I never cease to be amazed at how quickly life passes. It seems that before you know it you have moved to the next phase of life as the clock keeps on ticking. One of the challenges from Jesus is to make a difference for Jesus. Yet, I would ask how many of us will regret allowing ourselves to be distracted with things that just don’t matter?
The Lord used Acts 13:36 as one of several verses to encourage us to step out in faith in planting a church. Let’s be honest, the odds are against planting a church. One evangelical denomination that plants a lot of churches has estimated that one 1 in 5 church plants succeed. Let’s look at this another way, that means that 80% do not make it. The Lord used the statement about King David to challenge me. It reads, “For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption,” (Acts 13:36) I am sure for most, this verse is just a passing statement when reading their Bible. It hit me like a ton of bricks. Last summer, in our study of 2 Samuel, we spent a lot of time on King David. While he is most well know for his failures, the Lord used Him in a mighty way to transform the nation of Israel. This verse in the context of Acts is focusing on David’s humanity as a contrast with Jesus. Yet, the emphasis on David temporal life on earth, called me to live a life that made a difference. The simple truth is that God has a purpose for each of His followers. The question is, “Will I take advantage of that opportunity?” This was one of the verses that the Lord used to encourage me to set out in faith. Now, looking back 19 years I am so glad that I did.
But our great steps of faith in the past can be over-shadowed by our lack of faith today. This week in our new Celebrate Summer series, we are in 1 Corinthians (You can listen here). I was reminded in chapter 3 of the importance of our continuous ministry for Jesus. Let’s focus on three insights from this section, first “How I Invest my Resources will be evaluated!” Paul reminds us, “each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.” (1 Corinthians 3:13) This evaluation by Jesus is not focused on getting into heaven, but our faithfulness in investing in God’s word in our generation. Second, Paul continues, “If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward.” (1 Corinthians 3:14) I want you to know that there will be a reward for faithfulness. We see the same truth in Jesus parable to the talents. Now the Bibles does not describe these rewards, but I am sure the Creator of heaven and earth knows how to give great gifts. And let me add, these rewards will distinguish the faithful from those that squandered the lives. And that brings us to the third insight, “If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.” (1 Corinthians 3:15) It is a reminder that when I live for myself, I will suffer loss of rewards.
The church in Corinth was allowing culture to shape their practices as Christians. It caused them to be blinded that Jesus had saved them. I frequently fall into the same trap. It is then that I need to ask myself, “What will I say to Jesus on that Day?”
-Pastor Joe Parkinson