Our days on this earth – yours and mine – are numbered. We have a finite time left to have a positive, lasting impact on the lives of those around us, those who matter most.

We’ve been chatting this week about using the gifts and resources that God’s placed in our hands to do good wherever we go. Sure, there’s a cost to that and our circumstances may not be ideal, muddied as they often are by uncertainty.

But let’s get real here. The time that we have left to do the good things that God is calling us into gets shorter with every tick of the clock. And whilst we live in a three-dimensional world, it’s this fourth dimension, time, that we often fail to take into account.

Ecclesiastes 11:7,8 It is good to be alive. It is nice to see the light from the sun. You should enjoy every day of your life, no matter how long you live. But remember that you will die, and you will be dead much longer than you were alive. And after you are dead, you cannot do anything.

If you believe in Jesus, then you’re going to spend your eternity in His Presence. Fantastic news. We’ll spend forever worshipping Him. But it also means that our opportunity to do good, to impact lives with His love, to see people come to a saving knowledge of Him, will be over.

That means that there’s a sense of urgency. Yes, it’s good to be alive, to see the light of the sun, to enjoy every day of our lives. But let’s also be about His business of doing good wherever we go – before it’s too late.

That’s God’s Word. Fresh … for you … today.

So, perhaps God’s called you to step out into some good on His behalf – maybe through a financial commitment, or investing time and energy into something or someone. Whatever it is, there’s always a sacrifice.

That’s the thing with following Jesus. It always costs you something to be about His business of His love, His good news, with others. And that’s what makes things so tricky. That’s what gives us pause, what causes us to hesitate, what results in many simply giving up.

That up-front cost … putting your investment at risk so to speak, without the certainty of a commensurate, positive result … does the likelihood of a positive outcome justify the risk? That’s the question. But in point of fact, it’s entirely the wrong question because it fails to take into account God’s Presence and participation in what He’s called you to do.

Ecclesiastes 11:5,6 You don’t know where the wind blows. And you don’t know how a baby grows in its mother’s womb. In the same way, you don’t know what God will do—and he makes everything happen.  So begin planting early in the morning, and don’t stop working until evening. You don’t know what might make you rich. Maybe everything you do will be successful.

I love the bit about getting up early to start planting and not stopping until the evening. In other words … man, stop procrastinating. Throw yourself into whatever God’s called you to with vim and vigour, with enthusiasm and dedication.

Because if He’s called you to do something, then He’s in it with you. And He’s the one who makes everything happen. Stand back. Look at the whole picture – God included. And get on with it!

That’s His Word. Fresh … for you … today.

One of the most difficult things for us to do is to step out in faith when we’re surrounded by uncertainty, to invest our time, energies and resources in a good work when the outcome is far from certain.

As the saying goes, the only things that we can be certain of in this life are death and taxes. Everything else is up for grabs. And as we saw yesterday, even the good things in our lives that look and feel rock-solid – a marriage, a home – will all one day come to an end.

So in the midst of all that uncertainty, perhaps you feel God nudging you to make a sacrifice, to invest in this or that good work. But, you know, the timing seems off. The circumstances seem far from ideal. So what we tend to do is think to ourselves, “Maybe I’d better wait”.

Ecclesiastes 11:3,4 There are some things you can be sure of. If clouds are full of rain, they will pour water on the earth. If a tree falls—to the south or to the north—then it will stay where it falls. But there are some things that you cannot be sure of. You must take a chance. If you wait for perfect weather, you will never plant your seeds. If you are afraid that every cloud will bring rain, you will never harvest your crops.

In other words, when God calls us to step out in faith, invariably the circumstances never seem ideal. There’s always an element of uncertainty, at least from our narrow worldly perspective. But if we wait until the circumstances are ideal, we’ll never step out.Trust God. Step out despite your circumstances. That’s His Word. Fresh … for you … today.

All the things in this world that we take for granted – whilst they’re here today – could very well be gone tomorrow. In fact, one day no matter how permanent the things of this world may seem, they will all be gone.

I’m married to my beautiful wife, Jacqui. But one day, either she or I will pass out of this world before the other. Our marriage will be over. I love the place where we live. But one day, that’ll be gone too. I love serving in ministry, but one day my involvement will be over.

And it’s the same with you. We each have so many good things in our lives … but one day even those good things will come to an end – some, perhaps sooner than we ever imagined.

Yesterday, we chatted about the dividend we receive from doing good.

Ecclesiastes 11:1 Do good wherever you go. After a while, the good you do will come back to you.

And it will. We’ll reap what we sow. But in the very next verse comes a sage piece of advice:

Ecclesiastes 11:2 Invest what you have in several different things. You don’t know what bad things might happen on earth.

In other words, spread your good works around – amongst your family, your neighbours, the work to which you’ve been called. Sow good seeds wherever you go – here and there and way over yonder too. Because you don’t know what bad things might cut one of them off.

Spread your good investments around … a bit like an investment portfolio, so that if one of them’s cut off, if one of them comes unexpectedly to an end, there are still more out there delivering returns, bearing fruit.

That’s God’s Word. Fresh … for you … today.

Do you know the biggest difference between doing bad and doing good? Doing bad is so easy. It just seems to come naturally to us. Doing good on the other hand … well, that can be seriously hard work.

It’s true, isn’t it? It’s easy to be grumpy. It’s much harder to put a smile on your face and have a kind word for someone when you just don’t feel like it. It’s easy to slack off at work. It’s a lot harder to honour your employer and work hard when everything’s raging against you.

That’s just how it goes. And so, all too often, we do good when we’re in a good mood, when it feels easy. But when we don’t feel like it, we do bad. The problem with that is others can’t predict how we’re going to behave. They’ll either benefit from our ups or bear the brunt of our downs, depending on which way the wind happens to be blowing today.

So here’s some powerful, godly advice to put wind in your sails:

Ecclesiastes 11:1 Do good wherever you go. After a while, the good you do will come back to you.

Where should we do good? Wherever we go. No exception. No let out clauses. No “depending on how you’re feeling today” caveats. No! Do good wherever you go. Not just because it’s the right thing to do, although it is. Not just because it honours God, although it does. Not just because it’s a great witness of who Jesus is, although it is.

But because, after a while, the good you do will come back to you.

You know it’s true! So, do good wherever you go.

That’s God’s Word. Fresh … for you … today.

It’s funny how God (if we’ll let Him) can use even the most mundane of situations to teach us a powerful lesson, even when we’re feeling decidedly unspiritual. That’s exactly what happened to me recently.

I was in a café/bar at Auckland airport waiting to fly home. The previous day we’d just shot 105 video episodes of Fresh in a TV studio. Needless to say, I was absolutely spent. But I’m sitting there watching this guy in the café managing his staff. What a leader!

The first thing I noticed was that he had his sleeves rolled up. The place was flat out, so he was racing around clearing and cleaning tables, a bottle of spray in his hand. Then he jumped behind the till as the queue grew longer and longer.

But busy as they were, one of his staff came up with an idea of how to rearrange the food in the glass display cabinet. So the manager stopped, cocked his head to one side, listened, nodded and replied … Great idea. Just minutes later, that young fellow was down on his knees rearranging the cabinet.

Then it struck me. This manager’s default position was to serve and to encourage his staff.

Proverbs 12:25 Anxiety weighs down the human heart, but a good word cheers it up. (NRSV)

The serving staff should have been grumpy with the pressure they were under. But they all had this warm, friendly demeanour about them. So I grabbed the manager (Tim) and told him what a great leader he was. He had no idea.

Anxiety weighs down the human heart, but a good word cheers it up.

Tim, it turns out, was operating a ministry of encouragement.

That’s God’s Word. Fresh … for you … today.

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