Good evening Brethren!Another Sabbath day is here and how wonderful this is! Winston Churchill once said: “It’s not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what’s required.” It reminds us of the scripture in Psalm 39:5 “Behold, thou hast made my days as handbreadths [a very short time span -- about the width of a hand]; and mine age is as nothing before thee: surely every man at his best estate is altogether vanity.”[Selah] (ERV)
Yes — Selah — or stop and think about that! The word “vanity” is ?????(hebel) in the Hebrew means: vapor, breath, delusion, empty, emptiness, fleeting, fraud, futile, futility, idols, mere breath, nothing, useless, vain, vainly, vanities, vanity, vapor, and worthless. That is a mouthful and keep in mind that is man’s best!
So can man then solve his problems apart from our God in heaven? Clearly no, and it should make people want to believe in God (since only a fool says there is no God) just to get something better into their lives, that we as human beings don’t have in ourselves naturally. Occasionally we see moments of brilliance where someone actually does do what is required. Yes, way beyond what is their personal best and even onto the level of sheer genius.
Man knows deep down inside that there is a void. That void was created when our first couple, husband and wife, choose to pick from a mix of this world through the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Where the standards of God were rejected, which was represented by the tree of life, for something of much less value. “What a deal” and mankind has been suffering ever since because of this so called “bargain”.
Michael Josephson, of the Institute that bears his name, teaches business ethics and leadership. He states clearly that:“When you think about it: Ethics Is About Doing More Than Necessary.”
Precisely!He states: “Compliance is about doing what you are required to do by laws or rules. Ethics is about doing what you should do because it is right. An ethical person often chooses to do more than the law requires and less than the law allows.” He explains this concept through the story of a woman who was charged with stealing a loaf of bread for her starving family and standing before a judge. ““I have to punish you,” the judge said. “The law is clear in this case, and I fine you 10 dollars.” Then the judge pulled 10 dollars out of his own wallet and said, “The fine is paid.”
Brethren, this is what Christ did for us in a much bigger way. We are guilty of sin and He paid that penalty for us. We did not earn that payment or deserve it. Yet Christ did even more!
Mr. Josephson went on to state: “Certainly the judge has the responsibility to uphold the law, but this judge also wanted to do a greater good. Unfortunately, we often balk at going further than the rules require. We adopt an attitude of “I’m not going to do more than they tell me to.” So, our work may comply with what was demanded, but it isn’t really good work.”
Interesting concept and the author goes on to say that perhaps our “….adherence to safety regulations is faultless, but we don’t bother removing an obvious hazard because “it’s not part of my job.” [By acting in this manner] We comply, but our behavior is less than ethical.” Because we don’t go above what is required of us.
The article ends with: “Some even try to distort the meaning of compliance. They look for ways of fulfilling the letter, but not the spirit of the rules. For them, the paramount questions are:“How can I get around this rule?” and “What exactly can I get away with?””
Could that be any of us? If it is, then carefully read Luke 17:1-10. “And He said to His disciples, “It is inevitable that stumbling blocks should come, but woe to him through whom they come!2 “It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should cause one of these little ones to stumble. 3“Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. 4“And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.””
Naturally the apostles likely gulped and went on to say, Christ:“Increase our faith!” Indeed, it takes faith in our Father and Jesus Christ that all will be judged; and that a right judgment will come to step out now with a different attitude toward someone who has hurt us.
Yet scripture is also clear: “For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.” (Eccl. 12:14 NKJ)
Christ then in verse 10 of Luke 17 states: “So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done onlythat which we ought to have done.’”
We have been commanded to forgive when someone asks but what if they don’t? Maybe then we should follow Christ’s example, which went way beyond what was required of Him to say:“”Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.””Amazingly Christ saw these same greedy individuals casting “….lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.” (Luke 23:34 NAS) Incredible! Did Christ take it back? No. This is above and beyond. So the next time you are tempted not to forgive or resolve an issue or love a member in God’s Church, think of Christ and what He did!
Tomorrow Church Services will be in Tucson at 10:30 AM with a main message on: “Faith” by Mr. Nork. In Santa Fe at 11:30 AM and Albuquerque at 3 PM the sermon subject is: “Sealed or Marked: We Have a Choice” and the Bible Study on: Genesis 5 and 6. A full potluck will follow the study and later more fellowship, with music too. Plan to stay later and enjoy the entire evening! I plan to be in Prescott at 10:30 AM and Phoenix at 3 PM; with Las Cruces-El Paso (meeting in Arrey, NM this Sabbath) on phone hookup from Phoenix (4 PM NM time) where the main message will be on “Faith and Focus”.Be sure not to miss any of the spiritual food!