Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 12, 1964
NUMBER 44, PAGE 3,12b-13a

Maximum Or Minimum?

Donald R. Givens

The Christian life is a life of maximum service to God. It should be this way, but far too many times it is not. We have shirked our duty to our Heavenly Father by giving minimum service and minimum time instead of the maximum.

Our Lord's life was a life of maximums. Christ told the Pharisees that the great commandment was; "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, This is the great and first commandment." (Matt. 22:37, 38) Notice the phrases Christ used to impress upon their minds that loving God is to be done in a maximum way. Love to Jehovah is not expressed half-heartedly, coldly, and indifferently by the true Christian. Rather it is a joy and privilege and never a drudgery.

Christ gave all. He "emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross." (Phil. 2:7, 8) Truly, Jesus could do no more than He did. He gave His precious life upon the cross of Calvary for the sins of the whole world. We cannot ask Jesus to please "do a little more" or to show any more love than He has done. He did all; He gave the supreme sacrifice. "This is my commandment, that ye love one another, even as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do the things which I command you." (John 13:12-14) Jesus gave the maximum, His own teachings, life and love for you and me. We can return that love by giving our complete selves into his hands. The dictionary defines maximum as: "the greatest or highest possible." This certainly describes what the earthly life of Jesus was. And Jesus continues as our mediator in Heaven. He has all authority, therefore we must submit our complete selves to His reign.. Jesus gave all, the maximum, in life and in death, and we must do the same as faithful stewards.

It is a sad condition, but nevertheless true, that many Christians seek to do only the minimum. As the expression goes, "just enough to get by." The erroneous idea is prevalent that we can do very little for the Lord, the minimum we desire, and still be pleasing to Him, This is as wrong as it can possibly be. God is not satisfied with mediocrity.

One who serves in a maximum way will not ask, "How much do I have to do or give?" but rather "How much can I do for the Lord?" He will be seeking every opportunity to do good and to spread the good tidings. Procrastination and neglect are the characteristics of the minimum worker. One who truly loves God and all He has done for man, will return this love, as Jesus said, with all his heart, soul, and mind.

Love Is The Motivating Force

What is the basis of all our actions? What should be the motivating force behind all we do in service to the Lord and fellowman? LOVE is the answer. Love is the motivating force. "If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments.... If a man love me, he will keep my word: and my Father will live him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him, He that loveth use not keepeth not my words: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's who sent me." (John 14:15, 23, 24) We keep the commands and instructions of God because of our great love for Him. Love compels us to give the maximum in time, money and deeds. Indifference to God and His kingdom will cause us to give the minimum, or nothing at all.

The apostle Paul expresses the power of love and the necessity of diligence and fervor in serving the Lord. After instructing the Romans "to present your bodies a living sacrifice" he also states: "Let love be without hypocrisy, Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. In love of the brethren be tenderly affectioned one to another; in honor preferring one another; in diligence not slothful; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord." (Romans 12:9-11) Continuing steadfastly in the above things will gain one a home in heaven. Paul is a wonderful example of diligence and fervor. He suffered many, many things for the cause of Christ and the spreading of the good tidings. No one can accuse Paul of giving the minimum. Remember that he said: "Be ye imitators of me, even as I also am of Christ." (1 Cor. 11:1)

Minimum Servers

Far too often Christians are grumblers, complainers and murmurers. This is a sin perhaps all are guilty of occasionally. We shirk our duty to God because some brother or sister has offended us. Is it not true that in many congregations some have fallen away and forsaken the Lord because others have sinned terribly? This shows their faith was in men and not in Almighty God. God shall never fail us. It is we who fail Him. We must give maximum service to Jehovah even though all mankind may trample Him and His word underfoot. You will not be judged on what others have done. I will not be judged on the basis of what you have done either, but "each one of us shall give account of HIMSELF to God." (Romans 14:12) Judgment will be on an individual basis, and you can be certain no individual shall be overlooked. "For we must all be made manifest before the judgment-seat of Christ; that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he hath done, whether it be good or bad." (2 Cor. 5:10) Every person will receive his reward according to what kind of works he has performed while living on this temporal earth. If you have given minimum service, think seriously whether this is in the classification of "good" or "had." Realizing the fact that we certainly will be judged for our every deed, how can anyone who believes the Bible to be the inspired words of God, not want to be zealously and busily working for the Lard in His Kingdom?

We are so careful to insure our homes, cars, and life itself with the maximum coverage and protection, But what about insuring our own souls with the maximum spiritual security? Too often we strive after worldly goods and security and actually overlook where true and lasting security is found. True security and happiness are in giving our whole selves into the work Christianity requires. Living a rich Christian life is not a burden but a joy. In our striving for the temporal, may we never put it above the eternal. If a man acquires the entire riches of the whole world and loses his soul in the process — he is a fool. "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth consume, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where thy treasure is, there will thy heart he also." (Matthew 6:19-21)

God wants no one to serve Him unless they serve Him with their WHOLE heart and will. We must willingly and joyously work for Him. It is a happy thing to be able to please our Father. True love for God will find itself in action. Zealous works are performed by the maximum worker. The worker who performs just the minimum, or as little as possible, has failed to "deny himself, take up his cross and follow Jesus."

Widow Gave Maximum

A wonderful, supreme example of maximum giving is found in Mark 12:41-44. This poor widow gave ALL. She served God in the maximum way. The important thing was not HOW MUCH money she gave, hut rather HOW she gave. The rich people cast in more than she in amount, but they also had much left over. And it is equally true today; it is not always how much we give that counts — but rather how much we have left over after we give to God. Christ said, "Verily I say unto you, This poor widow cast in more than all they that are casting into the treasury: for they all did cast in of their superfluity (superabundance); but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living." May the Lord help us to be more like this poor widow. Though she was poor in material goods, she was rich in spirituality.

Let no one excuse himself from responsibility to God and His church by saying he has nothing to give. None of us are poorer than this widow was. We may have modest incomes, but money is not all we can give to God. We should give of our time and ability. We live in a prosperous nation; a rich nation in fact. Food, clothing, automobiles, medicines, houses, and all material things are found in the maximum in this country. Yet do we give of these in service to God, in a maximum way? Do we sow stingily? Remember "he that soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he that soweth bountifully (here is the maximum, D.R.G.) shall also reap bountifully." (2 Cor. 9:6)

Our aim and desire should be to grow spiritually, to give bountifully, and to serve cheerfully; always striving to improve ourselves and to do better work in the vineyard of our Lord. The attitude of "doing just enough to get by" should be cast entirely out of our thoughts. With the Lord it is either all or nothing. Consider what He said in Revelation 3:15, 16. Lukewarm and cold Christians are repulsive to the Lord. May we be found in the classification of "hot."

Ecclesiastes 9:10 sums up the thought of our article very well: "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, DO IT WITH THY MIGHT."

— 241 Grant Street, Coalinga, California