Friday, June 6, 2014
Download MP3 (right click to save)
I wonder if someday I'm going to be banned from restaurants. I've been known to give the help a hard time. Now, believe me, that's not what I'm trying to do. And if you're a waiter or a waitress, don't write a nasty letter to me. I just figure that, well, it gets so hum-drum and boring waiting on people and customers treat you like you're part of the menu or like a vending machine. It's fun to inject some laughs into their day.
So, I've been known to walk into a restaurant - I did it recently - and the lady will say, "Oh, a table for two?" And I'll go, "Well, yes, but we have a bus load of junior high students; there's about 38 of them waiting to come in. Shall we bring them in now?" Oh, the look! Oh, the look on her face! I hope she laughs eventually. I immediately let her know I'm kidding. I'd better.
Or sometimes I pretend that I don't speak English. That's made for some interesting ordering, and some people try to help me understand the menu. Someone's out there going, "Ron, grow up." Well, that wouldn't be any fun. And I'm just trying to lighten up their lives. Sometimes I will tell the server, "Whoa! Is everything okay? Hey, you're a great cook!" And they get this look on their face - they're not quite sure how to react to that, and they'll say, "Oh, I didn't cook it. I just serve it." I knew that.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Power Preposition."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from 1 Corinthians 3:5. Here's what Paul says about himself and another great Christian leader of that time, Apollos. "What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe-as the Lord has assigned to each his task." Now, I'm sure there were people who would have said, "Oh, Paul got me to Christ." "Apollos got me to Christ." Paul said, "No, I didn't. It wasn't from me. It was through me." That's the power prepositions. "We are only servants through whom, not by whom, not from whom. Only through whom you came to believe."
What is it that qualifies me to visit with you daily by radio like this? These thoughts don't come from me; they come through me. That's all. It's like that server in the restaurant. It's not her recipe, it's not her effort. She just delivers what someone else has worked on; something that someone else has made possible.
That's what Jesus was saying when He said, "I am the vine. You are the branches." The branch doesn't produce the fruit. It looks like it's producing the fruit, but it comes from the vine through the branches. You know what that means to you? There are things that you can risk doing for your Lord that you thought you could not do, that were too much for you.
You can dare to open your mouth about Jesus. You can dare to step up to that leadership role. You could dare to start that Christian group or Bible study, or prayer fellowship. You could dare to say "yes" to an assignment for the Lord that you've been saying "no" to. Why? Because the Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:24, "The One who calls you will do it." And then Philippians 2:13, "It is God who works in you, both to will and to do His good pleasure." God will give you the words. God will give you the insight. God will give you the plan; He'll give you the message. He'll give you the strength.
See, any true work for Christ is Christ doing the work through you, not you doing the work for Him. Through - that's the preposition that opens up your life to all kinds of powerful new possibilities. It only comes through you. Just be available.
There are a lot of meals I would have never eaten in a restaurant if it had been up to the waiter or the waitress to grow the food and prepare the food. But there was something they could do. They could deliver it. That's what Paul says we are; we're just "servants." The ones who deliver what God has prepared. That's what God's asking you to do; to deliver to hungry lives what He has prepared for them. Look, you could serve it couldn't you?