August 16, 2011

Burden or Blessing? Bitterness or Joy?

It's really easy to overlook the blessing in our daily work if there is bitterness rooted deep in the heart. All burdens are responsibilities, some are lighter and some might be significantly more stressful, but how we view those "burdens" can result in joy or bitterness.

Read Matthew 25:14-30 where Jesus gives the Parable of the Talents as a way to describe what the Kingdom of Heaven is like.

(Did you read it or skip it?) The master entrusted three of his slaves with his possessions. Two of whom did some leg work, acted with wisdom, counted the risk and made a profit for their master. Hear what the master says to each of these two trustworthy, hardworking slaves upon the report of their success, "Well done, good and faithful slave."

Do you labor hard to please our God in heaven for His glory?
Don't you want to hear Him look you in the eye, with His arms wrapped around you, and say these words to YOU?!

Of course!

Then you know that all these hard days here on earth in the presence of sin,

striving day after day in the war between our born-again spirit & sinful flesh,

losing sleep,

being a good steward,

submitting to your husband,

constantly disciplining disobedience,

faithfully raising your children to fear God,

worshiping Him in your home and with the Church,

ministering to the sick & poor,

showing hospitality to our neighbors,

and tithing from our abundance & our need,

that after all this and our short lives are over

and FINALLY we see our Savior, Jesus Christ, meet us on the other side of the dark chasm of death to embrace us in the light of His glory and tell us that it was all worth it and He is satisfied with the offering of our lives!

Oh, what a moment!

(Relish in that glorious thought for a minute!)

Now notice something else the master says, "You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master." As a result of managing the small things well, He puts us in charge of much more. We are given more responsibilities. If we consider those additional responsibilities as a stressful inconvenience, then it is likely for our hearts to become bitter as a reflection of selfishness.

But before this might have a chance to embitter your heart, read the last phrase again. "Enter into the joy of your master." As the master gives you more responsibilities you become closer to the master. It's like a business corporation. The lowest guy on the totem pole doesn't speak much with the big wigs. But as he proves himself in the most menial of jobs and earns a promotion, his position is now closer to the big wigs.

You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.
Psalm 16:11

For You make him most blessed forever;
You make him joyful with gladness in Your presence.
Psalm 21:6

Many of us have a lot on our plates and I can probably guess that most of us could always use a vacation or dream of retirement. But as I remind myself and encourage y'all not to view our stewardship as an inconvenience, but as a blessing. God will give us more than we can handle so that we are constantly looking to Him for His grace all-sufficient. If we've got everything under control we would have no need to look to God for anything. We could manage on our own. The more we look to Him, the more we pray in the presence of God's glorious throne room, the more fullness of joy we can experience. Let us not be lazy and wicked, but let us labor hard to seek after God and His grace by which we may glorify Him in all that is on our plate.

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