Scripture Reading: Genesis 21:22-34; 1 John 2:15-17; 3:1-3; James 1:27; Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:9-13
As followers of Jesus Christ, we find ourselves in an interesting situation. We are in a world that is at enmity with God, and are instructed in God’s word to keep ourselves from the world’s wickedness, it’s ungodliness and impurities. To be in the world, but not of the world, is the challenge of the Christian.
Abraham’s covenant of peace with Abimelech is a good illustration of the believer’s interaction with the unbelieving world. He did not form an affinity, intermarrying with Abimelech’s people, but he did agree to have friendly relations with Abimelech, and for them to peacefully live in proximity to one another. Abimelech would not have been a follower of the God of Abraham, and was most likely an idolater, but Abraham could still maintain a friendly relationship with him without taking part in his idolatrous beliefs. This agreement between Abraham and Abimelech was not an eccumenical joining together of two completely opposite religious beleif systems, but was an effort to avoid conflicts between them.
While Jesus charged His followers not to be devoted to worldly gain or riches, He did teach them that living in the world required a wisdom and prudence in financial or business matters. Followers of Christ cannot be totally separated from the world’s financial system, or from dealing with unbelievers on a daily basis. There is a balance that can be achieved for the Christian, a balance that allows Christ’s follower to be in the world, but not of the world. This requires wisdom and spiritual direction that can only come from our Lord and His Word. Seek God’s wisdom and direction in matters of worldly affairs.
Scripture Reading: Genesis 21:33; Ephesians 4:17-32; Proverbs 13:11; 14:23; Acts 20:34-35; 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12; 2 Thessalonians 3:11-12
One of the things you will notice about the patriarchs in the Bible is that they left their mark on the world around them. What I mean by that is that they left behind wells that they had dug (that provided water for all around), and groves that they had planted. Abraham was an industrious man. He was extremely weathly, but his wealth did not keep him from continuing to be productive in his life. He was the kind of believer that left things better than he found them, that benefited all the world about him through his industrious labors. What a great testimony Abraham had with all those around him. Remember, it was Abimelech that said of Abraham, “God is with thee in all thou doest....” That was obvious to all those who observed him.
Christian, be an example to all around you of honesty, integrity and of industrious labor. As Jesus said, “...that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) I remember my mom coming home from her job once disgruntled about a “preacher” that worked at the restaurant where she served as hostess. He was always late coming into work, and most of the time he was telling of a wonderful service or prayer meeting he had been part of that had lasted way into the night. His work performance would be lacking because he just did not get enough sleep the night before. What kind of testimony was that? Horrible!
Father, help us to be godly examples of what You can do in a sinner’s life when You change that life by Your wonderful grace. Help us to show forth the praises of Him that saved us! Amen!
Pastor Steve Smith