Monday, January 22, 2007

"Well Done!"

“Well done, thou good and faithful servant!” (Mat.. 25:21)
How I yearn to hear those words one day when I come face to face with God.

Acknowledging someone with a word of praise or appreciation is a gift we offer one another that makes us feel loved , accepted and validated. Though we thrive under the praise of man, his words are often undeserved or hypocritically given.
God’s praise will be pure and true and when we receive His praise it will stir our emotions as no earthly praise ever could.

Though we all long to earn God’s praise, I think most of us doubt we have anything worthy of praise to offer Him.
We compare our efforts to men and women who have accomplished great and wonderful things in God’s kingdom - people who have won countless souls to Christ, or have large successful ministries, or have written inspiring books or used their musical gifts or artistic abilities to bless thousands.
I used to feel envious of people who had such obvious gifts and talents with which they could so effectively serve God.
I lived a simple life , did ordinary things. How could I serve the Lord in a way that would cause Him to say , “Well done!”

Then, as I studied the scriptures, I began to realize that I had it all wrong… I was confusing the world’s standard with God’s standard and the two were very different. The world divides people into the haves and the have-nots, the gifted and the not-so-gifted, the intellectuals and the handicapped, the elite and the common. But in God’s Kingdom - God being no respecter of persons - every person has equal opportunity to please Him and to find themselves worthy of His praise.

What is it that God is looking for ?
We see in His-story is that God chooses ordinary people even for extraordinary tasks or purposes.
David , a little shepherd boy became King, Mary, an innocent maiden became the mother of Jesus, twelve uneducated fishermen became the disciples of Jesus, Gideon, a shy young man from an insignificant family was called to be the deliverer of his people. That God looks for the humble and the lowly is confirmed in I Corinthians 1:26 it says…”For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called…”

But not all of us can be kings or leaders , nor do most of us want to, so serving God in some prominent place is not the prerequisite to receiving His praise.
What God is looking for is simply our faith , our trust in Him. Heb. 11:6 tells us that without faith there is nothing man can do that will please God.

A quick look through scripture confirms to us that faith is what God is looking for.
Abraham is called the friend of God and the father of all who live by faith in God. Gal. 3:6,7 tells us Abraham was called righteous, not because of his deeds or accomplishments but because of his faith in God.

There is story told in Matt.15:21-28 of a Greek woman. She did not live by the laws and commandments of the Jewish people and being a heathen she was looked on with contempt by any self-respecting Jew.
But she had heard of Jesus, and was willing - at personal risk- to get close enough to Him to beg for the deliverance of her daughter.
She tried to get Jesus attention by crying out to Him. The disciples, who were disgusted with her, asked Jesus to send her away.
Jesus told the woman that He had not been sent to anyone other than the children of Israel, and seemed to insult her by saying the it was not proper to give the children’s bread to dogs.
The fact that Jesus implied that she was a ‘dog’ did not trouble her. She knew her place but her faith found a way, and she cried out that even dogs are allowed to eat the crumbs that fall from the table. Jesus , of course knowing her heart, exclaimed for all to hear “Woman , how great is your faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was made whole .
What pleased Jesus about this woman? Her unshakable trust in Him.

If you do a study of the miracles Jesus did in the lives of the people who came to Him, you will find not one instance where Jesus commended anyone on their status in life or accomplishments but rather rewards them for their faith in Him.

The faith chapter , Hebrews 11, lists people who found God’s praise…. all of them because of their faith.

God is totally self-sufficient… to Him belongs all power…His are the cattle on a thousand hills… all the silver and gold are His… He has riches in glory we cannot fathom…He created the universe and holds it in His hand. What gain is it to God if we return to Him what He gave us? Our life, our strength , our abilities, our possessions and resources are all gifts from Him. What on earth can we give Him that He does not already own ? What can we do that He could not do better Himself ?
Nothing !! Except for the one thing that God values more than gold but cannot have - unless we give it to Him…. Our trust !

Do you trust Him?

1 comment:

Demara said...

Thank-you for this simple reminder that Faith in Him is the greatest gift we could give God!!! (I'm writing this with tears in my eyes because of the physical pain I feel and am asking God "what are you trying to teach me at this job? I feel like I'm burnt out already! What is keeping me going there? My arms gave out on me, my wrists gave out on me, I almost fell over and I almost had a car accident (my eye disease makes it extremely difficult to see in the rain and darkness when driving home), but I have still found some strength somewhere to go back who knows for how long though?") To end this post with that question is so profound, it seems so easy to trust Him, I mean He's God right? Who wouldn't want to trust Him?!!! and Then I think, it so hard to see Him sometimes and that makes it extremely difficult to forget about trusting Him. Anyhow look at me here I am babbleling on...sorry~