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Evaluation time

Last week, Gale came in with a familiar annual document—her earnings statement from work.

She has to love me a lot to work so hard for so many hours and put up with so much to help us make ends meet while earning such a small salary. Yet she does so faithfully.

As every working American knows, we are not given a statement of earnings just for personal information, but for the purpose of taking care of our tax obligation to the government. While this is not a very pleasant thing to have to remind ourselves of, perhaps these words found in Romans 13:7 will help us understand that to refuse to give what we owe to the governing authorities is to rebel against God’s Word: “Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor” (NIV).

Since I am mandated by God to pay the taxes that I owe, so I will do. But also, since I am not obligated to send an extra love offering to Washington, I will carefully evaluate what I have spent that might be a legal deduction to reduce what I rightfully owe, and potentially reveal some steps I can take to make 2010 more profitable.

It is a good time for all of us to do some spiritual evaluation as well; we would do well to see what we did in the past that made a difference to us personally and to others that we had opportunity to impact for Christ. A little self-evaluation now could result in a more productive year in our personal service in God’s Kingdom.

An area that is surely worth taking a close look at is that of our commitment of time in personal Bible study and prayer, as well as in corporate time together with God’s people in church attendance.

Another area to evaluate is our giving of resources to God. We should not only look at how much we gave to God financially and otherwise, but we should carefully evaluate why we gave.

If we gave financially to God merely for a tax deduction or just to satisfy our conscience, we missed the real point. We should give to God from a heart of obedience and gratitude.

We are told in II Corinthians 9:7 that “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

An honest evaluation of self is incomplete without considering our relationships with others. If we are hanging onto grudges against others and refusing to strive for harmony with others—especially with those within the church—some adjustment is required. We are told in I Corinthians 13:5 that genuine Christian love “keeps no record of wrongs.” With God’s help we must choose to love even those who do not love us in return.

Ask God to help you evaluate how you conducted yourself in the past and to help you do the right things better and enable you to get rid of the attitudes, actions and omissions that run contrary to His plan for your life.