“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Down by the River

We spend a lot of time worried about whether or not we are saved. What about when we know that we are saved What then?  

If we cannot earn our salvation or earn even an ounce more of God's love, then what are we striving for? If there's no purpose for our life, then God would just snatch us up to heaven the second we earnestly devoted ourselves to Christ. Obviously THAT didn't happen... so now what? 

If you have a job where you cannot get fired as long as you show up, what are you going to do? Well the simple answer is that you will show up. If we change the stakes slightly and you still only must show up not to get fired, but you also have a chance to earn some favor with the boss by performing well. You don't know what exactly your bonus will be, but you respect your boss and she says that it is certain to be worth your while. Why bother with just showing up? Why not see what the bonus is?!? 

What would you do? Show up or go for more? As a matter of fact, what Are you doing? Jesus gives you this offer. You show up, put your trust in Him and just keep trusting. No problem. You never get fired. But, on the flip side, He offers us eternal blessings based on what we do after we show up. 

Think of it like this: for survival we need shelter, food and water. So I could put up a tent by the river and eat whatever wanders my way and drink the scummy river water.  I would survive. But if I put in a little effort, I can have a house, nutritious food that will give me energy and vitality and treated drinking water without toxins and with fluoride so I can have healthy teeth. Which do you prefer? If you're reading this, my guess is that you have Internet so you don't live in a tent by the river ;) 
But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. (Jude 1:20, 21 NKJV) 

Truth is, neither answer is inherently wrong. But indecision is a decision in and of itself. God is clear about what he expects from us, but he also gives us a picture of what a "good and faithful servant" looks like; it's not the guy who just shows up! Each of us who is saved will have to account not for our sins-- that price has been paid, not by us, but through uncompromising love by our Savior Jesus,  but we will be judged by what did with the gifts we have been given. Jesus gives us a story about some servants who are given some money "mina" to invest while their master is away in order for us to better understand how we too will be judged according to how we invest...

Jesus Parable of the Ten Minas (or Talents)

While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once.  He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return.  So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’
  “But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’ “He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it.
 “The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’
 “‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’
 “The second came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned five more.’
 “His master answered, ‘You take charge of five cities.’
“Then another servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth.  I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.’
 “His master replied, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow?  Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’
 “Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.’
“‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has ten!’
 “He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what they have will be taken away. But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me.’” (Luke 19:11-27) 
There is no doubt in My Mind that God is fair and full of justice. The price for our sins HAD to be paid, that is why the Son came to receive the due payment. But also, because He is just, he will repay the Good we do when we get to Heaven. Either he will say "Well done good and faithful son/daughter" OR He will say "Take his away and give it to the one who already has 10". This is my choice and yours to make.

Refection Question: Are you storing up treasures in Heaven or are you wasting your talents?