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Dear Partner,

Suppose you had just given some much needed money to a poor family that was desperate for help. "Thank you so very much. You are so generous. We were in such need and then you came to help us. Thank you. Thank you." That kind of a response would be appropriate unless they were saying those things to your hand instead of to you! Can you picture it? You are standing right there, yet they are holding on to your hand (the one you gave them the money with) and they are giving thanks to your hand instead of to you. They are not thanking you. They have their eyes focused on your hand and they are thanking your hand not you for the gift.

You would think their behavior to be most bizarre. You would be thinking, "It wasn't my hand's idea to help you. That thought originated in my mind. I'm the one that loved you and wanted to help you. I'm the one that gave the money to you. I'm the one you ought to be thanking. My hand is simply my servant. It just does what I tell it to do. I don't even thank my hand for obeying what I tell it to do. My hand is part of me."

In the same way that we consider our hands to be a part of us, Jesus considers us to be His body on earth. Jesus is alive and well. He Himself, in His glorified body, is now seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven. He has no physical body on the earth except us believers. We are literally the body of Christ on earth! He cannot lay hands on the sick unless He can get a believer to do it. He has no lips to preach with except ours. He has no hands to give with except ours.

When Jesus was teaching His disciples how to have more faith He told them they should consider what they wanted more faith for. Did they want more faith to build their own kingdom? God's faith does not come for such endeavors. Your capacity to walk in more faith is increased the more your heart is transformed to become a servant to your Master Jesus Christ.

Luke  7:5-10 And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you. But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

For many years I did not fully understand why Jesus said that the Master did not thank the servant for doing the things that were commanded him. I know it is not "required" of a Master to do so, but it just seemed a little ungracious to me. One day while I was meditating on this passage I heard the Holy Spirit ask me a simple question, "When was the last time you thanked your hand for obeying your mind?" I thought to myself, "I don't thank my hand for obeying my mind. My hand is part of me."

About then the revelation struck me. Far from being ungracious, the real reason the Lord does not thank us for obeying Him is because He sees us as being a part of Him in precisely the same way that we see our hand as being a part of us. My understanding of the whole Master/servant relationship with the Lord Jesus and myself was instantly changed. That relationship is much more intimate than I had ever realized before. Up until now I had seen Jesus as the Master and myself as His servant laboring in the fields. That is true, but when the workday was finished I saw myself going home to my slave quarters on His plantation, so to speak. In other words, I saw a separation between the Master and the servant, between Jesus and myself.

Jesus desires that we be so vitally joined together with Him that our relationship is much the same as our hand is to our own mind. We are one! My hand does not have any agenda of its own independent of my own mind. In the same way we are to be totally yielded to the mind of Christ for our lives. My hand is not in competition with my own mind. Said another way, my hand does not seek any glory at the expense of my own mind. My hand does not desire praise from people. In the same way, when we give, we are not to seek glory or praise from the people we are giving to. We are simply the hand of Christ obeying His promptings within us. All glory goes to God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

How does Jesus see each of us? We are His body! We are so much a part of Him that He sees no separation between Himself and us. Without Him, we have no life within us. Without us, He has no physical body on earth. What a privilege to be so vitally useful for the Master of the universe while we live our lives on planet earth. There is a deep-seated joy that exists because of this vital union. The hand rejoices that it is used by the head. That's what a hand is for. We rejoice that the Master works through us. That's what the body of Christ is for.

Sue and I love you and appreciate you. We thank God for your generous and giving heart. God bless you!

Your friend and co-laborer,

Gary Carpenter

 

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