Certain things are necessary in our lives such as clothing, food and shelter. Paul made the point to Timothy “if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content” and “there is great gain in godliness with contentment” (1 Timothy 6:6,8). What hinders our contentment? Now Matthew 18 Jesus told his disciples, “Woe to the world for temptations to sin. For it is necessary that temptations come …” (verse 7). Why is it necessary? Wouldn’t it be better if believers lived protected lives without anything tempting us? No, it wouldn’t!

When we make things we test them to make sure they are strong enough for the purpose for which we made them. It maybe that some part will break and if that makes it useless, then we throw it away. But often, even with a part broken there is still a good use for it – and that is the point behind Jesus’ parable that “if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire” (verse 8).

We may have a special aptitude or talent, but if it has no spiritual value – but rather, the opposite, then we should push it out of our lives. Let us use make full use of the talents and opportunities we have – and not fret about others, and our failures, and be in danger of being useless to God.

Once again our Psalms reading is valuable – 33:10 refers to our time and is very apposite, “The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples”. Efforts to solve global problems achieve little. God is not only ignored – most push out of their minds any thought of His existence. Does that influence you? Note the great truth of verse 12: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!” The words of Jesus we thought about illustrate the elements of behaviour that really count – “but it is necessary” that chosen vessels are tested as to their worthiness. Are you passing the test? May we all be among those whom He chooses – may we help each other to pass the test.