In one of the Sundays in about 10 years ago, I went to a particular group where I cherish for good music Hymns well played with instruments. This group is noted for their music expertise among churches in my country. It was time for one of the pastors to announce the ever expected yearly concert and he said which of the churches serve the kind of food with the kind of plate we serve in this generation "I was not pleased with that statement, but it did not yet gather any issue within me. I found out this had become a vocabulary; the boasting about the exceptional display of musical skill and rendering of Hymns and classical songs, I thank God for this!
I have been privileged to worship and serve among a group and by the virtue of my struggles in life; I have been in some states in this my country. There is a statement I heard so often in this group, "is there a church like ours where the truth is preached undiluted" and some even say categorically that " there is no church preaching the truth like us", referring to that denomination, could that be true? Could this be classified under godly boasting!
I came across a group of people four(4) years ago, I greatly esteem them a lot. The base is some where far away to the major cities in Nigeria yet no place could be far where the Lord cannot Reach if found useful! God had really found a place to dwell in their midst, at least at this moment; I do not know for how long this may be; I hope till He comes back! It does not yet bother me like now then, I Ignored a similar comment (not from any of the Leaders)! The same issue came up tactically from some of the adherent. It was now I found out that it is usual for man to boast about the revelation and probably the grace of God in their lives as if God probably had discarded others to use them only! Not so! Thanks to God, He works in divers ways. He is using someone else yet he found usefulness in us, we give him Glory.
These three cases are not the only set of people, it is prevalent among us in many ways. it may be found in an individual's life or in a group who had witnessed some degrees of success in some Areas of usefulness in the vine yard of God. It is common in places where or people who had witnessed success or depression .We may think we alone have found acceptance in the Lord and God may have thrown others a way. I would have had nothing to say until the Lord pointed a similar situation to me in the scripture about a man of like passion that without doubt was mightily used. He was a man with unusual unction and authority- The man Elijah. He was really distressed and he went a day's journey into the wilderness. And God asked him what he was doing in that place, and here is his reply
" I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts for the Children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant , thrown down thy altars and slain thy prophets with the sword and I even I only , am left and they seek my life to take it away" I king 19:10. God asked the question again in verse 14, it was the same reply. We may be tempted to think that it was all because he was distressed, but I do not think so! It had become Prophet Elijah's concepts and vocabulary before now as reflected in I king 18:22. "Then said Elijah unto the people, I even I only remain a prophet of the Lord but Baal's prophets are four hundred and fifty men!
This was thought of him probably because he was the only person that fount the major crusade or probably because of the level of unction and power in his life, I cannot say. God will not waste resources. If what he has deposited in a man's life can match the wickedness of that land, why replicating it in another man in that land? Others will find usefulness in other areas. What is important is the fulfillment of ultimate intention of God.
When he lodged the complain, I thought God was going to agree with him, if He did agree, who am I to raise this issue; but God didn't and He will not agree with the groups, fellowships and men and women that currently find usefulness in the hand of God to assume that they are the only set of usable instruments in our generation. God always have hidden army, recruited and trained in the hidden camp; that is His beloved secret. that is why God has never find it difficult to keep the flag of freedom flying even if some one consider opting out or someone attempt to fail the living God in an area or someone refuse to work in the area He has commanded.
In that complaint, the Lord told him, go anoint three people, but what you said is wrong "yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal and every mouth which hath not kissed him" A wonderful army, yet they are hidden but they belong to God and he knows them by name, number and rank. While jezebel was committed to the killing of the prophets, Obadiah the king's governor hid one hundred prophets in the cave and fed them with bread and water. Are all these prophets dead by the time Elijah made his complain?. Do you remember when Benhadad pitched war against Ahab, a prophet came to him, in I king 20:13 the same prophet spoke in I king 20 23 when Ahab failed to deal appropriately with Benhadad that God delivered into his hand. "A certain man of the sons of the Prophets" in I king 20:35 came and delivered the message of God. Remember I king 22:13-14 Micaiah delivered the message to Ahab. The king always find this man message very unpleasant because he was a kind of king who excel his forefathers and contemporary in wickedness.
God have varieties of men and women, he uses them for different purposes according to his intention to accomplish an ultimate purpose. God have army and he has hidden camp and subjects them to all kinds of necessary training to accomplish his will.
Why this unnecessary emphasis? "I even I" which many of us are guilty off. If it is self encouragement God will surely appreciate this as it is necessary to font encouragement within before soliciting for an external one. But it is not, it is a scheme by the enemy to load us with such potent and hidden error: believing we out match others in one area or the other. It is an unwise attempt and may God forgive us of this sin. In 2 Corinthian 10:12 Paul said," for we dare not make ourselves of the number ; or compare ourselves but they measuring themselves by themselves among themselves are not wise" but most gifted believers or group who may be experiencing usefulness in the hand of God sets such concept and make a boasting out of it. It is ungodly.
If we have good music by which many should have turned to God, Glory be to God for this, it is unfair to God to make a matter of spiritual boasting! If we have had grace to discover the abandon truth in the scripture and by our periodic and zealous emphasis, we have brought men and women to the notice of this, glory be to God! If we have complimented the church by our ceaseless labour, prayers and burden and the Lord is blessing our works, glory be to God! If by administration, organization, godly invention and manifestation of gifts and wonders in our midst have really blessed lives, glory be to God. Yet we still have to admit the conclusion of the master in all this, we are still unprofitable servant who was made to do what was his duty to do "Luke 17:10. "We have only done that which was our duty to do.
With all the high points of success in our organization, group and fellowship, if ultimately they fail to accomplish the overall intentions of God what is the usefulness of these successes without eternal acceptance, assurance and appearance? If our labour had to perish in the test of earth's fire and heaven cannot even accommodate such that we boast about what is the relevance of our proficiency and discoveries without any eternal implication?
When Elijah was saying repeatedly, God eventually told him "you are wrong" I still have many people with many wonderful and holy plates to serve my people edifying varieties of spiritual diets that will nourish their souls and not their emotion. I have divers groups and fellowship that may be hidden and unknown to you but still hold the fort. They are quietly raising up army for me. There are many people or group also involved in the business of making disciples for the Lord. Who is who is not your responsibility but the reward is of the Lord. Many have labourrd were you now find your responsibility and you are expected to cover some grounds before you let go for others to enter into your own labour. Do not get distracted by your success or distress; you are not alone in the battle field. There are many armies, hidden though they may be, but they are accompanying the master, the captain of our faith. Do not loose and do not boast and do not let your part fail in the Link. 2 Corinthians 10:18'
It is customary of God to over step the boundary of men and women who are no usefulness to heaven's course by the type of fruits they bring forth. He may cut off such branch to let other bud; he may pull off the structure to let others come into the stage. He is conscious and purposeful; he has not taken the issue as if it is a game of entertainment. He wants souls saved, if all men be saved today, there will be no reason to justify the existence of the earth one second more. The harvest is indeed enormous but the labourers are few. As it was in case in the time of Christ likewise it is today. And he is concerned about this. He cannot condole our cumbering of ground and raise banner and boast about our perfected past, when the present is relapsed and there is not hope for the future. In such cases, he will simple overstep the boundaries and raise other groups or men while we celebrate our successes and ruminate over our distresses.
One of the errors that had seriously contested for the invincible strength of the church is the internal friction. The worst of all is that devil want us to believe that we labour for different courses. Paul may preach and Apollo's may waters, yet it is the Lord that gives the increase. There is deliberateness in the intension of God to have recruited all these men and group with varieties of gifts and endowment; it is not for show but "that all men may be saved", or why do you labour, if it is outside this intension, you have pitched your tent against the camp of the faithful and against God, then be ready for the demolition of such structure!
When men begin to consider their success in Genesis 11 they contemplated building a tower of babel and institute an empire for themselves when God said replenish the earth. God scattered them. When the apostle kept working all kinds of wonders in Jerusalem and among the Jews and someone like peter will not want to go to the gentiles. God orchestrated persecution against them and they scatted abroad. We expect great scattering in these places where empires have been built and there is no more fulfillment and fruitfulness in the purpose of replenishing the earth. Do you think God is interested in many denominations, He only recognized all saints by the Term "The church"! There is no record of one in heavenly cities; they are supposed to be a means or instruments in his hands. And when any one is not fulfilling his intension, he does not cost him anything to leave such arena and pitch his tent again with few that are faithful, useful in his mighty hand and when these few are full also and they cannot work in line with his vision, he is willing to over step the boundaries of their empires and probably take some along with him and step out of their fences. It is a privilege if we still found usage in his Hand!
Devil's scheme is to get God stranded and he has failed repeatedly and will always. Do not think God is primarily interested in thousands of denominations that litter our societies today; he could do without them as much as he is currently using quite many of them and I thank God for those ones. God is primarily interested in the CHURCH and lost souls if they may be saved and if your purpose will not suite this you are working against him.
Many have failed him in their successes and distresses making complains and boasting, He told Elijah, Anoint three other men with sharp sword Hazael, jehu and Elisha., these were among the hidden army. We should not allow the devil to mislead us to think were are the issues and we matter or make us think no one else could do it the way we are doing it, many can do it far better than we have done it and we are doing it among the army of the Lord. There are thousands who can do what we are doing. The best appreciation for the gift placed in our lives is to do it with sense of gratitude for the privilege and servant's spirit.
God will not be stranded!
Forward through the ages
Forward through the ages,
In unbroken line,
Move the faithful spirits
At the call divine.
Gifts in differing measure
Hearts of one service
One the sure reward.
Forward through the ages
In unbroken line
Move the faithful spirits
At the call divine (Amen).
Wilder grows the kingdom
Reign of love and light;
For it we must labour
Till our faithful sight.
Prophets have proclaimed it.
Poets sung its glory
Heroes for it died
Not alone we conquer
Not alone we fall;
In each loss or triumph
Lose or triumph all;
Bound by God's far purpose
In one living whole
Move we on together,
To the shining goal.