Jump Start # 3040
Revelation 2:19 “I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first.”
Our verse today are the words that Jesus said about the church at Thyatira. There is an interesting contrast about this section. Thyatira was the smallest community of the seven cities that was written to, yet it is the longest of the seven letters. Interesting.
There were some serious problems at that church. Being led by a woman who claimed to be a prophetess, many were tangled in sin, compromise and error. God’s language is direct and strong. I will kill her children. Not the words one would expect to hear from Jesus.
But as this letter opens, we find the description of a loving, faithful, working church. Not everyone was crossways with the Lord. Not everyone had sold out for compromise. And, as our verse ends, there is an indication that the church was improving. “Your deeds of late are greater than at first,” is a wonderful example for us.
First, it seems that as age slows many of us down, it can also slow down our spiritual growth. In 2 Corinthians 4, Paul reminds us that the insides and the outsides of us are moving in different directions. The outside, he said is decaying. The inside is being renewed day by day. Age may limit what you can do physically, but there are no limits on what you can do spiritually. You can still encourage. One of the greatest things that can help a young preacher is for an older member to give him some genuine encouragement. The journey is long and many preachers are bailing out. Especially, older preacher to younger preacher, those words are priceless.
Second, the point of salvation is our starting place, not our ending place. We can leave the impression that once you have been baptized, you have fulfilled what the Lord expects. Not so. This is just the starting gate. Grow. Grow. Grow. Love more. Serve more. Believe more. Your deeds as of late are greater than at first.
Third, many people need directions, suggestions and ideas as to what to do. Tell them, and they will serve. To see it on their own, many don’t. This is where shepherds can be such a great help in a congregation. Don’t expect others to know what to do, show them. Suggest to them. Plant seeds of ideas. Help them. Equip them. Use them. We want everyone to do more as of late than at the beginning, but many do not know where to start. Many leaders do not know what to suggest other than, “attend more and give more.” Put some thought to this and find ways to engage others in serving. One way maybe to utilize groups within the congregation by function. Have the groups designed to do different things such as helping new members get adjusted, taking care of the senior citizens, encouraging the teens. So many wonderful ways folks can get busy helping each other and sharing the gospel.
Fourth, not everyone in Thyatira was doing better. There were some who needed to do some serious repenting. Some were in trouble with Jesus. What this shows us is that I can grow when others are not. I can do right when others are doing wrong. I can do more while others are doing less. Don’t allow others to set the temperature of what you are doing. You know what you ought to do. Some will be lazy. Some will do just as little as possible. Some will dance with the devil. Not you. You are committed to Christ. You are not allowing what others do to determine what you ought to do. You will do more now than you ever have.
As one grows in faith, doing more becomes easier. New ideas to encourage. New ways to grow. New people to help. It becomes exciting to help others. One sees the fruit of his labors. He sees how others have improved. And the more he helps, the more others will want to follow and do the same.
Doing more now than at the first. Is that you? Have you been sitting on the sideline of faith? Is it time to put your shoes back on and get back into the game of life? There are things you can do, even today.