Using Your Faith to Access the Grace for Your Assignment
Something unique happened while my family and I were vacationing at our North Carolina lake house for a few weeks. This was my parents’ happy place, the final home that they built after 35 years of developing land in the Smokey Mountains. After my sisters and I inherited it, we turned it into a vacation rental house. As the son of the builder, much of the maintenance falls to me. I was refinishing the dock for the first week of our vacation. While I was doing the most boring and mundane task of sanding the wood all day long, the Lord started speaking to me very clearly. It is amazing how God can slow us down to listen when we need to hear.
The Lord kept speaking to me over and over, that this life on earth is simply a rehearsal of the real life to come: the eternal life, where life really begins. When you consider our 120 years at best on earth in this lifetime compared to our eternal, never ending life, this life is as the Scripture says: a vapor. But the amazing truth is this: how we live this life will determine how we will spend the real, eternal life. I was continuously prompted that doing even this mundane task required my utmost attention to excellence.
How Are You Preparing for His Return?
In Matthew 24, Jesus prophesied the destruction of the Temple, and later His disciples asked Him when this will happen and what would be the signs of His coming at the end of the age. I noticed that after Jesus answered their questions, He immediately shifted to the more important subject: how are you spending your time now in preparation for His return?
Matthew 24:45-47, NIV says, “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.”
Then in Matthew 25, Jesus went on to speak the parable of the ten wise virgins and the ten foolish virgins. The wise virgins’ lamps were full of fresh oil, but the foolish virgins let their oil run out and had to leave to buy more and ended up missing the wedding.
He then told the parable of the man who gave his servants five, two, and one talents to invest before departing on a journey. The NIV identifies the talents as bags of gold. Of course there was a reward for acting wisely with excellence for two servants and punishment for the fearful, wicked, and lazy servant. What a difference between hearing, “Well done, good and faithful servant, you have been faithful over a little, I will make you ruler over much” and having your one unused talent taken away with judgment following.
Jesus then followed up with the parable of the sheep and the goats. The sheep cared for others who had needs, and Jesus told them that their master, the King, would tell them that when they did these good deeds for the least among them, it was the same as if they had done them for Him. The goats did nothing out of compassion and care, and you pretty much know of their eternal demise.
It is so important for those of us in the ministry to focus on doing what the Lord has called us to do, knowing that our eternal reward hinges on how well we complete our assignment. This should not be with a works mentality that is somehow attempting to gain the grace and favor of God out of performance. It is a matter of faithfulness to the assignment in order to bring glory and honor our King, the Lord Jesus.
We Exercise Faith… but It All Really Depends on God’s Grace!
I am convinced that the Scriptures that speak of eternal reward are talking about responsibility. When God makes the “new Heaven and a new earth,” I believe that He will want to populate the entire universe with His family that He so delights in. I believe that we will have eternal responsibilities. Maybe your reward for faithful service to the King while on earth will be to rule and reign over an entire planet. You don’t know that it won’t be. The Bible is silent on some things that await us in the eternal future. But I can guarantee that it will be good and exciting, and forever and ever.
Many ministry organizations will lay out a pathway of success for a new minister. They say, “Gain this education,” “Earn these degrees,” “Do all of these responsible things,” “Work your way up the ladder,” and you will become a success. The problem with this standard pattern is that the successful person comes to believe that they accomplished everything themselves.
The Bible way is what we find in Romans 5:1-2, which says, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand” (NIV).
There’s Grace for Every Day’s Assignment
You see, we are considered faithful when we strive to gain the faith necessary to access the grace that we need for every day’s assignment along the way of our life-long destiny. We are covenant partners with our Heavenly Father on this journey as we diligently pursue understanding His promises, gaining faith in His word, and using that faith to access His grace and dominion in life. We learn how to be faithful, and we also know it all really depends on His grace, for which He deserves all the glory.
As we drove back home after our vacation through the little country towns, we passed a very small, old church, which simply said on the sign, “Full Gospel Church.” I thought to myself, “Thank God for a minister who is being faithful to their assignment to a small group in the middle of nowhere.”
What reward awaits this faithful servant? The same as for any one of us who has been faithful to our assignment: hearing Jesus say, “Well done, good and faithful servant, you have been faithful over a little, I will make you ruler over much.”
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