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All of us are blessed beyond our comprehension. We have many God-given advantages in this life, but unfortunately, we take many of these for granted. And when it comes to participating in the work of the Lord, we often excuse ourselves as if we had little ability, little opportunity, and little responsibility. In reality, however, God has blessed us greatly, and He is going to call us to account for what we have done with our tremendous blessings. He knows -- whether we are willing to acknowledge it or not -- that He has showered us with the things we need in order to accomplish His work in this world, and the plain truth is this: if we fail to use our abilities in the Lord's work, that is a serious sin.
It is tempting to worry (and maybe even complain) about what we can't do. But God has never asked anyone to do anything that was impossible for that person at that time. His expectations are always within our reach, and the consequence is that His judgment of us will be perfectly just. If we are lost, it will be because we chose not to do what we could have done if we had adopted a better attitude about our opportunities.
Philippians 4:13 is a passage that takes away most of our excuses. It is the text where Paul says, "I can do all things through him who strengthens me." The "all things" that Christ will strengthen us to do are the things that have to do with His will, and what we are being told is that if there is anything we ought to do or need to do in regard to God, He will help us do it. It is an insult to God to say, "Well, I know I should do it, but I can't do it." To the contrary, whatever we should do, God will help us do -- and we will answer for what we do or don't do with the help God gives us.
Throughout this week, our Bible studies will concentrate on the importance of (a) identifying the role the Lord wants us to play in His work, (b) being grateful for the blessings that make our work possible, and then (c) rising to meet our responsibilities with courage and confidence. There is no greater work than the Lord's work. We each need to be busy doing our part in the body of Christ. Ultimately, the Lord will judge our workmanship. So let's work so that we won't have to be ashamed of the quality of our efforts (2 Tim. 2:15). Think about it!
Monday: Isaiah 5:1-7
Key Idea: God expects us to use the blessings that He has given us.
Questions for Family Growth: In this text, what had God done for His "vineyard"? What result did He expect? Instead, what actually happened? What was God going to do next to His vineyard? Who were the people represented by the vineyard?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 19:14.
Tuesday: Colossians 4:16,17
Key Idea: Each of us has a "ministry" (service) that we are expected to fulfill.
Questions for Family Growth: What message did Paul want the brethren to give to Archippus? What does the word "ministry" mean? How does a person "fulfill" his or her ministry? What application does this passage have to us today?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 19:15.
Wednesday: Matthew 25:14-30
Key Idea: The Lord does not accept excuses for not doing our work faithfully.
Questions for Family Growth: What did the five-talent and two-talent servants do with their master's money? What did the one-talent servant do? Did the master accept his excuse? Is there ever any good reason for us not to do what the Lord expects us to do?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 19:16.
Thursday: Matthew 25:31-46
Key Idea: Some will miss heaven because of what they did not do.
Questions for Family Growth: What did Christ say to the "sheep" on His right hand? What did He say to the "goats" on His left? What reasons or excuses might the goats have offered for not doing as they should? How would you define sins of "omission"?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 19:17.
Friday: Mark 14:3-9
Key Idea: The Lord is pleased when we do what it is possible for us to do.
Questions for Family Growth: What did the woman do for Jesus? Why were some angry? What did Jesus say in vv.6,7? What did He say about the woman in v.8? Is there any higher compliment Jesus could give a person than to say they did what they "could"?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 19:18.