Thousands of you brethren have asked about this question. As Christ's own gospel encircles the world, the true answer becomes vitally important! You must KNOW — and ACT! IS YOUR life literally FILLED with a dynamic, pulsating, driving PURPOSE? If not, WHY?
Your life SHOULD BE SO PACKED with interest and activity that you begrudge even the few hours which you necessarily must spend in bed asleep. Is your life that EXCITING? Is it full of that kind of CHALLENGE?
Whether you realize it or not, YOUR DESTINY has been to be placed as a member of the most important TEAM on earth! This TEAM has the MOST IMPORTANT JOB ON EARTH TO DO. EVERY SINGLE MEMBER is VITALLY needed! On offense and on defense, every position on this team is IMPORTANT.
There should NEVER be any "bench warmers" on this team. The rule book says THAT EVERY MEMBER MUST BE AN ACTIVE PARTICIPANT IN THE STRUGGLE. Any member who lags too far behind or who quits will be DROPPED from the team roster. Victory MUST be achieved at all costs!
Christ's Body The BODY of Jesus Christ is the "team" described.
The apostle Paul told the saints at Corinth, "Now ye are the BODY of Christ, and members in particular" (I Cor. 12:27). Except in Spirit, Jesus is not here on earth any more. The work He began MUST be carried on by others as HIS HUMAN INSTRUMENTS.
Jesus committed His work to His church to carry on. That is why Paul calls the church Christ's "body." It is the ORGANISM through which Christ can now carry out His work. To do this tremendous job, Christ's church must be totally CONSECRATED to its calling. It must work with DYNAMIC ZEAL and rely with implicit FAITH in the POWER of God Himself to remove otherwise impassable barriers.
You and I did not ASK to be called at this crucial time, brethren. This is GOD'S DOING. We in God's Church cannot pat ourselves on the back for having had our minds opened to so much of God's precious TRUTH.
On the other hand, we DARE NOT shirk the solemn RESPONSIBILITY which comes with this knowledge. God has CALLED us to be members of Christ's body — the organism through which the work of the gospel MUST be accomplished.
When YOU were baptized, your old "self" was symbolically BURIED in a watery grave. You acknowledged that Christ PAID FOR YOU, and you GAVE your very LIFE to Him. If you are really converted, then "ye are DEAD, and your life is hid with Christ in God" (Col. 3:3).
You are no longer to think of your life, your time, and your talents as your OWN any more. Rather, you should regard them as BELONGING TO JESUS CHRIST — who has bought and paid for your life with His perfect life. As the apostle Paul wrote, "For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's" (I Cor. 6:20).
Your body — your very SELF, then, should be given completely to God as an instrument through which He can work.
Have you ever thought of it that way? May God help you to do so if you ever intend to get into the kingdom of God! YOU MUST PROVE YOUR WILLINGNESS TO LET GOD TOTALLY DIRECT YOUR LIFE.
Consider yourself, then, a member of Christ's BODY — a member of the most important TEAM on earth.
Our Mission In our day, Christ's church is called upon to FULFILL PROPHECY. In describing the very CLOSING EVENTS of this age just before His return, Jesus prophesied, "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come" (Mat. 24:14).
If we are Christ's church — His BODY, then we must yield ourselves completely to Him as instruments in carrying out this mission. In addition to this general commission, we must particularly warn ISRAEL and other nations of their coming judgments for sin. And, when necessary, we must raise up churches and "feed the flock" who are already converted.
In carrying out this world-wide mission, a great many different kinds of talent must be employed, and a great deal of SACRIFICE must be made by each and every member of Christ's church. Some must sacrifice by giving their entire time and lives to this work. Others must give part of their time to active service, and employ the rest of their time and talents in a manner which will aid further in carrying out the gospel.
EVERYONE in God's church must consider their part in the work of Christ as their highest calling — THEIR SUPREME PURPOSE IN LIFE. Each must work, and study, and pray, and sacrifice DAILY to achieve this great purpose. The magnitude of this calling should FILL every real Christian's life with a driving PURPOSE and ZEAL in life.
Our PURPOSE is to reach this ENTIRE EARTH with a vital message. It is the ONLY message of real HOPE for a world which is on the verge of TOTAL CHAOS. Our mission is to act as Ambassadors — as representatives — of Christ, and to let Him use us in warning this world of approaching DOOM, and in telling them the GOOD NEWS of the world tomorrow.
If any member of Christ's body fails to bear his full share of the load, the accomplishment of this mission is impeded and delayed. If you are really in God's church and guided by His Spirit, you will recognize both the responsibility and the opportunity given you. How do you stack up to it? ARE YOU DOING YOUR FULL SHARE?
Important Jobs As God opens more great DOORS for the proclaiming of His message, an increasing number of active positions in God's work continually open up to our young men and women who are being trained at Ambassador. But Jesus said, "The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few" (Mat. 9:37). And the injunction to PRAY is more important today than ever: "Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest" (verse 38).
Yes, PRAY that God will provide the servants for His work! He KNOWS the hearts of men — and He alone can CALL the ones with both the ability AND the right spirit to fill positions in His ever growing work. Are you praying as Jesus commanded?
Different Gifts In Romans 12:1-8, the apostle Paul exhorts the saints at Rome, "Present your bodies a LIVING SACRIFICE, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service" (verse 1). He goes on to instruct them not to become vain over any spiritual gifts, but to remember that it was all "according as GOD hath dealt to every man the measure of faith" (verse 3).
Paul reminds them that they "are ONE BODY in Christ" (verse 5).
He then speaks of their various opportunities for service as GIFTS. WHAT ARE THESE OPPORTUNITIES FOR ACTIVELY SERVING GOD? Do we have these opportunities TODAY?
Paul first mentions the gifts pertaining to the MINISTRY. These involve a special calling of God and special training such as all of God's servants had. God has opened up Ambassador College in our day to provide the trained ministry needed in this world-wide gospel crusade by radio and the printing press. We should all PRAY EARNESTLY that God will send here those whom HE has called for His work.
TEACHING is the next gift Paul mentions. As local churches are formed, elders who UNDERSTAND and can TEACH the Word of God are needed. Paul was inspired to write Timothy, "This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop (or elder), he desireth a good work" (I Tim. 3:1). An elder must meet all the scriptural requirements, and prove himself worthy of this trust. He muse be "apt to TEACH." But he may rejoice in being privileged to actively serve in the Church of God.
The next gift mentioned in Romans 12 is that of EXHORTATION. This is a gift particularly employed by the ministry, but also should be exercised by the local elders, teachers, and even brethren who should be "exhorting one another" to be faithful as we see the day of Christ's return approaching (Heb. 10:25).
All these gifts mentioned here fit into the same pattern as those described in I Corinthians 12. But in this particular chapter (Romans 12) Paul is describing these functions of service to explain HOW we may present out bodies a "living sacrifice" as He commanded in verse one. Real Christians, then, are to devote their very LIVES as a LIVING SACRIFICE in zealously exercising these gifts. These are the WAYS in which we can be active instruments in God's hands.
Now we come to another most important gift. It is also a precious opportunity for ACTIVE SERVICE to God. It is a gift which many of you brethren have been FAILING to exercise when you could! It is a VITAL gift. It MUST be UNDERSTOOD and ZEALOUSLY EMPLOYED if we are to continue to be God's instruments in carrying His message to all the world!
The Neglected Gift You brethren may not realize it, but even after we are converted most of us still have a WRONG sense of values. This is replaced only GRADUALLY by God's standard. We have to STUDY and to be taught God's Word for a long time before we come to have the mind of Christ in viewing material objects and circumstances.
That is PRECISELY why most of us have not understood and leaped at the chance to exercise the next gift mentioned in Romans 12.
Paul commands: "He that GIVETH, let him do it with simplicity" (verse 8). All modern translations show that simplicity" should be translated LIBERALITY.
Yes, God inspired the apostle Paul to write that GIVING was a definite part of the spiritual ministry. He describes this opportunity for service as a "gift" from God. The GIVER, Paul says, is to be LIBERAL.
WHY haven't most of you ever thought of it in this light before?
HERE'S WHY! The America we have all grown up in has been described as "the most materialistic nation on earth." In this capitalistic society, we have learned to lust for MONEY and the MATERIAL THINGS money will buy. We almost unconsciously look with suspicion on any religious or charitable enterprise that calls on us to contribute, but doesn't offer an immediate MATERIAL result in return.
Whether you realize it or not, MONEY — and the MATERIAL things it will buy — has become the GOD of most Americans. Many visitors from foreign nations notice this and remark about it.
And GOD knows it too! In Malachi 3:6-12, God speaks to the "sons of Jacob" — to America and Britain today — to you! "Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In TITHES AND OFFERINGS" (verse 8).
TRAGIC AS IT SEEMS, brethren, a few of you, who have actually been baptized and supposedly converted, changed, and filled with God's Holy Spirit, have been FAILING to heed this solemn warning to modern Israel! SOME of you have failed to pay your FULL TITHE regularly to the ONLY work which is carrying Christ's message to the world.
MANY of you have failed to give OFFERINGS according as God has blessed you. You have failed to obey God's command to give LIBERALLY.
Because of human tendency to worship money and regard it as your "security," many have failed to exercise their God-given "gift" of GIVING generously of their perishable material treasure that God's work might reach all of suffering humanity. You just haven't thought of this function as a special "gift" — a special OPPORTUNITY and RESPONSIBILITY to ACTIVELY serve God.
Should We Apologize?
Should God's ministers have to apologize for the necessity of telling you these vital truths? Should we feel like scoundrels for showing what GOD says about the use you should make of your material wealth? Should we feel GUILTY?
Just who IS GUILTY?
Frankly, brethren, although Mr. Armstrong knows he has to, he HATES to have to write urgent co-worker letters asking for money for God's work.
But should he get out of the ministry to make money? Would this help God's work?
All of you brethren should well know by the "fruits" that God has CALLED Mr. Armstrong to a job in this work which is growing so big it is more than he can HUMANLY take care of. But who has God CALLED to help provide the money which is so necessary in carrying out His work?
As God's work now reaches out to all inhabited continents with increasing power, Mr. Armstrong and ALL of God's servants in this work have MUCH MORE TO DO THAN CAN HUMANLY BE ACCOMPLISHED. We feel WHIPPED and BEATEN at times by the staggering load of work which we face each day. We have to ask God for more strength and faith to carry our load.
But beloved brethren, WE CANNOT CARRY YOUR LOAD AS WELL!
You must understand YOUR PART in exercising the "gift" of GIVING and the other gifts and functions you may perform in God's church. And you must ACT with ZEAL and FAITH!
So be cognizant of the EXTREME IMPORTANCE of exercising the gift of GIVING.
However, at ALL times perform DILIGENTLY and ZEALOUSLY those functions which you can in God's work. God may be using your zeal in those duties as a gauge of what you COULD do if a greater responsibility were placed on your shoulders. Jesus said, "He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much" (Luke 16:10).
It is our solemn RESPONSIBILITY to shoulder the financial burden of proclaiming God's message to all nations. But it is also our great PRIVILEGE, if we will only understand Jesus' words, "It is more blessed to GIVE than to receive" (Acts 20:35). He set the example by giving His very LIFE for you and me.
Here's How But we are to present our bodies as a "LIVING sacrifice." One way some of our more zealous brethren have GLORIFIED God in exercising the gift of GIVING is this: Realizing that their tithes and offerings were a most important part of their active service to God, they have sought to work extra hours or to get extra part-time work, and have in every RIGHT AND HONEST way possible sought to employ their talents and abilities TO EARN MORE MONEY TO PUT INTO THE WORK OF GOD!
May God bless them for it!
Carnal men are always scheming to make more money in every way possible. They will miss sleep, meals, and drive themselves on because they worship MAMMON.
How many Christians will show the same ZEAL in earning money to give to CHRIST?
This is plain talk, brethren, but the time has come when those of you who are in God's own church should be told these things. God's servants around the world are doing our best to give ourselves COMPLETELY to God in carrying out our part in His growing work. NOW ALL OF YOU MUST DO THE DO THE SAME!
We cannot count on outsiders or even our unconverted co-workers to put forth this kind of effort. But you converted brethren should have the SPIRIT and POWER of God to inspire you to shoulder more of the load!
Mr. Armstrong has spent many sleepless nights in concern and in earnest prayer during the seemingly impossible financial struggles God's work has had to go-through. He has forced himself to write co-workers letters when he wished and prayed that it wouldn't be necessary. And God has ALWAYS delivered His work!
But as this age draws to a close and God's work suddenly expands to the ends of the earth, WE MUST HAVE MORE OF YOU BRETHREN WITH YOUR WHOLE HEARTS IN THIS WORK.
Our Lord and Master said, "Where your TREASURE is, there will your HEART be also" (Mat. 6:21).
God grant that each of you will put your whole MIND and HEART into God's service, and present your BODIES a "living sacrifice" to Him in every way. Earnestly seek how you may best serve God in a more active manner and be an instrument He can use.
Neglect not the gift of GIVING. It is VITAL at this time. Take this as YOUR opportunity and responsibility in God's work. Seek to exercise it more effectively. Go to EXTRA EFFORT and SACRIFICE for Christ! THERE IS NO GREATER PURPOSE IN LIFE.
HEAR, and UNDERSTAND, and ACT, that you may be worthy of Jesus' words: "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."