"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14

Monday, May 16, 2016

Living to Hear "Well done!" (Sword of the Spirit, Part 3)

Imagine, for a minute, a man who applies for a job in a hardware store. On the application, he answers questions about his abilities and experiences. Once hired, he shows up at the workplace in the proper attire. He listens patiently to the instructions and job requirements.

On his first day of work, he wanders out onto the sales floor and essentially does nothing. He browses the aisles and chats with acquaintances as they pass through the store. Eventually, his boss asks him why he is ignoring his responsibilities. The new employee responds, "I didn't know you actually expected me to do those things! What matters is that I am an employee and have the benefits and insurance. That's good enough for me!"

Of course, that example is ridiculous. In most sectors that attitude would result in dismissal. Yet, we sometimes approach Christ's Kingdom with a similar attitude: "I signed up, prayed the prayer, got the certificate, and, my eternal life insurance. I show up for church and faithfully listen to my instructions week after week.  I didn't know I was actually expected to do those things!" I know this is uncomfortable truth. I have been there myself and I understand what a broad and easy road it can be. However, it is not the path we were meant to take.

"Since you call on a Father who judges each person's work impartially, live out your lives in reverent fear." I Peter 1:17

Jesus' teaching is peppered with action verbs: Take up your cross; follow me; go into all the world; teach; baptize; give; help; serve! To be clear, we are not talking about working to earn your salvation. Ephesians 2:8-10 states that we are saved by grace through faith (not works) so that we can walk in the good works God has prepared for each one of us. Such a great salvation demands an active response. As James 2:18 puts it, "I will show you my faith by what I do."

Armed with God's enduring word, the motivations of our lives is to hear God say "well done!" Jesus taught this principle in the parable of the talents (coins). Various amounts were given to several servants. To the one who invested his talents wisely, the Master said, "Well done! Come and share your master's happiness!" For the one who took the "safe" route and buried his talents, there was a harsher judgment. Matthew 25:14-21


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