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In this life when we invest in family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers we may occasionally question the fruit it yields from a selfish standpoint. If we’re being honest, there come moments where we might wonder: Is this what I should be doing with my time? I often spend more time working on myself than on other people, but I need to learn to be more selfless. I can give you a wall of excuses: I am an only child, I am cultivating my personal areas of gifting to help others, etc… but I won’t delve deeply into the excuses here. What I want to capture here is in regard of eternity, our life has been designed by God not to be saved, but rather to be spent. [Concept Credit: Joe Martin]. As much as we tend to protect ourselves, which is fantastic by the way in regard to vigilance, safety, and common-sense security measures – there comes a point where we need to step out of the boat in faith. We need to take calculated risks as the Holy Spirit leads us to move.
Those investments that you make in your loved ones are special, but the ones you make in people who can’t give or love back in return, those are the ones that are more highly regarded in the scope of eternal rewards. Those are the ones that Matthew 5:46-48 indicates carries particularly significant rewards.
46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Matthew 5:46-48 (NKJV).
In Matthew 16:25-27, we observe this concept with crystal clear clarity, in regard to every measure of sacrifice. Any of us who desires to sustain their lives, will lose their lives, but those of us who lose it for the sake of Jesus Christ will find it. It’s counter-intuitive, the Gospel is not politically correct or designed to appease our eardrums, and it’s designed to challenge us in truth, love, and boldness.
25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.
Matthew 16:25-27 (NKJV).
Let’s examine that question posed right after as well, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” We can clearly see that material wealth has a very limited capacity here on earth, and the real treasures are being stored where they last for eternity. Clearly I am not saying there’s no place for money, management, stewardship, or making money for the glory of God. We simply cannot love money, or allow it to master us, because God is our ultimate Master. Likewise we need to come to the recognition that being saved by grace, through faith, in Christ is our ultimate position of security and strength. It is from this standpoint that every eternally valuable decision we can make is extended in confidence through the One who bore the cost on our behalf. If he bore the ultimate cost on our behalf, who are we to withhold our generosity from others? Not only in financial giving, but also of our time, love, joy, and forgiveness to name a few examples among other opportunities to give.
Then it is evident in the text that we will be rewarded according to our works. In other words instead of being judged on the basis of how we fell, sinned, and stumbled; we’re judged on the basis of what we did right! Of course if you’re caught up in a lifestyle of sin after having been saved, you’re forfeiting the opportunity for eternal reward, because in those cases there is an opportunity cost involved that you are relinquishing for the sake of temporal lusts rather than eternal treasures. A sobering thought indeed, and one that I am most certainly not exempt from carefully contemplating, in order to avoid such indiscretions in the future as the Holy Spirit leads me to avert. The time that you spend sinning, could be time invested in doing work for the Lord. What’s been done is irreversible, but the blood of Jesus Christ has redeemed it. We shouldn’t dwell too much on what has already been done, especially not what has already been forgiven in the name of Jesus Christ our Savior! Don’t let the accuser of the brethren (the devil and his demons), allow you to dwell on guilt, self-pity, or condemnation over the past. It’s clear that there is now therefore no condemnation to those who are in Jesus Christ, we need to walk in the Holy Spirit and avoid pandering to the desires of our flesh.
8 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
Romans 8:1 (NKJV).
We are commanded, as believers, to do everything as if we were doing it unto the glory of God with all our hearts. Not as if we were doing it for man, even if we are employed by man, but as if it were unto the Lord.
23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,
Colossians 3:23 (NKJV).
Don’t allow anyone to look down on what you do, but rather embrace the life station, position, and calling God has put in your heart. What you’re doing right now may not be your ultimate destination, but if God has you there right now, there’s a reason why you’re there. It may be a season where your employment opportunities aren’t where you’d like, and you had to set aside your pride, in order to accept a position that you are over-qualified for. It may be a place where God wants to see you faithful with a taste of your destiny, to see if you are ready for the next piece of the puzzle. He has entrusted us with what He knows we are prepared to handle, but we need to show Him with our actions that we desire Him above everything else in this world. When you and I are ready, He will be faithful to help us answer His call in every way He desires us to. If He put a big dream in your heart, don’t abandon it out of fear that you don’t have the provisions to execute that dream right now, patiently wait on the Lord where you are. Not only do we want to wait, we want to proactively act in faith as though that dream is going to come to pass if God wills it to.
So for my case, I desire to be an author for God. I don’t just sit back and hope someone of influence finds me, and somehow finds it in themselves to carry me on their shoulders. I serve the King of Kings, He knows me intimately, and He gave me my gifting for a reason, a time, and a specific season. It’s possible that I may be 50% or even 75% ready for my calling, but maybe He still needs to fix that 25% of me that isn’t prepared. I need to patiently and persistently continue to pursue what He has called me to do, but I don’t want to sit back passively. I prayerfully seek His face, and I desire for my desires to align with His will for me. If my desires are selfish, I want them to be replaced by His infinitely superior desires for me. My view is finite; His view is infinite and transcendent. He is timeless, unchangeable, immutable, sovereign, unfathomable, gracious, loving, just, majestic, beautiful, awesome, infinite, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, and holy [set apart, above our ways or capacity to understand His ways]. How can I not trust God for the temporal, when I trust Him for the eternal? How can I trust the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? The God who has my best interests at heart, and works things out for my good in the context of eternity, because I love Him and I am among called according to His purpose! How joyful should that make me feel? What an indescribable privilege!
I think it’s human nature to want to know more of the puzzle, but we need to surrender to God our desire to know too much of His plan. When we do that we can experience more peace, because our mind is stayed on Him. He blesses us with peace as we let go, and trust Him with what the future holds for us. Live for Him one day at a time, and enjoy the journey, don’t overly focus on the destination you have in mind.
3 You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.
Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV).
There’s a beauty in simply not knowing what’s to come. A beauty in surrendering that to God, and trusting throughout the elation and all the tragedy that can happen, God is still in absolute control. Of course everything in between those two points, which I would venture to say might be the bulk of what we experience in this life, He is also sovereign.
So what does this have to do with a reverse mortgage?
In a reverse mortgage, the owner typically signs some sort of contractual obligation, as to where the equity in his home serves to pay for the home, until he/she departs from this earth. If you view yourself as having personal equity, in the sense that you carry about yourself value as byproduct of being a human being, it means you can make positive contributions to society. We all have it, and we may have different measures of faith, but not any of us is more important or less important than someone else in God’s kingdom from the lens of the human vantage point. We should not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought.
3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
Romans 12:3 (NKJV).
Only God has authority to judge such measures, and He tells us this in His Word, the most important in His kingdom is the one who is last of all and servant of all.
“35 And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” 36 Then He took a little child and set him in the midst of them. And when He had taken him in His arms, He said to them, 37 “Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me.”
Mark 9:35 (NKJV).
We don’t have to be concerned with the measurement, all we need to know is in the body of Christ, all of us serve a vital function. When you fulfill your God-given calling, and you are consistently investing in people, you have signed a reverse mortgage that pays dividends for eternity. You give of your time, energy, resources, and effort – but you feel more satisfied. You continue to earn, produce, and love as God leads you by His Holy Spirit in you to do so. You expend everything but lack nothing. The more you invest, the more full you feel and are. The measures this world might perceive counter-intuitive, make perfect sense when you serve the Lord of Lords. In this world we were all designed to worship something, and many people unfortunately choose to worship themselves. For those of us who choose to submit to God, and worship Him in Spirit and in truth, we still stumble from time to time. We need to consistently clean out the idols in our lives, so we come back full circle to the excerpt from Matthew 16:25-27:
“For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it”
Your life is fleeting whether you submit to God or not. It’s a vapor, and you are His property whether you want to take part in His plans or not. Are we willing to give up all of our desires, to step into His ultimate plans for us? The plans that don’t promise any particular set of riches or lack thereof on this earth, but do promise eternal life, peace, and lasting satisfaction in Jesus Christ. Can we lose our lives here for Jesus Christ, to find life where it matters eternally? No, this isn’t a suggestion to jump out your window or incur reckless behavior in your life. Life is a precious gift, and every 86,400 seconds of every day, are a gift of God to be embraced by His grace for His glory to do what He guides us to do.
How will you act on His prompting in your heart to day to walk circumspectly, and redeem His time?
15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
Ephesians 5:15-17 (NKJV).
Our lives are all heading towards death; we are all dying one second at a time from the moment we’re born. Are you prepared to enter eternity? If you’re not a believer, you need to take an urgent look at what God tells us in His Word. Not from a standpoint of pride, but humility. God gives grace to the humble, but He resists the proud. Humble yourself before God today, and seek Him with a contrite, sincere heart. He will honor that, and He will show you what you need to see. Seek Him with your whole heart, and most certainly you will find Him.
6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:
“God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”
James 4:6 (NKJV).
“13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”
Jeremiah 29:13 (NKJV).
For believers, let’s consider this a personal challenge. As God would so compel us, let’s actively fight the good fight of faith. In full knowledge that any temporal sacrifice we make on this earth, no matter how small or how big, adds up to our eternal investment portfolio. Let’s not receive the gift, keep it to ourselves, and miss out on all the beautiful blessings He has in store for us. We don’t want to barely squeeze into Heaven without sharing the gift of eternal life! I don’t want to be just a thinker of the Word, speaker of the Word, or even a writer of the Word. I want to be a doer of the Word, and I pray that God continues to give me the divine appointments, and situations where I can be His hands and feet here on earth. Join me in answering His call; you’ll never regret anything you surrender to the King of Kings.
“21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror;24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. 26 If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. 27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”
James 1:20-27 (NKJV).
I don’t know about you, but I can only speak for myself when I say, I don’t recall the last time I visited an orphan or a widow. Something to think about is: I am confident none of us want to die with untapped potential in our equity bank. Whether you want to think of equity as your personal life, finances, energy, or a combination of it all – remember it’s all a gift from God. Let’s seek creative ways to use them to bring Him all the honor, glory, delight, and acknowledgment we know He deserves. He deserves infinitely more than we could ever give Him, but that’s no excuse not to give Him what we can give.
Let’s leave this life with or equity tapped out, our reverse mortgage fully depleted, and all of it fully invested in loving God and loving people the way He designed it. Fear God and obey His commandments, this is man’s all. Obey Him, and seek Him first in everything you do. You can never go wrong, and you can go “all-in” on that, with no fear of loss.