Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Turning the World on Its Head

"The Kingdom of Heaven is like..."
Six times in a row, in Matthew, Jesus utters these words. He tells us that the Kingdom of Heaven is like...
  • A field of wheat mixed with weeds, both growing freely and untouched until the appropriate time, when finally the weeds will be uprooted and thrown away while the wheat is harvested and saved.
  • A mustard seed, the smallest of all seeds, which grows to become the mightiest of trees.
  • A tiny amount of yeast added to an abundance of flour, which permeates every bit of the dough.
  • A treasure hidden in a field, which a man discovers and hastens to sell everything he owns in order to buy.
  • A merchant who finds a choice pearl and sells all he owns to buy it.
  • A fishing net which is cast out and retrieved to produce both good fish and bad and is sorted through, keeping the "good" and discarding the "bad".
That is the way it will be at the end of the world. The angels will come and separate the wicked people from the righteous, throwing the wicked into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 13:49-50
And what distinguishes the "wicked" from the "righteous"?
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
Purely the grace of God and your choice to follow Him. Nothing else. Only this will save you.

And what's more than this-- not only will our worldly strivings not save us, but they will also only minimize our blessing in the Kingdom of Heaven. For Jesus tells us...
So those who are last will be first then, and those who are first will be last. Matthew 20:16
And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life. But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then." Matthew 19:29-30
Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many. Mark 10:43-45
The world tells us that heaven will be full of people who are "good"/ Jesus tells us that it will be full of people who are righteous, covered by the blood of the Lamb.

The world tells us that heaven must be earned/ Jesus tells us that it is a free gift from a doting Father to his precious children.

The world tells us that we must pursue God and seek after Him. Jesus tells us that He has come looking for us, He has found us, He has pursued us with a lover's passion, and He has paid the greatest price to have us at his side.

The world tells us that we must make a name for ourselves, we must establish ourselves, personally and professionally, we must make ourselves worthy of the world's praise/ Jesus tells us that we must instead make his name famous, establish His Word in the hearts of the lost, become invisible ourselves to the world, functioning purely as a reflector of light, reflecting Jesus to the world, that they might see only Jesus when they look our way. May we disappear to the world, that Jesus might shine through. And when we do, we can know that a glorious reward beyond anything we can imagine will be waiting for us, a reward not for our benefit or enjoyment, but the means with which we will have anything to lay at our savior's feet in worship.

I pray this week that your eyes are fixed on Jesus, your hearts are fitting homes for the King of Kings, and your lives are a reflector for His glory, nothing more.

Jesus came to turn this world upside down. How will you turn your world upside down this week, and for the rest of your days?

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