Saturday, August 13, 2005

The consequence of obedience

I’ve heard it a thousand times. A man reaps what he sows. Paul’s statement in Galatians does not go unnoticed.
Galatians 6:7-9 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
We know exactly how this is to be applied too! Those unbelievers who walk in the flesh will reap judgment from God. Our God is not mocked; the disobedient will get what is coming to them.

Too often though, we overlook the other part. Those who sow to the Spirit will reap life everlasting. There is a consequence for those who seek after Godliness—for those who obey Christ’s commands. What did Christ say to the disciples in Mark 10 when they asked about themselves?
Mark 10:28-31 Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.
I’m pretty sure this doesn’t mean what the modern “name it claim it” types want it to mean. You probably will not get a hundred dollar return on every dollar you give to a charity. No, I think Christ is saying that the things you do have will be more enjoyable, and you will actually get to enjoy them!

I wonder if anyone else has ever noticed that when you are faithful in tithing and giving that you don’t spend much time worrying about money anymore. It isn’t that you have a ten fold increase in your income, or that you win the lottery, or some other “miracle” occurrence, but there seems to be enough to pay the bills still. Kind of like the widow of Sidon that gave Elijah to eat of her last bit of oil and meal; she never abounded in food, never had a huge nest egg stored up, but she had food for many days. And you know what, the things you buy with your money seem to be more enjoyable as well. God delights in providing for his people as they obey his command.

Ecclesiastes 5:12 tells us that “Sweet is the sleep of a laborer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep.” We often fail to realize that a calm and restful night’s sleep is as much a gift of God as great riches. And, I would almost say a better gift! What good are millions of dollars if my entire life is then consumed with worry about how to preserve my fortune? No, those who obey Christ may not be reward in ways everyone can see, but they are rewarded—and oh is the reward sweet!

The problem people have with this is that the cost is high initially. We live in a culture that wants it now, or they don’t want it at all. Even in business, people are always looking for the “low hanging fruit.” It is a common saying, but “nothing worth doing is ever easy.” There is a lot of discipline involved in putting the old man to death. People who believe this is an easy task have obviously never really tried. What I want to suggest here though is that the reward for doing this is very great. Those who give liberally to the church are probably going to worry less about money. Those who respect God’s law about sex outside of marriage are probably going to have a more fulfilling marriage. Those who don’t steal to make money will enjoy that nice steak dinner with a guilt free conscience. Those who aren’t always coveting their neighbors’ possessions will be more content with what they have. Of course, all these require first submitting yourself to the law of God, and acknowledging that his way is best—not the instant gratification way.
Malachi 3:10
Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
That there may be food in My house,
And try Me now in this,”
Says the LORD of hosts,

“If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing
That there will not be room enough to receive it.

Just don’t look for the blessing in the lottery ticket; look for it in something with a bit more real value!


At 10:04 PM, Blogger Matt Powell said...

Good post. Check out Proverbs 3:9-10 for some more great Biblical support for your thoughts here.


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