DayBreaks for 5/4/17 – Pig Parties

DayBreaks for 5/04/17: Pig Parties

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2007:

From “News of the Weird”, UPI, 5/1/98: When farmers leave for the day, pigs start to party, said agricultural researches in Reading, England, interviewed by the London Daily Telegraph in April.  According to Nick Bird of the Farmex firm, the pigs eat, drink and roughhouse until about midnight before retiring for the evening, at least in buildings that are well lighted.  Farmex now wants to know whether this has any effect on the supply of bacon.

Do you remember that old saying about “When the cat’s away, the mice will play”?  Apparently it is not only true of cats and mice, but of farmers and pigs, too! 

I am also aware of the fact that this happens in the world of business.  I know.  I’ve been there and been guilty of it myself.  When the boss is gone, sometimes we don’t give our best effort – or at least not as intense of an effort as when the boss is there.  For some of you reading this today – your boss is out of the office.  How are you doing with your work today?  Are you slacking off – even just a little bit?  If so, do you think that is what God wants you to do?  It comes down to the question of who you believe you really work for, doesn’t it?  Are you working for Mr. or Ms. Smith, or even your family? Or are you working for God and displaying your thankfulness to Him for the job He has given you?

There are biblical parallels to this story.  The parable of the talents was about using what we’ve been given and being faithful with it.  You’ve been given a job, just like the servants were given talents.  The ones that took what they’d been given and worked hard with it while the master was gone were praised and trusted with more.  The servant who didn’t do that had even what he was given taken away from him. 

Another parallel with a different meaning is the wickedness that the Lord said would precede his return.  Matthew 24:37-39 relays to us the words of our Lord: As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.  For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark;     and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.  You see, the Master has been gone for a long time now and the “party” has continued for a long time.  The terrible tragedy of the picture Jesus relates to us is that just as those who were lost in the flood waters had no idea it was coming, so those who “party” while the Master is away will be totally caught off guard by his return. 

How are you spending your time at work?  How are you spending your life?  To be right with God, we need to do both as if He were present all the time for one simple reason: He is.

PRAYER: Lord, many of us will be tempted this day to goof off when we think no one is watching us.  Help us to be the kind of people who don’t even think about trying to get away with less than a 100% effort in all we do that is right.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

 

DayBreaks for 5/4/16 – The Master and the Reward

DayBreaks for 5/04/16 – The Master and the Reward

From the DayBreaks archives, May 2006:

It’s confession time.  I must confess that I’m guilty of envy.  It was over two years ago now that the Lord called us to this town to plant a new church.  I love it here.  I love the body that the Lord has formed.  They are the most delightful people that I think I’ve ever been involved with and I love them dearly.  So what am I envious of?  Well, on Friday and Saturday, I was at a Men’s Advance (as opposed to “retreat”!) where there were numerous other church planters.  Some of them have been at if for quite a few years, some are even “newer” church planters than I.  Here’s what I’m envious of: some of them have seemingly been more “successful” in their church plants…they’ve got larger congregations and are able to do more things than we can.  And I am envious. 

I know it is wrong.  I know I shouldn’t be.  I know that there are reasons for why churches in one place grow rapidly and others don’t: the size of the town, the culture of the area, the energy and enthusiasm of those laboring to plant the church, even the geography and demographics make a huge difference.  But I’m envious of their “success”, and I ask God to forgive me for that envy.  I feel we are where we are supposed to be, that we’re in the place that He’s called us to. 

So what’s the point?  Well, simply this: during the men’s advance, part of the teaching on Saturday was about the parable of the talents from Matthew 25, and the Lord showed me what He wanted me to know.  Here’s the passage: Matthew 25:19-23 (NIV) – After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’  “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ “The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’ His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’”

The point is simply this: the man who had 5 talents to begin with was told, “Come and share your master’s happiness!”  The EXACT same words are spoken to the person who was giving the 2 talents: “Come and share your master’s happiness!”  Perhaps even more important is what the Master did not say to the first man: “You’re the best I’ve got.  You’re my right hand man!  Ten talents – wow!”  Nor did he say to the second servant, “You know, you did great.  You really did, but did you hear about what Joe did!?  He made 5 talents.  Why didn’t you?  If he did, you could have, too!” 

No, his praise to both servants was identical.  It didn’t matter to the Master, you see, how much each had to start with or even at the end.  What the Master cared about was that the servants had taken what He’d giving them and used it to the best that they could. 

There’s a lesson for all of us who sometimes get concerned about how others are doing, instead of what we are doing with what God has given us.  Be faithful with what you’ve got – that’s all He asks.  Don’t compare yourself to others – the Master didn’t, and He won’t.

PRAYER:  Lord, forgive me for my envious heart, forgive me for thinking that I’m in a competition sometimes.  And forgive me for thinking that any of this depends upon me, instead upon Your Spirit.  Teach us to use all that you’ve given us for the expansion of Your kingdom and Your glory in this world.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

 

DayBreaks for 03/12/13 – Just Figs, Nothing More

DayBreaks for 03/12/13 – Just Figs, Nothing More               

figsLuke 13:6 (ESV) – And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none.

The world-famous writer, Somerset Maugham, said it best in his autobiography, Summing Up, “I knew that I had no lyrical quality, a small vocabulary, little gift of metaphor. The original and striking simile never occurred to me. Poetic flights…were beyond my powers. On the other hand, I had an acute power of observation, and it seemed to me that I could see a great many things that other people missed. I could put down in clear terms what I saw…I knew that I should never write as well as I could wish, but I thought, with pains, that I could arrive at writing as well as my natural defects allowed.” Somerset Maugham discovered the secret of genius.”

As a wanna-be writer myself, I can identify with Maugham’s statement: “I knew that I should never write as well as I could wish…”  I feel the same about my efforts at photography – as much as I would like to be, I’m no Rodney Lough or Ansel Adams.  In fact, I’m embarrassed to have people look at my pictures!  I will never be as good of a husband or father as I should have been, or could be.  Why?  Because of my “natural defects” and my God-given abilities. 

I’m sure that there are things you try to do that, no matter how hard you try, you don’t feel as if it was done as well as you would have liked.  Maybe you like to paint but have never painted a masterpiece to rival the Sistine Chapel.  Maybe you write poetry but are no Elizabeth Barrett Browning.  And maybe you feel badly about it. 

Let me suggest that you need not feel that way.  Life does not ask us to become what we are not. In the parable of the fig tree, the tree was neither required nor expected to produce a variety of fruit like apples, oranges and bananas.  Just figs.  That’s all…just figs.  And not even the best figs in the world!

It isn’t just life that is that way, it is Jesus, too.  You and I are asked by the Lord only to accomplish what our natural gifts allow, not to be as strong as Samson, as great of a leader as Moses or as magnificent of an evangelist as Paul, or as great of a mother as Mary must have been.  But we are asked to accomplish what Jesus has given us to do through our gifting and abilities.  He isn’t down on you because you’re not sinlessly perfect.  He’s not down on you because you can’t teach like He did.  But if He gave you the gift of teaching, He expects you to use that gift as best you can….not as well as someone else can. 

Don’t let your gifts lie idle because you think you’re not good enough to use them.  If He gave you the gift…it’s good enough for Him, and who are we to question His judgment?

PRAYER: Jesus, thank You for what You have gifted us to do.  Help us to accept our limitations, glory in Your limitlessness, and use what You have entrusted wisely! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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