re doing is not right. This is a day of good news AND WE ARE KEEPING IT TO OURSELVES…”
Thanksgiving is almost here and it immediately makes me think about sitting at the family table. You see, somewhere in the ‘Fathers Handbook’, I’m convinced it says that the father automatically gets to carve the turkey, or the ham, or the roast. And most men don’t mind; they actually feel very fatherly when they get to do that, very manly sitting at the head of the table with their super carving knife.
But I have observed something rather odd.
Now, if you come from a huge family like mine, you’re accustomed to large portions of chicken, turkey, ham, ribs, rice, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, cornbread, yams, and the like. In other words, you’re used to there being a lot of food! Yet, even with all of this food available, often someone ends up with an empty plate!
See, sometimes at a large dinner gathering, you’ve got someone who loads up their own plate, starts chowing down and shortstops all the food where they are!
Ever notice that it all seems to pile up sometimes in a corner and doesn’t get moved past there?
After all, it’s not going to bother the person whose plate is piled high, and they’re satisfied stuffing their face! But while they’re enjoying a full plate of food, some of us end up with nothing in our corner, because they got there’s, but didn’t continue to pass the trays to those who didn’t!
However, the way this should work is that you take what you need and you pass it on to others who don’t have any yet. Sad to say but when you’ve got plenty, it’s awfully easy to forget those who haven’t been served anything as yet!
With that in mind, I want you to travel with me to Matthew 10. Jesus is speaking to His disciples, who have in a sense been sitting at the dinner table and being very well fed.
They have sat in many meetings with Jesus, they have heard, seen and received a lot, and now He calls them together in Matthew 10:8 and says, “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons…” He’s sending them out now. And He does so with these added words, “…Freely you have received; FREELY GIVE.”
In other words, Jesus is saying, “Look, I passed it to you, not just so you could be full (especially of yourselves), but you’re supposed to pass it on to others!”
But the problem comes in because we, as His disciples, get so satisfied with OUR healing; OUR restoration; OUR renewal; and OUR salvation and deliverance, that we forget that we have been commissioned to ensure that others receive all of these same blessings too. It’s wonderful that we’re healed, restored, renewed, saved and delivered, but what about those who don’t have that testimony yet?
For Those Who Don’t Know: Selfishness Is Sin! Which takes me back to the family table. Remember now, this is the FAMILY TABLE. Which makes this behavior all the more worse! How do you sit at a table with more than enough, and yet allow your FAMILY to go without?! Likewise, how do we, as believers who serve a self-sacrificing Savior, have all that we have, and yet we’re Selfish?!
In other words, if we imitate how our Savior lived, we can then live better.
He was forgiving, loving, compassionate, gentle, kind, patient, and giving. I wonder would the people around us be able to say that they see those very same attributes in us, His disciples?
Do we love as unconditionally as Jesus? Of course not, that’s why so many are sitting at the corner of the family table with no provision while we pig out in our little section of the family table! As believers, we are indeed held to a higher standard in society, no matter how bad the society may get. We as believers, are to be “…recognized…” as forgiving, loving, compassionate, gentle, kind, patient, and giving.
People should be able to look at our characteristics as believers, and clearly see; take notice of; perceive without question and easily discern that we are in fact who we say we are and belong to who we say we belong to! In addition, we are “…commanded…” to love others “…
IN THE SAME WAY…” that Jesus loved us. And a “command” is not a suggestion! But we have not received a “suggestion” to be considered as a possible good idea. No, we’ve been given a Command!
And a “command” is an authoritative order with the expectation that it will be followed.” And our Authority is Jesus Christ as Lord, King, Savior, Master, God, Chief, and Commanding Officer! We are Commanded to Love Others “
…IN THE SAME WAY…” that Jesus loved us! And that can’t be done by starving family members at the family table!
Even Judas was provided for at the family table, how much more should we then provide for the least, the lost, the lonely, the last, the looked over, and the left out?!
If You Don’t Want to Reap Selfishness, Stop Sowing It!
Let’s travel back to our opening text.
There’s a story in the Old Testament in the book of 2 Kings. It tells about four lepers who lived outside a city that was being starved to death by an enemy siege.
Finally, they decided just to surrender to the enemy thinking, “Well, you know what? We’re probably going to be killed anyway, or we’re going to die of starvation. So, maybe they’ll take us and feed us, or we’ll just die like we’re going to die here.” However, what happened was they found out that God had performed a miracle and driven the enemy out.
The camp was empty. And they ended up with all of this food that had been left behind! They’re sitting there eating and chowing down all night long while people are still starving to death in the city that they just came from!
Finally, by the morning light, one of them says,
“What we’re doing is not right. This is a day of good news AND WE ARE KEEPING IT TO OURSELVES.” (7:9 NIV)
What a picture of some Believers, Think about it: We’re the spiritually wealthiest in all of history: We have seminars, and workshops, and radio programs, and TV programs, and conferences, convocations, magazines, books, blogs, iPods; iPads; tablets; laptops; and websites.
It’s just so easy to get caught up in a comfortable cycle of listening and just saying, “Well, you know, that was a nice sermon, wasn’t it?”
Going to Bible study, and attending a fellowship we enjoy, going to concerts, and feeling real spiritual a lot of the time. And honestly with all of this at our disposal, we ought to be growing.
We ought to be filling up with spiritual resources– and loading up on the Lord, loading up on His truth-HOWEVER NOT AT THE EXPENSE OF OTHERS! “…Freely you have received all of this; FREELY GIVE.”
I’ve been asked for the years why I don’t turn the devotionals into a book? Or why haven’t I published my book yet? Or why do I post all of my bible studies, sermons and devotionals on my website for free?
Well, this is the reason in a nutshell: Not everyone can afford a price tag! But what I’ve found personally priceless is the Pastor in Nambia who emailed his thanks for allowing him to use a bible study series that brought souls into his church. Or the missionary in Botswana that used a devotional to teach the children about having dreams. Or the Evangelist in Brooklyn that preached a devotional because it encouraged her heart personally. Or the Sister in Detroit that rediscovered Worship through the ‘Quiet Time With God Series’.
Those things were possible because what they needed was within reach and free. When I hear that it encouraged, empowered or inspired someone to do and be better, that’s the gift to me!
While we’re running, jumping, praising, worshiping, dancing, spinning, speaking in tongues, preaching, teaching and praying…someone is wondering where they’re going to live; what they’re going to eat; where will they get coats for a cold season; when will a job finally come through; what will I say to the kids for Christmas, when I have no gifts for them?
How do we celebrate Thanksgiving when we don’t feel as if we have anything to be thankful for?
How will I get the lights and gas back on?
Then, you have those that are trying to pull themselves out of the bed just one more day. Those who are depressed, discouraged, wounded, desperate, in pain, and just all around frustrated with life!
People of God, you have no idea what the planting of your small seed may one day yield for someone else’s harvest.
You see, Jesus said, “To whom much is given, much is required.” (Luke 12:48). Therefore, shouldn’t we (believers; the church; the disciples of Christ; the children of Light; the children of God) then be found giving as much as we’re getting?
So, what did the lepers from 2 Kings ultimately do?
“So, they went and called out to the city gatekeepers and told them…” (vs. 10)
We need to do the same.
Those who are perishing, hurting, depressed, discouraged, need us to call out to them because we remember what it was like on the other side of the wall.
We need to tell them what God did. We need to tell them what we’ve found.
We need to share our discovery.
We need to tell them the Good News. We need to feed those who are so desperately hungry, both naturally and spiritually.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s alright to pray for your cup to run over, just make sure you amend your prayer to say and Lord give me a saucer for the overflow so I can pass the blessing on!
Don’t sit at the table full, while others are empty, and you have extra!
Pass the Plate Please!
Every believer should be actively involved in reaching the lost; rescuing the dying somehow…including you, in an outreach to people that you are uniquely close to, or by starting or supporting outreach programs through your church, or by giving time or talent to a ministry that is actively rescuing lost people. Maybe even by changing your life plans.
But just don’t keep piling it up on your plate, because there are people all around you who are dying of starvation both naturally and spiritually.
Today is a good day to share some of your food, and why not start with some Fruit?
Share a pot of love, a plate of joy, a cup of peace, a forkful of longsuffering, a spoonful of gentleness, a glass of goodness, a saucer of faith, a serving of meekness and a good portion of temperance? (Galatians 5:22-23).
Today, Let Us BE the People of God in Both Our Word and Deed!
Today, Let’s Pass the Plate to Those Starving Who Need Sustenance…Naturally AND Spiritually!
- SYS Ministries
Reflections Ministries / Calvin Wyatt / e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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