Hey, this is Jim Graham from the Masculine Journey Podcast, where we explore a relationship instead of religion every week. Your chosen Truth Network Podcast is starting in just a few seconds. Enjoy it, share it, but most of all, thank you for listening and for choosing the Truth Podcast Network.
This is the Truth Network. Welcome to If Not For God, stories of hopelessness that turn to hope. Here is your host, Mike Zwick. Well, If Not For God with Mike Zwick, glad to be back here again today. Today we're going to be looking at 1 Corinthians chapter 2.
And I'm going to be using the NLT because the language is so clear. It says, When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn't use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God's secret plan. For I decided that while I was with you, I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. I came to you in weakness, timid and trembling, and my message and my preaching were very plain.
Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so that you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God. Yet when I am among mature believers, I do speak with words of wisdom but not the kind of wisdom that belongs to this world or to the rulers of this world who are soon forgotten. No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God, his plan that was previously hidden even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began. But the rulers of this world have not understood it.
If they had, they would not have crucified our glorious Lord. That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, No eye has seen nor ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him. But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. And I'm going to stop right there, and when I see this, I'm going to go back to the first few verses.
The first verse we said I didn't use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God's secret plan. When I think about that, you know, so many times in life we look at the people who are the smartest, who are the brightest, who are the best looking, who've got it all together. And we say those are the people that we want to look to.
Those are the people that we want to impress. But when we look at our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, he did the exact opposite. He took the people who were the lowest of the low, the tax collectors. A guy who was a fisherman, Peter, he even said to Jesus, Get away from me, for I am a sinful man. He didn't take the best and the brightest, but he took the lower, the lower rung, the lower class, the lower middle class, and he made miracles among those people. As a matter of fact, when Jesus was, when he was preaching, he says, I have come to preach the good news to the poor. Luke 6 46, I believe he says where, he says that not only have I preached to the poor, he said, but I have come to preach the good news to the poor. And so as we go on and on and on in Scripture, we see time and time again where he does not choose the best and the brightest. If you, going back to when Samuel was choosing a king for Israel, and he looked at, looked at all of Jesse's sons and the best and the brightest, and he said, this one, this one, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, passed them on by until he chose the smallest one, a little guy named David.
And it said he was nice looking, he was attractive, but he would not have been the first choice. But what it says in those chapters, it says that man looks at the outward appearance, but God searches the heart. God searches the heart of man. What is, what is really inside of you? Are you trying to do what looks good to other people on the outside?
Are you trying to do what looks good to God? You know, I was thinking about something that happened a while ago. I actually had a dream, and in my dream, it was this, it was this young man who had just finished up with law school. And when he had finished up with law school, his grandmother was trying to get him to get a good job and to work hard and to do all these other things. And he just wouldn't do it. He was kind of a cut up, but he was really friendly. He was really nice, all these other things. And so there was this other guy who was his older brother, and his older brother was a successful attorney.
Now, this guy may have been in his late 20s or early 30s. He wasn't an older guy, but he turned around at him at the end of the dream and he said, why can't you be more ambitious? And so it was almost this attitude of I'm better than you. You know, one of the problems that we see is we see many people who we say they don't have enough ambition. They don't have enough ambition. They're not working hard enough for the kingdom, and I believe that we all give our best. I believe that we all give our best. In Colossians 3 23, it says, work as if you're working for the Lord. But we also don't look down on people who we see, oh, they're not doing as good as we are.
They're not doing as much as we are. Because when that happens to us, then we can become prideful. John Newton, the guy who wrote Amazing Grace, actually earlier in his life, he wrote these great songs. He was a slave trader. He talked about all the problems that he had, all of the things that he had done wrong. And then so what had happened was, was that later on in his life, he wrote the hymns. He was doing all these great things, and then he said, but in his 70s or 80s, he said that there were still these little things that he couldn't give up, these little sins.
And so what he had actually said, and he said this to, I'm trying to think of who it was, he said it when he was writing. He said that I finally realized that what had happened was, is it wasn't that God was allowing me to struggle with these sins because, you know, he was mean or cruel. He said he was allowing me to struggle with these sins so that I would avoid the worst sin of all, and that's pride.
That's pride. And I'm speaking especially to the pastors out there. I'm speaking especially to the people who are doing work in the ministry. I'm speaking to myself. You know, that the worst thing that we could do is start to look down on other people because we say they're not doing as much as we are, or they're not doing as well as we are.
That's pretty bad. I mean, you know, and so, yes, we always want to encourage people. You know, the Bible says, you know, go throughout the whole world, preach the gospel to all creation. Yes, that's true. But 1 Corinthians chapter 14 said that there's many different parts of the body. It says that some of the parts of the body, you know, like the hand or the eye and all these other things, it's like certain parts we, you know, they still have their purpose, but they don't get as much glory, right? And some parts we have to hide. So a lot of times the preacher or that guy who's going on the mission troop may be able to get all the attention.
Maybe he may be the guy who everybody looks at and says, wow, that guy's really doing a great job. And you may not be doing those things. But if you're, if you're serving the Lord with your whole heart and you love the Lord with your whole heart and you want to serve him and you want to give your talents and you want to give your very best to him, you don't need to compare yourself to anybody else. God does not compare you to anybody else. All God asks you to do is your very best. And if you would go with me to first Corinthians chapter nine, it's first Corinthians nine, starting in, starting in verse 24 says, do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize run in such a way that you may have obtained it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate and all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown, therefore I run thus, not with uncertainty. Thus I fight not as one who beats the air, but I decide, but I discipline my, my body and bring it into subjection lest when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
First Corinthians nine, and that's the new King James version. So when I look at that, and when I see that one of the things that I see is that he's saying you run your own race. You're not concerned about Robbie Dilmore. You're what Robbie Dilmore is doing. You're not concerned about what Charles Stanley is doing.
You're not concerned about what Stu Epperson is doing. You do your very best and you keep the, you keep your eye on the prize. Another dream that I had, and this was very meaningful to me. It was a young man and he had a menial job. He was some sort of a waiter and all that he did was he passed out these cookies, these gourmet cookies of some sort. And so what he did was he was passing out the cookies, passing out the cookies. And so what had happened was, was that, you know, people were talking about how good of a job that he was doing. And so finally what happened was they were talking about this guy got a $5,000 tip for what he had done. And so I kind of watched him in action and he had this huge smile on his face at the end.
But I could tell that he had done his very best. And when I woke up from the dream, I asked the Lord for the interpretation and the Lord told me, you do your very best and when you are done with your life, you will receive the crown, you will receive your prize. Not what anybody else is doing, not Justin Noope, not Brooke Noope, not anybody else. You will receive your own prize and I see so many times people are comparing themselves to other people. But you know, if you're doing the best that you're doing and you're doing the best that you can do, God is not comparing you to them. So you run your own race. You've got to run your own race because nobody else can do it for you.
Nobody else can do it for you. And so, you know, when I think about this, I'm glad that I'm here today. I'm glad that, you know, you know, we wake up in the morning and we have breath in our air.
We have air in our breath. So, yeah, I mean, when I think about people who are doing their very best, I'm thinking about the single mother who's raising three kids. You know, she may not be leading a ministry in her church. She may not be doing a whole lot that the world sees, but she could be raising godly children. I was just looking at something this afternoon and it was, I think it was Proverbs 22, verse 6.
And it says, train a child in the way that they should go and when they are old, they shall not depart from it. That mother may think she's not doing a whole lot. That mother may think she's not making a difference. Let me ask you this, what about the mother and father of Billy Graham? What about that preacher, I believe it was Mordecai Ham, who was preaching that one night. He didn't know Billy Graham was going to be in the audience. He didn't know Billy Graham's future, but what if he would have said, what I'm doing does not really make a difference.
And I'm not really changing anything for anybody anywhere. But he said, I'm just going to kind of take it easy this night and Billy Graham doesn't get saved and then that's the end of it. You see, so many times what happens is, is that we look for these big moments where God is doing something big, huge in our lives, and we're looking for that pop. And that does happen. But what about all of the other moments when it doesn't happen? What about the moments when it doesn't happen? What about the moments in our lives that we just are doing the mundane, the day-to-day, we're sending out messages, we're sharing the gospel, we're not seeing a whole lot. But the truth is, is that it's in those times, it's in those down times, when God is speaking as well. I wonder if God is speaking to someone right here, right now. Have you thought about going in the mission field and you haven't done it yet?
Do it. You see, the problem is, you know, I think it was Norman Vincent Peale, he took somebody somewhere one time and he said, I'm going to take you to the wealthiest place that I know of. And the guy said, OK, where is it? And he took him to the graveyard. He said, because in this graveyard, people died with the greatest ideas.
He said there was a cure for cancer that somebody may have had. Somebody wanted to start a ministry, somebody wanted to start a church. You see, God does not always call the equipped, but he equips the called. If you are willing to put your yes on the table for whatever it is that you can do to advance the kingdom of God, then God will use that and he will use it in a big and a mighty way. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Blessed be the name of the Lord. God wants to use you. He wants to use you right now, wherever you are. Is there an idea that you have? Maybe you've had an idea to start your own business. Maybe you've had an idea. Hey, you know, maybe I want to meet somebody.
I want to go online and do well. There's I can't do it because of this. I can't do it because of that. Maybe I maybe I said, oh, I want to be an elder.
I want to be a deacon in my church, but they wouldn't want me to do that. You know, before my dad passed away, one of the biggest lessons that he taught me and one of the greatest things that he ever showed me. Was that nothing ventured, nothing gained. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. If we don't if you don't try something, you know the outcome of that.
Why not give it your best shot? What do you have to lose? You know, when Pastor Dana Coverstone and I were talking about, you know, you may want to get some food, you may want to get some water, you may want to start stacking up on these things.
And people are saying, oh, you're crazy or whatever. You know, we said we said, what do you have to lose? You buy some extra food, you get some extra water. If nothing happens, then you're then you use it up or you give it away. But if something does happen and you don't have that extra food or the extra water or what some people are saying ammunition, then you're up a creek without a bat.
You're up a creek without a bat, without a paddle. You see, God teaches us to prepare our ways. And so, so many times we look at the star swimmer. So many times we look at the star basketball player, so many times we look at the star preacher and you go, man, that person is just lucky. Man, that person is just blessed. But the truth is, is that you haven't seen what they've done behind the scenes. You haven't seen all of the the work that they put in day by day, hour by hour when nobody else was looking. You go to the gym and you say, man, that person is in perfect shape.
But you don't see the times where they say, you know, I really want something to eat, but I'm going to eat something healthier instead of the thing that I want to eat. God is not a God of compromise. God is a God who cares and loves about and loves you. And so, yes, all you have to do is your very best.
That's all you have to do. God doesn't expect any more from that. There was an old book and it was called All You Can Do Is All You Can Do And All You Can Do Is Enough. And that's true. But I think that if most of us were being honest right now, we would see that we're not doing all that we can do. Are you doing everything that you can do for the kingdom of heaven? I'm not talking about comparing yourself to anybody else. I'm not talking about anything crazy like that. What I'm saying is this.
Are you doing your very best? I've told the story before about Jimmy Carter. He was going into the Navy and when he went into the Navy, Admiral Rickover was giving him the quiz and he was basically, you know, auditioning for a job. And, you know, Admiral Rickover said, well, what do you know about this? What do you know about that? What do you know about this?
What do you know about that? And Jimmy Carter kept saying, I don't know. I don't know.
I don't know. And he would he made him feel really bad. And finally, he said, when you were at I think it was when you were in the when you were at Georgia Tech or were you where you were in the Naval Academy. He said, when you got your grades, he said, did you always do your very best?
And Jimmy Carter was just about to say yes. But what happened was he said in a minute after that he had to think about the times when he slacked off. He had to think about the times when he didn't work as hard as he possibly could. And he had to say to Admiral Rickover, no, I did not do my very best. And Admiral Rickover said, why not?
And he turned around and the meeting was over. Well, Jimmy Carter actually got the job because he was honest. But he said for the rest of his life, he always asked himself that question, if I believed if I believed in the military of the United States, why would I not give my very best if I believed that what I was doing in school for Georgia Tech was was important. Getting my degree, having a having a career, why did I not give my very best? And he said from the rest of his life, he said, I will always do my very best. Are you doing your best?
Are you? You know, the Bible says and it's I think it's Ecclesiastes 910. It says whatever you do, do it with work in it with your with your whole heart, it says, because where you go in the grave, there's no more work. When you die, that's I mean, when you die on this earth, you're you're going to be in one of two places, either heaven or you're going to be in hell. And so I've heard it said before, but it's true that we are only given a limited amount of time on this earth, 70, 80, 90 years. Hey, and if Jesus comes back soon and he might, it might be a lot quicker than that. But the time that the time that we have right now, are you making the very most of your time?
Are you making the most of what you got? Because if you're not. You realize you're going to have to stand before a righteous God one day. Now, if you trusted in Christ as your lord and savior, you're not going to go to hell. So I'm not talking about that, but what it does say, it says that you're going to have to you're going to have to stand before the great, the great throne of God. And you're going to say, did I do my very best?
And if you say no, it is going to be embarrassing. Don't you want to be able to say to the Lord, I did my best? And what do we want the Lord to say to us? Well done, good and faithful servant.
Well done, good and faithful servant. You know, mediocrity is something in our culture that people just get by with. They just say, I don't really care. I'm doing just enough to get by. And we talked about this in another show where there's something called quiet quitting, where people are just doing the bare minimum to get by at their job. You see, my dad told me, he said, Mike, he said, I don't care what job you ever have. The first job I had was as a dishwasher. He said, if you do your very best as a dishwasher, you're not going to be a dishwasher for very long. And he said, you can go home at night and you can be proud for the work that you've done. Are you doing your very best?
I hope you are. You know, it actually there's a there's a chapter and I'll pull it up. The chapter that I was going to pull up for you is First Corinthians, chapter three. And if you want to pull out your Bibles, go to verse five. It says, Who then is Paul and who is Apollos? But ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one, I planted. Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one and each one will receive his own reward, according to his own labor. For we are God's fellow workers.
You are God's field. You are God's building. According to the grace of God, which was given to me as a wise as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation and another man builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay.
Then that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now, if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become clear. For the day will declare it because it will be revealed by fire and the fire will test each one's work of what sort it is.
If anyone's work, which he has built on it, endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss, but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him.
The temple of God is holy, which temple you are. And when I see that, it says, yeah, I mean, you can trust in Christ and your savior. Trust in Christ as your savior.
And you may not go to hell, but you get to heaven and it says you're saved, but only as through fire. If your works turn out to be nothing or your works turn out to be no good, or they don't amount to much. And like I said before, this is not you comparing your works to somebody else.
It's you doing the very best that you can do. Friends, you know what I've learned over the years is that when people are talking, when I've talked to people about ministry, when I've talked to people about different things that they're doing in the ministry, you know, one of the things that I've seen with them is this. Whether it's ministry or whether it's their job, if people are haphazardly doing their job, they're not happy. But the people, there was a book, it was called Flow by Mihaly Csikszentlihalyi.
I probably murdered that name, but it was called Flow. And it says that what happens is, and they've studied people, is that when people are doing their job or whether it's a waiter or, you know, who's giving out gourmet cookies like we said before, whether it's a track star, whatever it is that they're doing, okay? It says that when the person is working really hard, it says when they're giving their very best, they get into this flow state of where they're happy, they're excited, they look forward to doing their jobs. But then you have it on the other hand, the people who are just kind of there for a paycheck, or the people who don't really care too much about what they're doing, they're just there. They don't care. They're just there.
And not only do they not get as much done, not only do they not get their promotions, but they don't enjoy their jobs as much. I was watching something, it was on CNBC, it was on Shark Tank. And the guy that I was watching was, and I'm trying to think of his name, Mr.
Wonderful on Shark Tank. And he said the truth is, he said we always hear people talking about having a balanced life, having a balanced life. He said but the truth is this, he said it's not about having a balanced life. He said the truth is, he says most of the people who are very successful in life at whatever they do, they do not have a balanced life. They throw their whole selves into their job, they throw their whole selves into their career, they throw their whole selves into whatever they're doing.
Into one thing. Is your job, is your true love wanting to see people saved? Then you may have to drop some other things in your life. You know there's an old expression and it says it's lonely at the top. That's not just a cute saying, it's true.
Because what happens is, is when you're highly successful, you're constantly working at your craft and you're doing your best. There are going to be some other things that you're going to have to give up. And Lord, I just want to pray right now in Jesus' name for anybody who is not saved, who is not committed and surrendered their lives to Christ. The scripture says that today is the day of salvation. Right now, wherever you are, in your car, in your house, with whoever it is, I want you to pray with me. Ask the Lord Jesus, forgive me of my sins. Jesus, I know I'm a sinner. I trust in you as my personal Savior. I surrender my life to you. In Jesus' name, amen. If not for God. This is the Truth Network.
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