• Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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  • December 2011
    M T W T F S S
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John Calvin: The Free Generosity Of God

John Calvin

Quoting John Calvin:

“Scripture everywhere proclaims that God finds nothing in man to arouse him to do good to him but that he comes first to man in his free generosity. For what can a dead man do to attain life? Yet when he illumines us with knowledge of himself, he is said to revive us from death (John 5:25), to make us a new creature (2Cor. 5:17).” (Institutes, 3, 14, 5)

I’ve Made A Lot Of Money; So Why Don’t I Feel Like A Success?

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)

The longer I live – the stronger is my conviction that true success can only be obtained when we understand the purpose for which we were created. The kind of success I am talking about here is not the success you might achieve because of what you have to do; the success I’m writing about comes from the heart’s desire to fulfill a life’s calling. It is the work that you hunger to do and when you do it, you feel God’s pleasure. Success is often measured by what others see us achieve, but true success is measured inside a person and the outward achievements follow. I like these words from Albert Einstein: “Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value.” Success only has value when driven by the purpose for which you were made by God.

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Abraham Kuyper (1837 – 1920) was a Dutch theologian and politician. After serving as a pastor for eleven years, he founded a Calvinist-oriented newspaper and was elected to the national assembly (1874). To provide Calvinist training for pastors, he founded the Free University at Amsterdam (1880), and in 1892 he founded the Reformed Churches in The Netherlands. He was prime minister of The Netherlands from 1901 – 05.

Abraham Kuyper was a man of value. What was the great heart-filled desire that drove him to such achievements? As I was reading one day, I ran across a quote of Kuyper’s that provides a very insightful observation of his life. I think of this quote often. It has been a challenge to me. Kuyper said:

“One desire has been the ruling passion of my life. One high motive has acted like a spur upon my mind and soul. And sooner should I seek escape from the sacred necessity that is laid upon me, let the breath of life fail me. It is this: That in spite of all worldly opposition, God’s holy ordinances shall be established again in the home, in the school and in the State for the good of the people; to carve as it were into the conscience of the nation the ordinances of the Lord, to which the Bible and Creation bear witness, until the nation pays homage again to God.”

Please don’t misunderstand me; you do not have to be a preacher or Bible scholar to be a success in life. However, you must be doing that one thing (does not have to be your job) that your gifts have caused you to love – and you must do it to the glory of God who is the Source of those gifts!

I have had one job for most of my professional career and I always tried to honor God in my work. I had many visible successes and some failures. The interesting thing to me (and this is purely subjective) was that I really felt God’s pleasure most when I was teaching adults. Since I had a job which required me to do only a small amount of teaching adults, I also began (Actually, I was drafted the first time.) teaching adults in Sunday School. There, I believe, I truly experienced God’s pleasure to a greater degree than in anything else I did. I love God’s Word and I love teaching it to adults. This was my real key to loving what I did, being successful, and glorifying God!

I have been an adult Sunday School teacher for about thirty years now. I give thanks to God for the precious opportunities I have had to teach His Word to His people. On the other hand, if your heart’s desire is to be an auto mechanic, then do it to the glory of God! If God has gifted you to be a carpenter, then do it to the glory of your Creator. All work is made noble when you honor God in it. The whole of life is not a division of the sacred and the secular. God is still sovereign over every area of life. If you can take pleasure in what god has given you to do, and glorify God in doing it, God will be most pleased with you. Christians are to always live, work, and play in the presence of God. If you do this, then you will be a success – whether you make a lot of money or not!

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