9-16-2017 WHAT IS OUR MAGNITUDE?
The whole world in His hands
Magnitude: Magnitude, the greatness of character or position, size or loudness, importance or brightness.
Magnitude is how something gets in size, quality, volume or whatever. And magnitude is relative to that which around it. If I went to Africa and hung around a tribe of pygmies, I might be a big ‘man on campus’, but if I stand in the middle of a group of basketball players, my 5’6” isn’t very impressive among those who range from six to seven feet tall. Now, if 7’6” Jorge Gonzalez (former WWE pro wrestler) joins the crowd, their magnitude diminishes before him. And to keep things in perspective, if Robert Wadlow (American, 1918 – 1940) were able to join the crowd, his 8’11” frame would severely diminish even Jorge which would make my 5’6” pretty unnoticeable.
This is not to say that the bigger the more important but magnitude us usually measured by largeness or greatness and to that which it is being compared. Not physical qualities but character importance.
You may not agree with how they did what they did, but some not so tall gentlemen rose to great success on the world stage: Julius Caesar (5’7”), Napoleon (5’7” or Joseph Stalin (5’6”), to name a few. David, Israel’s second king was at least a head and shoulder shorter than Saul (1 Sam. 9:1-2), Israel’s first king. The size of our body does not matter but the size of our dreams do. How we implement those dreams and impact those dreams have on those around us make the difference. These men all became great leaders. In their field, their magnitude was much more than average whether we agree with their tactics or not.
So magnitude is not necessarily measured by physical size (did I mention Goliath of Gath, 9’6”? and David vanquished him) but by size of our accomplishments. As examples look at British evangelist Smith Wigglesworth (1859 – 1947) or a Billy Graham (1918 – present). The impact these men have had on Christianity is immeasurable. But look at the legacy they left behind? Yet, the impact of what we do doesn’t have to be of world caliber like these men for we can have “magnitude” in our own neighborhood, church. And surely in our own home we should have a degree of magnitude for whether parent or child, we should have some sort of impact on the rest of the family. Husbands and dads, we should have our own house in order if we expect to touch lives beyond it (1 Tim. 3:5). I need to be walking with the Lord to the best of my ability in order to have a positive impact on my wife and children. I am their example so I should lead by example. And that trains me to be a leader beyond my family. As I am faithful with the ‘little” things, God will trust me with more (Luke 16:10).
God knows each one of us before we are conceived and before we are born has designated us for a specific task (Jeremiah 1:5). Father has predestined each of us for salvation and the task which He has set aside for us (Romans 8:28-30). Before we are born, He has plans for each of us and even though He may call many to a similar task, only we can do it the way Father has designed for us to perform it. That’s great for understanding that the world needs similar talents in many different places. But what I am not saying is that no matter what I do, I’m going to be saved or not saved, be a preacher or a lawyer or whatever. Not saying that. Why? Because God gives us free choice. Joshua tells Israel that if it seems evil to serve the Lord, then they need to “choose” exactly whom they will serve, but for he (Joshua) says that he and his family will serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15). So, even though God gives us a talent and/or a calling, we retain the right of refusal. We don’t have to “buy into it”. We don’t have to accept it. God does not force Himself upon us but gives us that choice. Even with salvation we see that straight is the gate and narrow is the way which lead to life for there are few who find it (Matt. 7:14). It’s there but we don’t have to accept it. Even though He doesn’t desire for any to perish (2 Peter 3:9) He gives us our own choice, too choose the wide road. So God does not automatically ‘predestine’ us to be saved or anything else, even though He give us the potential. We are not bound to be this or that, to do this or that no matter what we do. To say that God decides that “A”, “B” and “C” are going to be saved no matter what and “D”, “E” and “F” are doomed to hell no matter how hard they try to come to the Lord totally conflicts with2 Peter 3:9. How could He desire that none would perish if He has already decided who is going to be with Him in heaven and who’s not? A day with the Lord is like a thousand years (2 Peter 3:8) and He is longsuffering. He gives us every opportunity to come into His kingdom. How long can one resist?
God will continue giving us the choice until our hearts become devoid of receiving Him.
That doesn’t mean He doesn’t try. He blesses us when we don’t acknowledge Him, He does nudge us in the right direction even when we don’t listen. All to get us on the right track. But our salvation and our talents are not carved in stone for we can always give God the raspberry (stick our tongue out at Him) and turn away. Missing out on the blessing He had planned for us.
So, our Job is first to receive Jesus into our hearts, entering into His beloved and eternal kingdom. Then we need to discover what God’s calling is for us. What is our lot in life? What task has He set before us? Why am I here? When we truly seek, Father will show us (Matt. 7:7-8). We then need to diligently seek and discover not only what doors Father is opening for us but then what action(s) we need to take and when so as to reach God’s calling for us. We do this by listening to and being obedient to the leading of the Holy Ghost. He is our teacher (John 14:26), revealing things to us (1 Corinth. 2:9-10) and will guide us into all truth (John 16:13). Did I say something about obedience? Obedience involves seeking God’s will for our lives (Matt. 26:39), putting His direction above our own desires. Hint: The closer we walk with Father, the more our desires line up with His will so seeking His will IS fulfilling our desires.
Gifts, we’ll call them talents here, are given without repentance (Romans 11:29). We don’t have to be ‘saved’ to have a God-given talent. A writer can become a great writer without knowing Jesus. A singer or an actor can achieve super stardom without acknowledging God. A speaker can become a great orator without acknowledging the Father. A lawyer can win many cases or even become a great politician without once asking the Holy Spirit for direction. All of these can be successful - in the world’s eyes.
So if we want to become famous why bother with God? Two reasons. Eternal salvation, fellowshipping with the Father and the Son forever. And under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, our gifts will be enhanced beyond where they might have gone otherwise. Why? Because we would be doing it to glorify our heavenly Father and as we glorify the Father, God will lift us up (Psalms 30:1, James 4:10). Also as we lift up Father, He will lift us up (James 4:10) giving us favor with Himself and with man (Proverbs 3:1-4). Our gifts become fine-tuned to the ultimate like a Stradivarius (one of the best violins ever made) or Phil Driscoll’s trumpet (his trumpet didn’t just ‘toot’, it sang when he played).
So why all this? Our ‘magnitude’ or legacy is based on our accomplishments and how well people who know about us have perceived us.
Whatever we do, we should always remember that we are doing it for God (Col. 3:23), no matter who else we might be serving and no matter what anyone else may think.
Remember Joseph, the eleventh son of Jacob (Israel) was sold into slavery. In Egypt he served Potiphar so well, as a slave, that he was given charge of Potiphar’s whole house. However when Potiphar’s wife lied about Joseph trying to seduce her, he was put into prison. But Joseph was such a model prisoner, he was quickly put in charge over all the other prisoners. And when Pharaoh had a dream which only Joseph was able to interpret (under God’s revelation), he was put in charge of all the affairs of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh, himself. No matter what position Joseph held, he served God first in that position, which of course benefited those under his charge (Gen. chapters 38-41). Read the book of Daniel for he also experienced similar favor and grace with Kings Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius and Cyrus.
But to be able to serve God in that which He has called us, we must first be serving Him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength (Mark 12:29-31), living for Him. Then seek and learn what His calling is – no matter how small or how great. Then be obedient and pursue it with all our energies always giving Him the glory and thanksgiving for “our” accomplishments (Col. 3:17)! For as Jesus tells us that we can do nothing without Him (John 15:5) yet through Him we can do all things (Phil. 4:13).
Want magnitude? Simply remember that our “boss” is the Creator of all things (Col.1:12-17) and all things are subject to Him (Heb. 2:7-8). Seek Him (Matt. 7:7-8), abide in Him (John 15:7-8), being obedient in all things (2 Corinth. 2:9) and giving Him the thanksgiving and praise for all things (Psalms 100:1-5). And above all else, serve our Lord and Savior. Jesus said because you have done it to the least in the kingdom you have done it to Me (Matt. 5:19, 25:37-40). So serving Jesus IS serving those around us. Remember, we don’t work to receive rewards or benefits, but those benefits which God has already given us (Psalms 1:1-3) is evident through our works (James 2:18).
Our magnitude is gauged by our accomplishments and our accomplishments are gauged by our service to God and to others.