September 2

Matthew 19-20, Psalm 90

We have a tendency to evaluate things from our earthly level and think we have it all figured out. It's easy to think that a Billy Graham will have a front row seat in heaven, while the unknown behind the scenes person will enjoy the back row. But our ways are not God's ways. I mentioned once before, when crying at the bedside of my mother, who had just died, a woman who I never saw again, lovingly prayed over me and changed the course of my life forever to seek Christ. I believe she might have either been housekeeping or a nurse's aide, I don't know. I wonder if she was able to reach my mother before she breathed her last. I also wonder how many others she reached quietly and unassumingly behind closed doors for God's kingdom. About 6 years ago in the hospital I befriended one of the housekeepers on the Same Day Surgery unit. Interestingly, we just sensed that we both loved God and started a conversation. Every day, at work you could see Wellington's eyes scanning the room. When I asked him about it , he simply said he knew there were opportunities to tell others about Jesus all over the room, he just didn't want to miss those opportunities. Now retired, his children laugh, because they can't get through a walk in the park, shopping at Home Depot, eating at a fast food place without being delayed by his evangelistic efforts. 

We read the story in Matthew 20:20-28, about John and James seeking exalted places in Jesus' kingdom. In Matthew's book it seems like the request simply came from their mother. But in Mark 10:35-37 we read, the apostles themselves asked, "Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left hand, in Your glory." (Mark 10:37). Jesus answers their question with servanthood. In Matthew 20:26, Jesus says, "...but whoever desires to be great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave-just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." We see another great teaching by Jesus on this in John 13, when He washes His disciples feet. In John 13:14-17, Jesus says, "If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them."

Many ministries falsely preach that if you give to their church abundantly you will be blessed with earthly rewards. This prosperity gospel teaching destroys the faith of many. We who are servants of the Most High do what we do , not for earthly gain, but to glorify God while on this earth and one day get to share in His Glory in heaven. Some will spend their whole lives in service, others may come along late in their earthly life. But we notice in Jesus' Parable in Matthew 20:1-16, He doesn't distinguish between early and late comers. While on earth let's remember Jesus' words in Matthew 5:16, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." If we keep this perspective there is nothing to fear, as Paul says in Philippians 1:21, "For to me , to live is Christ, and to die is gain." All we should ever want to strive for is not earthly recognition but to hear Jesus one day say to us, "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." (Matthew 25:21). So, may we never diminish what God has called us to do in this world. Do it with joy and diligence and you will be honoring God.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster