May 22, 2022
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE REFERENCE:
“In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day He was taken up to Heaven. This He did after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles [formerly disciples] He had chosen.” (Acts 1. 1-2)
“We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him; those who have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8.28)
On Friday, I spoke to the point of making the most out of the time that has been given us, by God, for none of us know the “day nor the hour” of His return. Each day, logically, is a day closer to that life-changing, world-shattering and heaven help us moment. The New Testament writers spoke of Jesus’ return as an event in the clouds. I am sure that each of us has looked at a sunrise or a sunset with that very thought in mind. The question is asked in our pondering and wondering “Will it look like that when Jesus comes in the clouds?” You know what I am referring to: shining rays of light emanating from the sun as they are bent by the atmosphere, brilliant fiery colors and a single focus of penetrating light that causes you look intently and stop breathing for just a moment. Will it come at the end or the start of the day like that? Or will it come as the prophetic “thief in the night” with something akin to “Independence Day” alien spacecraft penetrating the atmosphere creating their own cloud cover? How many people just marvel at the sight and never consider the meaning? How many who know the scripture reference marvel at the sight and consider the consequence?
What consequence? The one that comes with how we have used our time up to the point when Jesus returns. Luke reflects on such a time with the Parable of the Pounds. When the Master of the property entrusted to three servants returns from a far land to take an accounting of their assigned work, there is a consequence. So many preachers, teachers and “gospel sideline aficianados” present that lesson as merely a “here and now, in the moment” teaching. But, I believe there is another “time” element included in that parable which points to the future return of Jesus. By the gifting of His Holy Spirit promised to all disciples we each are blessed according to our capability to administer a part of the Master’s “Kingdom of God” on earth. That “KoG” is, for me, the Church. Even, as Isaiah declared, “A little child shall lead them,” the youngest to the oldest have a purpose in building up the body of Christ to its fullest maturity. We all are fond of the servants invested with ten and five portions respectively. We are relieved to know that no one receives less than one. In truth, many may hope that they are only accountable for one portion believing that is all they are capable of and having it confirmed by the Master’s bestowal. But, we all should be aware of the consequences. It may sound promising for “those who have, more will be given.” It is eye-opening to see that “what was had but not used will be taken away.” Are we not aware that the loss of the blessing was also that loss of life’s fullest opportunity? There is an eternal consequence for failure to honor with purpose the blessing of life given to us. To merely honor ourselves is akin to cursing God. To dishonor God is to curse ourselves. Our intention and purpose as disciples of Jesus the Christ is to honor God. My question in reflection is this: “What are we doing to honor God with the gifts, talents and blessings bestowed on us?”
As we move closer to reflecting upon and remembering the “when” of Pentecost on the day of Pentecost 2022, I would make these connections for our spiritual accountability:
- Pentecost Sunday is fourteen days from today, June 5. That means we are, in the story of Luke’s resurrection encounters, just four days from when Jesus ascended to sit again at the right hand of God. He sojourned with the disciples for forty days. Pentecost, the Feast of First Fruits was fifty days after Passover.
- As we move in our reflection through this “fifty day” season of preparation, we can imagine ourselves with the disciples who still were in the presence of the resurrected Jesus. He was not gone. He was not “returning.” He was with them, Immanuel in the flesh. He dwelt among them as He had in the three years prior. Let us consider as well for ourselves that Jesus is “with us.” He is still and will always be Immanuel. If He is “with us” then He is not against us. He is showing us still how to make the most of our lives in accordance with His Word and the testimony of His life- the living out of the Word.
- His departure is inevitable in ascension. But, His promise is secure in His promise of abiding presence. He said “If I go away, then I will return.” The Holy Spirit is His abiding presence with us to the close of the age; the Age of the Church. At the close of the Age, we will be with Him where He is now. He is in the fullness of God’s presence in the Kingdom of Heaven. He will bring with Him a new Heaven and a new Earth in a new Jerusalem.
- But, when He returns there will be an accounting of those on whom the blessing of the gospel has been poured out. His hope is that we will all have acted in accordance with the blessing He believed in us and on us for. Some may have a great volume of blessing. Some may have a little less. Some may have one. But, according to His word, even those who were entrusted in the last hour would receive the same blessing as those who were entrusted at the start of the day of the Lord- the beginning of the age. It is not about how much we have done in comparison to others that matters. It is not how much we had to do the work with in comparison to others. What matters is the fairness of the Judge of judges, King of kings, Lord of lords on whose shoulder the governance of humanity rests. He knows perfectly what was the intent of our heart. He knows perfectly what was the productivity of our lives. He know perfectly the consequence of our decision. His never changes.
- But, ours still can. We still have time to make the most of our lives. We still have the promise of “I AM with you.” We can make the turn around, the act of repentance, and give our best to the Master for the sake of the Master. We know our intent. We know our productivity. We, too, know the consequences. There is only Heaven or Hell. There will be no inbetween. Mighty ones of God, here this in this moment of reflection. Those who believe that this world will always be here for them and their legacy are wrong. One day all of this will pass away. There will be a new day and a new Jerusalem and there will be Hell. Both will be inescapable. The day will come when one will not be desirable. We cannot simply bury our lives in the dirt so that it will not be lost. It must be surrendered now in this time which has been given to us to do God’s will on earth as we will do His will in Heaven.
TODAY’S PRAYER: Father God, You have favored us with good news to broadcast in word and deed into all the world. You have made it possible for us to accomplish that which You have given. We believe that You will not put more on us that we are able to do. Nothing shall be impossible for us as we commit ourselves to priority number one! We believe; help us in our unbelief. Pour out Your blessing on those whom we will broadcast good news of a great joy. Put Your protection over their lives and keep them safe from eternal harm. Let us be strong in the face of evil and evil doers and let us not enter into the consideration of temptation which tells us we can be lukewarm. We ask this in the name of Jesus our Lord who was and is and will always be our Savior and our Friend. AMEN.