What drives you to action? Maybe it’s social injustice or personal desires, but recently it seems many people are taking action for things because they are angry. Angry at a political body, angry at groups of people, and angry at differing ideologies. People protest, yell, and scream. There are complaints about unfairness of systems that are evil. It seems there is no short supply of people who are taking action out of anger and frustration.
On the surface this may seem like a good thing, but this isn’t why Jesus took action. John 3:16 tells us that Jesus took action for love. It was not because he hated the devil, it was because he loved the world he created and the people in it.
Love produces good things in our lives and acting out of love brings good fruit into our lives. To be relentless, you must have a reason to fuel it.
What fuels you to take action to make things better? How do you feel after you take action?
A lot of people want their lives to matter! Who wouldn’t want their life to make a difference? One of the best ways to make a difference is to first look for inspiration and encouragement from others who have made a difference.
Paul did a lot of things with his life. He pastored many churches, wrote at least thirteen letters that are now books of the Bible, and he traveled the world in an age when travel was very difficult. How was he able to do these things? He did anything short of sin to make it happen. He gave up everything. He was relentless.
1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
I think it’s easy to want to do something great, but it is hard to be consistent in doing what leads to big things. In Hebrews 12:1, the author tells us what relentlessness looks like.
Hebrews 12: 32-39
32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions;
33 Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used.
34 For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.
35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.
36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.
38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.
What things in our life keep you from accomplishing what matters?
How many hours a day do you spend on your phone?
What could you accomplish with that time accumulated over the course of one month?
I John 2:17
17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
Everyone has been given something. It might be time, talent, money, or love and it looks different and comes in different amounts for everyone. But we all have something that was given to us. In the same way, everyone has a choice with how to use their gifts.
The three servants in Matthew 25 were all given different amounts of money and each chose a different way to use it. One servant invested his large amount because he was eager to please the master. The second servant worked with his amount because he also wanted to bless others. The third servant buried his small amount it in the dirt because he was too afraid to lose it. When the master returned, he blessed the servants that invested and worked because they produced more, but the last servant who made the safest choice faced destruction because he did nothing.
14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.
19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Like the servants, we as Christians, will someday stand before God as our master and give an account for how we used what we have been given. You get to choose if you want to be like the first two servants and produce more to bless others, or if you want to play it safe like the last servant.
I Timothy 4: 10-11
10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
In what areas are you more willing to invest and work?
In what areas do you “play it safe”? Why?
23 In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury.
In a historical context, we are living in the most prosperous age. You are reading this on a device that gives you access to more information than ever thought imaginable; you are living in a time where, on average, we are better educated than ever; and the amount of people living in extreme poverty is lower than ever. Whether or not you believe it, you are living in the most prosperous time in history. Because of this overwhelming amount of blessing, you are like the 5-bag servant.
As the 5-bag servant, you have a higher calling than the two other servants. You are called by the master, who is God, to invest and work with what you have been given. Not only in your finances, but also with the abundance of opportunity and different platforms that allow you to share your faith, give your time, and invest in people. At the end of this life, God, as your master, is going to ask you for an account of how you used your “five bags of silver.” Will he celebrate with you or send you away?
Do you find it hard to think about yourself as the “5-bag servant”? Why or why not?
Are you using your blessings to bless others? If not, what is holding you back?
2 Thessalonians 2:14
4 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In Matthew 25 the bags of silver are the master’s wealth, but in the context of our lives, the bags of silver are our time, treasure, and talent which is the wealth God has given us. God has placed a calling over each of our lives that, at the core, is to love God and love others.
In every role and season in your life this calling may look different. As a parent you might rely on God and love him differently than when you are single. You love your children by discipling them and you also might love your coworkers by serving them in the same way Jesus served.
As seasons change, the way we live out our calling also changes, but at the core, we are still called to use our time, treasure, and talent to love God and love others. If you “bury” your talent, God won’t bless you with more. In the same way, if you use your talents to love him and love others, you are like the servants who worked and invested with what God gave them.
1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
What does loving God and loving others look like in this season?
Are you using your time, treasure, and talent to live out your calling?
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
There are Christians all over the world who are in different situations just like the 3 servants were all in different situations. Some Christians are held back by cultural stipulations, some Christians are held back by government oppression, and even some are held back by social standards. But despite freedoms, circumstances, or governments all Christians are called.
It’s easy to sit back and say that someone, somewhere, with better resources and more money should be doing it, but that isn’t the truth. The truth is you were called by Jesus. If you have been called it doesn’t matter if you have the resources of the 5-bag servant or the 1-bag servant; it doesn’t matter what you are working with—or even what you are working against. It’s hard to be relentless in the face of cultural, political, and social adversity and even harder to take responsibility upon yourself to fulfill God’s calling, but we have power in Jesus. The servants had power because their master gave it to them. We have power because Jesus has given it to us, but we have to be willing to use it in every circumstance of life.
13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
Do you use your circumstances as an excuse?
What is the biggest thing that is keeping you from being relentless right now? How are you doing to crush that lie?
*Devotional retrieved from https://my.bible.com/reading-plans/17216-relentless