Today at church, Pastor Joe Slater admonished us to be "all in" for the Gospel. He quoted the following among the evidence that we are called to do exactly that:
- "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me." Matthew 16:24
- "...unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." John 12:24
- "Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship." Romans 12:1
To quote German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer (whose life is worth studying if you're interested in this topic and want to be inspired), "When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die."
Almost every day I have at least one moment when I am consciously struck by how incredibly blessed I am. I see clearly (although perhaps less clearly than I will one day) how utterly this charmed life I lead is a gift. I have not earned what I have through my "talent," "hard work" or a history of making wise decisions. Neither is it the result of happy luck. Like my salvation, these breathtaking blessings I enjoy are a product of God's lavish grace.
How I strive to be one of unfaltering devotion to my Savior even were all that I had to be taken from me. (I haven't yet reached the point where I can be confident of that.) But in light of my present reality, at least, how could I do anything less than to go "all in" for whatever work God should choose to put on my desk?
Of those to whom much is given, much is required. And yet how often does my own laziness, my own love of comfort and pleasure, stand in the way of my being "all in?" I do believe that God wants His children to enjoy the blessings He bestows. But may my enjoyment of these gifts never become an opiate. Where there is a good work before me to do, may I never choose lounging on the couch watching a beloved, but mindless, t.v. show instead.
One of my deepest desires is to be "spent" for the good of the Kingdom of Christ. Of course I desire for myself and my family to be blessed with many long years of good health in which to love and enjoy one another. But I do pray that when I finally breathe my last, I will be as a zero balance, having spent all of the time, talent and treasure lavished upon me--everything He made and invested in me--in His service and for His glory.
Thanks for the reminder, Joe.