Monday, November 19, 2018

Serving Within Your Sphere

Let's take a look at a verse from Paul's second letter to the Corinthians (2 Cor 10:13). Paul said, "We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the sphere of service God himself has assigned to us, a sphere that also includes you." While Paul did boast of what Christ was doing through his ministry, he boasted within certain limits, specifically to what he called, "the sphere of service God himself has assigned to us" (NIV). Let's take a moment to examine this phrase more closely.

The Greek word for sphere is kanon, which means rule or standard, by implication it means a boundary, that is, (figuratively) a sphere (of activity): - line, rule. From this word kanon we get the English word canon, as in the canon of Scripture, which refers to the limits set by the Church as to what is Scripture, so that everything outside those sixty-six books is not considered to be Scripture.

Now let's consider how various versions of the Bible translate this phrase in 2 Corinthians 10:13:

In the NASB it is "the sphere which God apportioned to us as a measure..."

The 1978 NIV says, "the field God has assigned to us..."

In the ESV it is translated, "the area of influence God assigned to us..."

The GNB calls it, "the limits of the work which God has set for us..."

So Paul knew that there was a sphere that God apportioned to him as a measure, and that is the sphere he worked within. Everyone has a sphere and we all need to stay within our sphere and not overstep it. This is our specific area of activity and influence that the Lord has determined according to His own will and purpose. It includes the people whom our lives intersect with and touch, such as our children, parents, brothers, sisters, other relatives, neighbors, coworkers, friends, classmates, and people we meet in the market place or social networks, as well as people in far away lands that we either know or whom the Lord has enabled us to reach.

As God's fellow workers, let's work in the field God has assigned to us, rather than in someone else's field. Even within our own field, we each have specific duties, as the Lord has assigned to each his task (1 Cor 3:5b), such as planting the seed, watering, or reaping. One man plants the seed, another one waters, but God makes it grow, until the time comes for someone else to reap the harvest.

We should not try to go beyond the specific limits of the work which God has set for us. He will stretch us past what we thought we were capable of doing and even expand the reach of our territory so that it becomes enlarged beyond what it once was. He will do this, especially if we pray and ask Him to do so. If we are faithful with the little things, He will entrust us with much, even increasing the limits of the work which He has set for us. But we must first prove faithful in the little things. As Jesus said, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much." (Lk 16:10, NIV).

So don't despise the day of small things, but be faithful to bloom where He has planted you. Don't try to be somebody else or have their ministry. Be who God has made you and called you to be. Use those gifts and talents that He has put into your hands. Serve the people the Lord has called you to serve. If that's a small flock of twenty-three people, then tend that flock diligently and faithfully. If it's a handful of people at your place of employment, then serve the Lord among them. Plant those seeds of the Word in the garden the Lord has given you to tend. Then in due time, as your garden produces good fruit, the Lord may give you a larger garden to tend.

Attribution notice: Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, where noted, copyright Lockman Foundation, used by permission. Other Scriptures from The Holy Bible NIV, coyyright Zondervan, used by permission. First image copyright Amy Kauffman, Amplifying Specks of Life. Second image copyright ClipArt extras, used according to Fair Use Act for educational and commentary purposes.

Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, you may also like and Multiplication and Multiplication IllustrationsLife Transformation Groups, How to Start an LTG, Being a Witness for Christ, What's That in Your Hand, Multiplying Your Talents, and the other posts available through the Home Page of this blog.  If you would like to become a disciple who multiplies disciples, please prayerfully consider enrolling in Doulos Training School, our international, distance education ministry. You may also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission.

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