READ: 1 Samuel 29-31
THINK: Think back to your childhood. Did you like to share your toys? Like most children, one of your first and favorite words was probably "mine"-despite the fact you did little or nothing to earn your possessions. You've likely learned to be more generous over the years. Even though you've had to earn more of what you have, you're probably more willing to give some away. That's not always easy-especially if you've worked hard and sacrificed for something, then someone expects you to relinquish part of it to someone who did nothing to earn it and, in your opinion, doesn't deserve it. From God's perspective, that's an extremely immature attitude, which He won't tolerate in His followers. For one thing, God is the source of all we have, and it's up to Him how to dispense it. Beyond that, God wants us to recognize the value of everyone's contribution. Of all people, Christians in the church must acknowledge that all roles of faithful service, whether out-front or behind-the-scenes, are necessary and of equal value. So when ministry succeeds, all who serve should share in the fruits of that success.
RESPOND: Where did David find emotional strength when facing a crisis? (See 30:6 note.) Why did "the evil men and troublemakers among David's followers" (30:22) not want to share the battle's plunder with the soldiers who stayed back at the ravine? Why did David insist that the plunder be shared with everyone (30:23- 24)? What did this reveal about David's attitude toward God and toward the people? How did his actions impact future generations? How does the law David made about sharing these benefits (30:25) apply in principle to followers of Christ today? Why and in what way are all roles of church-related ministry and service equally important? (See 30:24 note.)
PRAY: Give God thanks for the comfort and strength He provides when you're facing difficulty or opposition. Praise Him for being the strength behind all spiritual victories. Ask God to help you recognize, appreciate and acknowledge the value of each person who serves in any capacity related to your church and its ministries.
ACT: Personally thank several people who have contributed to or invested in your life at church, home, school, work, etc. Give them the acknowledgement they deserve for how they have contributed to your accomplishments, successes and even your self-esteem. Do this through a personal note, call, email or-better yet-in person. Among those you thank, be sure to include a couple of people who serve in more "obscure" or behind-the scenes roles in your church, such as a member of the custodial staff, a grounds-keeper, receptionist or usher.
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