The Lady in the Poor House

Charles Spurgeon, great English pastor of the 19th century, wrote about his visit to a woman who lived in what he called “the poor house.” She asked for a pastoral visit because she was requesting the church give her some money for food and clothing. Spurgeon visited the lady in the poor house and prayed with her. When he finished his prayer, he looked on the wall of her little room at a framed, signed document. Spurgeon asked, “Ma’am, what is that?” She answered, “Oh, it’s just a piece of paper that a man gave to me whom I nursed when he was sick before he died.” After much persuasion, he convinced her to let him take that piece of paper to a solicitor, a British lawyer. They discovered that the piece of paper was actually the Last Will and Testament of the sick man for whom she had cared and it left all of his riches to her, amounting to thousands of pounds! Here was a woman living in poverty, and yet the whole time she was, in actuality, very wealthy. She simply did not know it and had not probated the will. She had not appropriated what was already hers.

It is difficult to imagine such a situation and yet many Christians are in the same position. They have been gifted by Christ and yet, like the woman, they have not appropriated it. The Bible says, “But to each of us grace has been gifted as Christ apportioned. That is why it says: ‘When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men’” (Ephesians 4:7). Paul’s reference to this passage in Psalm 68:18 is used here to say that through the victory of the gospel we all, as believers in Christ, have now been given gifts to bless others around us. These gifts are not just to bless us but to bless others through us. This we do through our works of service. Paul goes on to say that the church will mature only as each member is willing to exercise their gift of ministry and put it into action for the good of Christ’s body—the church. What a loss—indeed, what a tragedy when we sit idly and refuse to do ministry. Put into action the ministry God has given you!

Devotedly yours,
Pastor Ron

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