We have to be stedfast and unmoveable to be always abounding in the work of the Lord. Abounding: at all times, on all occasions, continuously – not haphazardly or irregular.
I Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
If we haven’t always been abounding in the work of the Lord, there’s a lack somewhere in our experience with the Lord. We are all growing and we aren’t where we were when we were first saved.
Proverbs 6:6-11 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.
When Solomon said consider the ant, there are lots of ant characteristics that God wants us to have. There are 275 types of ants in California. Ants can carry 20 times more than their own weight, ants have 2 stomachs – 1 to feed themselves and the second to feed others. Help us to not just feed ourselves but have something to feed others. Ants automatically know what to do and don’t have to be told. Ants have specific jobs: some care for larva, some are workers, and others carry out the trash. They don’t have an overseer. God gives all of us talents and a job to do. He expects us to abound in the work he has given us. Ants are self-motivated, faithful, persistent to doing their duties, they’re hard workers and not lazy. They have a single focus – one task at a time. Our single focus needs to be to please God. Ants never turn back or give up, they’re determined and courageous. Ants build together, help and share with each other, work for the benefit of the colony and are unselfish. God wants us to work together, to share, and not be selfish. Ants are team players and cooperative. There are no lone ranger ants – they never move alone and they have a sense of community. As the people of God, we need that same sense. Ants understand their gifts and work within their abilities. They gather food in the harvest and close the door when it’s raining. Their motto is: do all you can, always be prepared, and stay faithful.
We need to ask God to help our speech be seasoned with grace to answer everyone and show a Christ-like attitude. If our speech isn’t seasoned with grace, it shows there’s too much self. Our speech was not always seasoned with grace when we were first saved. God is testing our patience in these times. Our speech will be seasoned with complaints, anger, and fault finding if we get impatient. God wants our speech seasoned with grace to answer every man.
Colossians 4:6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
God always provides our needs and helps us. He wants us to be a people of always. God says we should always rejoice in the Lord, regardless of situations around us.
Habbakuk 3:17-19 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.
We should abound in offering the sacrifice of praise continually. It’s a sacrifice to offer praise no matter whether we feel like it or when things try to hinder us from praising God.
Hebrews 13:15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
If we say I will bless the Lord at all times, there won’t be a lot of complaining, arguing, disputing, negative thinking or talk. It’s our responsibility to continually praise God. If we’re blessing God at all times, our demeanor will be happy and thankful.
Psalm 34:1-3 I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.
If our attitude is like our unsaved neighbors, we won’t show the difference salvation makes or be telling about salvation. Abounding means to go beyond, to be very plentiful, to go as far as you can, do as much as you can, and as well as you can. When we pray for grace, God will abundantly supply.
I Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
God wants us to be concerned for the members of the body of Christ, to show our care and concern for the saints.
Hebrews 6:10-12 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
God is asking us to put ourselves out and do good to others by showing our love and concern.
Galatians 6:9-10 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
Part of our abounding is laboring fervently in prayer. We should be increasing our prayer and fervently praying for others.
Colossians 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.
Elijah heard an abundance of rain coming. Praying prepared him to run 20 miles in front of Ahab’s chariot. Elijah wouldn’t have been prepared if he hadn’t kept praying. We have to keep praying for people and needs, even if it’s for years.
I Kings 18:41-44 And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain. So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees, And said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said, There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times. And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man’s hand. And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, Prepare thy chariot, and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not.
Fervent prayer is not haphazard (only occasionally) and not just when we feel like praying. When you don’t feel like praying or like reading the Bible, you need to do it anyway. God wants to see we’re diligent in our labor of God.
Ephesians 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
Abounding in the work of the Lord includes the labor of giving. The people were only doing their own thing but were not profiting by it. God said to consider their ways because they were doing what they wanted, not building the house of God.
Haggai 1:3-8 Then came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet, saying, Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste? Now therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways. Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes. Thus saith the Lord…Consider your ways. Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified…
Malachi said people were laboring, not laboring abundantly for the Lord. They robbed God by not bringing their tithes. We need to keep bringing our tithes for the work of the Lord. We need to keep doing all we can to work for God.
Malachi 3:8-10 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
(Notes from the Mature Class Bible Study, teacher Edith Tolbert)