Purposeful investing will take place at churches where Christ is honored and people are loved. If we had an eye to see from an elevation of 10,000 feet it would look like thousands of little ants moving about in buildings fitted with steeples. Yet if the view was drawn in so deeply that perfect discernment could be granted we would see the invisible elements of love, sacrifice, prayer-saturation and faith-fueled hope for Kingdom advancement. Paul told the church at Corinth that, as we grow up in Jesus Christ, we no longer place our emphasis on that which is visible and temporary but, instead, that which is unseen and eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18). In many churches today, perhaps for the very first time, those who have been instructed will take on the role of instructors. A generation of new Gospel servants is being brought forth.
“The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning He awakens; He awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught. The Lord GOD has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious; I turned not backward.” – Isaiah 50:4-5
What person or group of persons will be sustained by your words today? Whom do you intend to encourage? In Isaiah’s ancient words above the target of the prophet was the one who is weary. Isaiah wrote as one who had received an awakened ear, one who had been taught by God and had received the lesson. He understood that the learning he had received was infused with responsibility as he expressed his sense of being compelled to teach others also. Let us not carry on in this life seeking to be wide bowls which receive and store up an outflow from God. Let us remember that He has made us to be pipes, not basins. Certainly we desire for God to pour His best goodness into us but we have had our ears opened as those who have been awakened, therefore we understand that He intends us to sustain with a word those who are weary. The difference between joyful and melancholy Christians is often uncovered in this area of being a disciple who sees himself or herself as a pipe flowing into others. Basins turn bitter and stagnant. Piped Christians who have no caps to block their reception from God or their outflow into others are engaged in purpose and are inwardly thrilled at the prospect of God pouring forth in others through their lives.
Isaiah indicated that, as an awakened one, he could not conceive of turning away and rebelling. He would invest. He would speak. He would live forth with intentionality. Perhaps we see in his words what Paul would later express to the church. The message of Paul and Isaiah – of God the Father and of Jesus Christ the Son – is summed up for us today with this:
“You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” – 1 Corinthians 6:19b-20