Turning Points Magazine & Devotional

January 2023 Issue

All the Best

From the Current Issue

Serve the Lord by Putting Your Best Foot Forward

Serve the Lord by Putting Your Best Foot Forward

No one really knows who first told us to put our best foot forward. It’s a phrase that goes back to the fifteenth century, and some people believe it refers to starting a long trip by stepping out with the right foot. In those days the left foot was thought to be unlucky. Shakespeare used this expression in his plays, and today it’s used to describe football kickers who rack up the points.

But it drives grammarians crazy because we only have two feet. Technically, we cannot put our best foot forward. We have to put our better foot forward!

The Almighty God longs to fellowship with you daily.

Whichever foot you favor, you can only serve the Lord one step at a time, going forward by daily increments in His paths of righteousness. The Lord Himself tells us in both the Old and New Testaments: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:15; see also Isaiah 52:7 and Nahum 1:15)

How about you? Are you starting this year with your best foot forward? How do you measure the success of a year? How do you measure the wealth of happiness a year may bring? Some people measure the year in terms of their career goals, their financial assets, their vacation days, or even their activities.

The Bible measures progress somewhat differently. God has given us 525,600 minutes this year. He has provided for our financial needs. And He has gifted us with capabilities and talents to use in our service for Him. All the minutes, all the money, and all of our skills belong to Him, and we are simply trustees.

The Lord measures success by our superintendence of what He has given us, and it is required of stewards that they be faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2).

Your Time

It really begins with our most precious resource—our minutes, hours, and days. Many people make New Year’s resolutions relating to time management, but all such resolutions are hard to keep without the power and priorities of Christ surging through us. It’s the Holy Scriptures that tell us to be continually “making the best use of your time because the times are evil” (Ephesians 5:16, ISV) and to “use wisely all the time we have” (Psalm 90:12, CEV).

Every day say, “Lord, what do You want me to do for You today?”

Perhaps you’re thinking, “Dr. Jeremiah believes I should be at church more often, working in Sunday school more hours, serving in the soup kitchen more regularly.”

Well, maybe. But what comes into my mind is the personal time we reserve for keeping ourselves spiritually keen and close to the Lord. John Flavel said, “There are few musicians that can take down a lute or viol and play presently upon it, without some time to tune it.”1

We need to set aside our best moments each day to tune our heart to the clarion note of the Master Conductor. All you need is a Book—the Bible—and a bookmark, so you can begin reading where you left off the day before. A pencil will help, so you can underline, circle, and mark important words or phrases. And perhaps a notepad to jot down thoughts, copy out Scriptures, write down verses you want to memorize, and maybe keep a simple prayer list. It’s vital to think of these moments in personal terms, not just as a routine or ritual. The Almighty God longs to fellowship with you daily, giving you His attention and direction, listening to your prayers and pleas.

God blesses us that we may use the best part of that blessing to be a blessing.

What time of the day is best? That’s up to you, your daily rhythms, and your daily schedule. It’s hard to forge new habits, but this is one that cannot be neglected!

When we get our heart tuned up each day with the Master, the rest of the day will be ministry. Our life will be a song that will stir the hearts of others. We’ll not have to worry about making time to serve the Lord. We’ll be serving Him wherever we are!

Your Talents

That’s not all. We’ll be serving Him with the talents and skills bestowed by heaven. Facial recognition may be helpful to law enforcement, but it’s frightening to know that a government can identify you out of seven billion people because your face is yours alone. God made you unlike anyone else. In the same way, He gave you gifts, abilities, talents, skills, and capabilities that are yours and yours only.

There are a lot of unusual ministries happening all over the world. Denton Bible Church in Texas has a S.W.E.A.T. Team. It’s exactly what the name implies—a group of people ready to sweat with power tools and muscle. They quickly mobilize after tornados and fierce storms hit their area.1

Magloire Pilabana of Togo began an Athletes in Action ministry to professional soccer players in his country, and many of them have come to Christ and been baptized. At a recent international tournament, he was able to give a Bible to every player, coach, and tournament official.2

Tec Clark is a professional scuba instructor whose life was changed by Christ in 2007. After his conversion he said, “It became apparent to me that there was a reason why people feel closer to God underwater. There is something about the beauty, colors, patterns, diversity, tranquility and designs that make us incredibly aware of our Creator, God.” Clark began Reef Ministries to show people God’s underwater world and help draw them to Christ.3

I read about a group in North Carolina called Geezer Mowing. They are a bunch of older fellows who take their lawnmowers around town, cutting the grass of those going through a difficult time. In the process, they seek to encourage the home dweller with a word of compassion, a verse of Scripture, and perhaps a simple prayer.4

You get the idea. Find ways of utilizing the giftedness God has given you to bless others. It can be as dramatic as soccer or scuba diving or as simple as organizing files or answering phones.

Every day say, “Lord, what do You want me to do for You today?”

He will show you!

Your Treasure

Finally, we are trustees of the treasures God has given us, which includes our money, income, and net worth. God blesses us that we may use the best part of that blessing to be a blessing.

Somebody said, “Here is the bottom line. Begin with your value as a person, add the price paid for your redemption by Jesus Christ, factor in your God-given talent, combine these with the income you earn because God gave you the skills to earn it, then subtract the ninety percent of your income that He has left to your discretion, and leave what belongs to God alone. Give it to Him.”

I remember when I first got out of seminary, one of the hardest things for me to do was to preach on giving. I went two whole years and never preached a single stewardship message. Donna and I nearly starved to death. We were in a small church with seven families, and nobody gave. The people had never been taught to give their tithes and offerings to the Lord.

One day I woke up to the fact that it was my fault. I was robbing those people of one of the greatest joys they could have in the Christian life—the joy of supporting God’s work in their local church and around the world. I prepared a message on financial stewardship, and I’ve been preaching on this subject without hesitation ever since.

Now I’m preaching it to you in this article. I’m asking you to give God your best. Give Him the prime portions of your energy, your efforts, your time, your abilities, and your resources. Success in life is measured by faithfulness to God’s will, and this year will be measured by how well we serve God as His trustees over all He has given us, over all He has done for us, and over all He means to us.

Serve the Lord by putting your best foot—your better foot—forward. Step out in faith and trust God to bless your faithfulness in the giving of yourself.

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).

May God richly bless you this year, and may He make you an enriching blessing to this needy and frightened world that Christ may be glorified every moment and every day!

Sources:

1 John Flavel, The Whole Works of the Rev. Mr. John Flavel (London: W. Baynes and Son, 1820), 464.

2 Courtney Collins, “When Storms Roll Through, Denton Church Unleashes ‘Sweat Team’ for Disaster Relief,” KERA, May 15, 2019.

3 Katie Neff, “Highlights: Frontline Staff,” Athletes in Action, 2022.

4 Tec Clark, “About Us,” Reef Ministries.

5 “Geezer Mowing,” The Christian Heart.

This Month's Magazine Resource

Heaven Rules

Heaven Rules is the two-word answer for every two-word worry. The Bible says God is personally, purposefully involved in all that’s taking place on earth. He’s reigning over each tear, scar, crisis, and conflict. When we experience distress, we can find refuge by looking upward and letting His peace rule in our hearts.

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