“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:13-14 NKJV
“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
II Timothy 4:6-8 NKJV
When I first came into the faith, I was excited by the reality that my home would be in Heaven. In the beginning I was comfortable, even complacent, as I eagerly came to church, and did all the things a good Christian should do. I was among the chosen frozen, living day to day, giving the bare essentials of the faith, but not really pouring out my life.
Over time, I began to serve the Lord, giving of my time and effort. I have to admit that I was not real selective about what I did, and I am sure that my efforts were haphazard at best. I served out of obligation, as if fulfilling a role. There was little heart in what I did.
The more I grew in the faith, the more my offering to the Lord became more meaningful. I began to focus on the quality of what I did for the Lord. I remember one night ion particular when I was to present a talk at the Fort Des Moines Correctional Facility. I had not used my time wisely during the week and I was not prepared come the Thursday evening. I managed to download a premed lesson on some topic that might be relevant to my audience of imprisoned men.
I remember getting ready to begin, and for a moment, I could not speak. I opened my mouth, but no words came out. I looked down at may sheets of paper. Turned them over and began to speak on a topic from my heart, and flipping to pertinent Scriptures on the fly, as the Lord had laid an outline on my heart. From that moment on, I made it a point to speak from my heart as guided by the Holy Spirit.
My teaching became richer, more Spirit filled, and the men actually got something out of it. More importantly, God had refined my heart and matured me, instructing me on the offering I should bring to Him.
The refinements of illness and struggle have further added richness to my offerings to the Lord as I value each thing that I do, making sure that it is my best sacrifice. Like Paul in his letter to Timothy, I too feel as though I am being poured out.
I desire my efforts to be worthy of the prize in Christ Jesus. These days, it is an effort to serve the Lord and there is little I can do actively. God has given me strong desire to pray for the saints, and use the gift of encouragement through writing. I go about those few things I can do with tremendous passion.
Brothers and sisters, know this: there is a reward awaiting those who give their greatest effort for the world of the Lord. If you are one who chooses to sit and listen in church , but there is no desire to serve, you are missing out on the blessing. We have been given a race of faith, with certain reward at the end.
For those who press on to the tape and finish well, there is a crown awaiting. In eternity, will not spend our time sitting around in heavenly raiment, but we will be occupied. Some of us will be working in the temple in Heaven, and others of us will rule and reign with Christ.
I think of the parable of the talents. God has given each follower of Jesus a gift and an opportunity to use it. Our efforts to multiply that talent will be multiplied further in our responsibilities in the time to come. Those who sit on their talent, never making an effort to use it will find themselves facing the Lord Jesus at the Bema seat with nothing to show.
““So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ His Lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord.’ He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ His Lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord.’”
Matthew 25:20-23 NKJV
May we have a desire to serve the Lord and give Him all that He deserves. The coming days will be difficult. It is not a maybe, but a certainty. It is just a matter of when. Let us seek the Lord to refine us n ow, while it is light, for darkness is coming. Let us not decide that we will press on and finish the race.
““And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write, ‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life: “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
Revelation 2:8-10 NKJV
Sleep well, my people! Dusk is coming upon us, but dawn will arrive and the Son will rise!