Week 32 Day 4
I. Prayer to enter the Lord’s presence:
Be still for a moment. “Lord, I give the day that is now past to you. It is yours. I give the day that is to come to you; help me to see where you are working and to join you there. Speak to me during these moments. I commit them and myself to you.”
II. Prayer of Confession:
“Lord, you are faithful to forgive me and cleanse me of my sin when I confess it to you. I confess my sin(s) of ______________. Thank you for forgiveness.” (1 John 1:9)
III. Prayer of Thanksgiving:
Choose to be thankful, speak out loud of what God has done.
“Thank you, Father, for _________________. Fill my heart and my mouth with gratitude throughout this day.”
IV. Scripture Reflection
1Thessalonians 4:11 Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.
2Thessalonians 3:6 In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, 8 nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. 9 We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow. 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” 11 We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12 Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat.
The church at Thessalonica was focused on the Lord’s return. They took the reality of the “end” seriously but it seems they didn’t understand what it meant to do that effectively and with balance. Some took the fact of the second advent of Christ as an opportunity to be lazy. They let others take care of them. I can imagine someone saying “Why should I plant a field, Jesus is returning soon.” Then, “I’m not going to work in the harvest, the end is near.” But when it was time for dinner, and Jesus had not returned…they were sitting at the table, fork in hand eating the fruits of the labor of others. This, of course, was wrong. Paul was very direct…if you won’t work, you don’t eat. This would not apply to people in legitimate need. Widows, orphans, the sick… in the New Testament these and others like them were to be cared for. The “foolish needy” were not to be helped because it further embedded folly in their hearts and souls. It is not enough to be generous and kind…we must be wise in our giving. Unwise giving in the end, is not truly loving or kind.
The call to wise giving is not an excuse to harden ourselves against those in need. In fact wise giving is much more costly than unwise giving. Wise giving demands that we enter into the lives of others. We cannot simply give them a “hand out” we are to give them opportunity for relationship with us and with God. Clearly you cannot do this with everyone but you can do this with someone. Who has God put in your life that you could invest more deeply in? Perhaps it is someone very different than you. Perhaps it is someone whose “neediness” annoys you and pulls on you. Give wisely. But Give.
V. Prayer for others:
Pray specifically for the concerns of your life and the lives of others.
VI. Prayer of commitment:
“Lord God, I commit to love you with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my strength and with all my mind and to love my neighbor as myself. Empower me today to love you and others with everything that I am.” (Luke 10:27)
This Month’s Scripture Memory:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.