Would you be realistic?
MAY 25, 2021
Would you be realistic? Let’s talk about it on the Key Life.
This is Key Life with our host, author and seminary professor Steve Brown. He’s nobody’s guru, he’s just one beggar telling other beggars where he found bread. If you’re hungry for God, the real God behind all the lies, you’ve come to the right place.
Thank you Matthew. If you have your Bible, open it to the last chapter of the book of Galatians, and I’ll be referring to that as we go along. We’re looking at outstanding principles that Paul gives that we can apply when you have problems in the church. And, we’ve seen the principle of reliance. In fact, I talked too much about it yesterday in just reviewing, what we had seen. And then we’ve seen the principle of reflection, Galatians 6:3-4.
If anyone thinks that he’s something, when he’s nothing, he deceives himself.
Don’t have people singing in the choir, who can’t sing. Don’t have leaders as elders, who can’t lead. Don’t have people serving as deacons, who can’t serve. You got to look, and see. Don’t have people teaching, who can’t teach. Don’t have people, and well, working in the Sunday school, who don’t like children. You know, you got to look and be honest about the gifts that are given and apply those properly with the right people, in the right place and the right time. And then there’s a third principle. And I’ve mentioned it before, but we’re going to talk about it a little bit more. It’s Galatians 6:4-5, note the principle of reliance and reflection, but note the principle of realism.
But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each man will have to bear his own load.
I think I mentioned that the Greek word for load, means a knapsack that a soldier would carry into battle. And what Paul is saying is this, when you judge yourself, both your strengths and your weaknesses, don’t judge that by other people, but rather go before God, look at your strengths and then be responsible for carrying that part of the church’s load. I have a wonderful voice. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I do. I’ve started, people will, I didn’t have a thing to do with it. My mother said, it sounded like a burp when I came out of the womb. So I’ve always had this, it’s like grace and it’s a gift. I had a history teacher when I was in high school, said Stephen, you have to be careful what you say, because people will listen, because of your voice. Well, I’ve tried to remember that, and sometimes I’ve said some really stupid things. I’ve even had to say from the pulpit, I know what I taught you, but it was wrong, let me correct it this morning, as we look at God’s word. I’m starting, people often come comment, just strangers, you know, if I’m in a restaurant or talking with somebody, they’ll say, Hey, you’ve got a great voice and I don’t know what to say, except, and they often say you ought to be in radio. And I, you know, I could go into a thing, well, I am, but I, that seems not right. And, and so people say, man, you got a good voice and I’d say, yeah, but do you notice how good looking I am? It gets old being a pretty voice. And they don’t know what to say. They don’t know how to, sometimes they’ll laugh and say, well, I noticed that, but it was so obvious, I didn’t want to comment on it. And others say, you gotta be kidding, man, anybody who thinks you’re good looking is blind. So, I have learned to realistically access the reality of who I am. I do have a great voice. But I’m not good looking and I’m never going to be a movie star, deal with it. But in things that are silly, you can make jokes, but in real things, you got to know who you are and where you’ve been called and what you got to do. Fred Astaire’s, over his fireplace, they said in Beverly Hills, there was a little magazine someone sent him. And it had a yellow, well, it was in this magazine, that’s where I read it, I’m sorry, I’m doing the best I can. He has this yellowed MGM interoffice memo, right over his mantle piece, and it’s dated 1933. And it was sent by the testing director to his superior, and this is what it says. Quote, Fred Astaire can’t act, slightly bald, can dance a little. Now if Paul were giving some advice to Fred Astaire, in 1933, he would say, Fred, don’t judge yourself by what others say, be realistic, and then carry the load of your realistic assessment for others. I’m not responsible for a number of things in the church. I’m not responsible for a number of things here at Key Life. You know why? Because God has brought gifted people in the areas where we lack, to do what needs to be done. And that’s true in the church also. I’m sitting here in front of a microphone, looking through a glass partition, where Jeremy Birdsall, who is the producer of this program, does all the technical stuff that needs to be done to get this broadcast out. Now, if we switch places, Jeremy would probably do good at teaching, cause he loves Christ and he teaches me a lot. But let me tell you something. If I went into the control room where Jeremy is right now and started fiddling with the dials and doing stuff, this whole ministry would go down the tubes. And that’s true in the church too also, learn where people have gifts and then plug them in. I was one time involved with a Step Foundation, it was in Texas. And I’d gone to Washington to listen to a presentation by them and to speak at a conference there. And, one of the things they decided was, you’ve got to have people do stuff they’re gifted at doing, if you’re going to help the poor. One of the things they said is that gotta send, whenever you go into a black area and there’s poverty there, don’t send a white man or a white woman, unless you send a black woman or a black man, because the white guys will deal with the guilt by throwing money they have white guilt. And the African-Americans don’t and they’ll do what needs to be done. Make sure, that you got the right gift in the right place. And another thing they said is that, you know, you got doctors in the church and whenever you have a ministry in any place in the city, you ask the doctor to go paint walls. Well, he’s, he’s a doctor. He doesn’t paint walls. He’ll make a mess out of it. Have him work with the sick in that community and it goes on and on, that’s good policy. And it’s a good illustration of Galatians 6:4-5. When Tom Good was playing center for the Miami Dolphins, they were getting ready to have a big game, and he attended the Bible study chapel they have before the game. I’ve spoken at a lot of those. I always say, I’m going to tell you about the game of life. And they roll their eyes, because that’s what every preacher says. And then I say, I’m not going to do that to you. I don’t know a thing about the game of life, but I know a lot about Jesus, so let me tell you about, anyway. So, Tom Good had gone to this Bible study chapel before the game and the pastor who had been invited to speak and, you know, I don’t know what he’d been smoking, but before a game, you don’t talk about servant hood, and servant hood was his subject. And, he said, you guys have to learn the principle of servant hood. And big Tom Good gruff and angry and mean listened to all of it. Then the pastor said being a servant means being willing to be a doormat. And Tom interrupted the preacher and said, uh preacher, that ain’t one of my better qualities. What was he talking about? Well, he has certain gifts and they are to be utilized in a certain way. And you do too. The Bible teaches that every Christian listening to the sound of my oral cavity has a gift, and that gift can be used in the church. And if you don’t use it, the church will be bereft. Now, this is not, I’m not doing a series on how do you know your spiritual gift, but let me just say in passing, what you’re good at probably is a spiritual gift. What you like to do, is probably a spiritual gift. What other’s say you do well is probably a spiritual gift. And what the elders call you to do, because they see who you are, recognizes your spiritual gift. If you do it, you provide a piece of the church that will be missing if you don’t. And so, you got to realistically access what you are, and where you’re gifted and then offer it to Jesus and he’ll sanctify it and you’ll be really surprised at what he does. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. Steve Brown there continuing the lead through the end of the letter to the Galatians. We’ll resume our guided tour tomorrow, do make sure you join us.
Knowing makes me feel important and smart and in control. Certainty is a heck of a drug.
That’s a small snippet from an article called You’re Probably Wrong by Chad West. In that piece, he points out the dangers of placing too much importance on knowledge, really thought provoking stuff. And you can find that article in the 2021 edition of Key Life Magazine, along with other great articles by Robin DeMurga, Chris Wachter and of course, Steve Brown. Grab your free copy right now by calling 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail Steve@keylife.org and ask for the magazine. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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