February: Launch Out… in Stewardship

“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6:38). Our memory verse for February is one which every truly born again person should learn (and I do hope that you will memorize it this month!). This verse comes in the midst of a passage that deals with us judging other people which might seem a bit strange, but it is entirely logical when you look at the whole passage. This is a promise on giving that requires us to launch out to deeper faith.

Our Lord was becoming more and more aware of the critical attitudes of the religious leaders. In this passage as He taught, the Scribes and Pharisees are standing near (v.7), and they had already judged Him for the miracle that He was about to do. Our Lord did not fit their expectation of who the Messiah would be and likewise, He would not acknowledge and abide by their man made rules. It is ironic that they are judging Him, yet one day they would be judged by Him and need His mercy and forgiveness. If you are struggling with a critical spirit and a need to judge the motives of others, please realize that the same standard you set for others will be the standard by which you will judged. In the midst of this discussion our Lord advocates a better way of living.

At first glance, our Lord’s new way of living seems contrary to everything we have learned and do in our daily lives. He is teaching behavior that is far above the norm of human living. He shows us that even wicked men are kind to those who are kind to them and He calls for us to love our enemies and do good to them. Then comes one of our Lord’s most famous sayings, which if often misunderstood and misapplied. He simply says, “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged…” (Luke 6:37a). The Lord is not forbidding us to use common sense and discernment in making wise decisions, rather He is warning against judging other people’s motives. We simply do not know why others do what they do – even if we think we do. Along with not judging others, we must be quick to forgive those who misjudge and hurt us. We must be generous in your giving of forgiveness of those who consider us foes. He then moves on to teach about giving.

He uses an illustration of a man buying grain to teach on giving. The man expected the merchant not only to fill the container, but to also press it down, shake it together, and fill it to over-flowing. This is the way in which the Lord wants us to give: generous to the point of being over generous. Are you generous in the giving of your funds. If you are then our Lord will measure back what He gives to you with the same generous measure with which you gave. You know that it is impossible for a man to out give God. This year will you launch out into the deep in your giving? Will you learn to trust God and give as He instructs, out of a willing and joyous heart? Will you give generously and see what the Lord does in your life? If not, in the end you are only robbing yourself of that which the Lord desires to give to you!



January: Launch Out… to Please God

 

Our theme for 2015 comes from remarkable account found in Luke’s gospel. The Lord Jesus is teaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee and a huge crowd throngs Him making it next to impossible for Him to speak. Our Lord then asks to use one of the two fishing boats that are located there on the beach, one of which belongs to Peter. Peter allows his boat to be used to address the large crowd that is assembled there on the shore. The acoustics of preaching from the small fishing boat on the water makes it possible for the entire crowd to hear the Lord Jesus, with Him never having to raise His voice. In the account, the Lord gives Peter three commands. First, He implores Peter to, “…thrust out a little from land…” Then He commands Him to “Launch out into the deep…”  Lastly He says, “…let down your nets…” Our theme comes from the second of these three commands.

 The account tells us that Peter and his partners had toiled all night and caught nothing. Those of you who are fisherman know how frustrating that can be, even more so if fishing is your livelihood. Jesus has just finished an amazing message (they were all amazing) and the Scripture describes it this way “Now when He had left speaking, He said to Simon, Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a draught” (Luke 5:4). I am sure that as a seasoned fisherman, Peter probably thought it crazy to launch out into the deep after a night of fruitless labor, but he did. What Peter was learning at that moment was the importance of obeying all the Lord’s commands by faith. Faith is not a warm feeling you get when Jesus speaks, rather it is simply obeying what He tells you to do. 

Our memory verse for January emphasizes this truth and states, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). Our theme this year is to remind us that whatever we do for the Lord Jesus Christ must be done by faith if it is to please Him. Peter expressed faith when He obeyed the Lord and launched out into the deep. I personally think that it was weak faith, but it was faith nevertheless. I believe it was weak because in the passage, (Luke 5:1-11), Peter while seeking to obey the Lord is still trying to do everything himself. He lets down one net, and immediately discovers that it is entirely inadequate for the task before him. He then calls for his partners to come and help when the Lord of Glory was in His boat. Peter and his friends then fill their boats with fish to the point of sinking, yet still not asking the Lord for help. It is only at the point when the boats are sinking that Peter comes to the end of his self-will and cries out, “…Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (Luke 5:8). Peter and those with him were about to have their lives changed forever as the Lord called him to fish for men from then on (Luke 5:10).

 I want 2015 to be a year of faith: a year in which we do what we do by faith. We hear, heed God’s Word and then personally apply it to our own lives by faith. Will you get out of your comfort zone in 2015? Will you teach by faith, witness by faith, attend by faith, and give by faith? If we obey the Lord by faith we will see what Peter saw, God working mightily on our behalf. Will you launch out into the deep in 2015? I sure hope you will.




Monthly Newsletters: