Think about this, have you ever been given a really great gift from someone but after opening it and enjoying it momentarily, after a while you found yourself never really using it? You might find it easier to recount an occasion where you were the giver and felt hurt when you found out your gift was never used… There is something about the giving of gifts that brings responsibility to the receiver, a responsibility to make good use of what they have been given.
This responsibility intensifies with how great the gift is, and even more so if the gift brings great blessing both to the recipient and to others who get to share in it. These kinds of gifts are great – like cake, nobody ever ate a whole cake themselves (If you have, shame on you haha), these are gifts for sharing and blessing. To receive the gift of a cake and then to put it in the cupboard and never eat or share it is a tragedy!
Now I really have your attention with cake lets jump back into 2Peter 1 and pick up where we left of last Saturday and read on from verse 5.
5 For this very reason (see my last two posts for the that reason), make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Now if we were to stay on the topic of cake – I think this passage would be a rich fruit cake. It would be possible to consider each supplement Peter is telling us to “make every effort” to attain (and I think I may take some time to do so in future weeks) in turn but let’s start today by considering it as a whole, for the implication of verse 8 would be a scary one to miss.
I am going to get a little personal here for a moment and let you into why this passage became one of the most significant for me. It was the image of one day standing in front of Jesus and not to hear “well done good and faithful servant” but instead “Mark, you were ineffective and unfruitful in your knowledge of me”. Now I don’t believe in ministering to one another purely in fear, but with the right encouragement, sometimes we do need a little kick to remind us of our great responsibility and these verses did exactly that to me.
The realisation that I had been given the most amazing gift that any human could be given – the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ – and that in receiving that gift and its abundance of blessings both now and for eternity, I had also received a great responsibility. A responsibility to not put it up on a shelf where I could look up at it from time to time but not share it. The knowledge of Jesus is a gift of immense blessing (that in many ways completely eclipses sharing a cake) that has the potential to transform people’s eternal lives and bring them too into fellowship with their Creator and allow them to partake in his Divine nature. If only I would share it.
Now don’t get me wrong, sharing the knowledge of Jesus is not like handing someone a piece of cake, but according to Peter there are real ways in which we can become effective and fruitful at doing it. If that is in fact the case, do you now want to be one of those people who are?? (and there are amazing promises for those who are, feel free to read on and spoil it!)
Can I encourage you today to pray;
- Abundant thanks to God for the great gift of knowing him!
- For a little disorientation as we consider the responsibility of using the gift we have and the reality of were we may be infective or unfruitful
- For the Holy Spirit’s power and fullness in our lives that we may pursue virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection and love!