8 The Lord is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and rich in love. (Psalm 145:8 NIV)
What does it mean to be “rich in love”? We are given the prescription; Gracious, Compassionate and Slow to Anger.
We know God is this way, but it is a way for us to live as well. Love is the one great equalizer. It covers a multitude of negative behavior. It allows us to interact in a way that engenders us to others and removes boundaries between us.
To say one is rich in love is a great compliment indeed.
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV)
Whether in business or in faith matters, it is easy to get into a routine of working hard so we can boast of our efforts. It becomes easy to play the martyr’s role thinking that by trying to do more than everyone else we will be seen as….better.
Rarely does simply doing more, working ourselves to the bone, have a favorable outcome. In heaven’s eye there is no amount of good works we can accomplish that will gain us salvation. That comes only through belief in Christ. In the world’s eye mountains of doing are typically only rewarded with new mountains.
It is not that doing good and working hard is a bad thing. Just not a thing we should do to point the finger back at ourselves.
21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. (Matthew 19:21-22 NIV)
When we become slaves to what we own, then we are owned by our possessions.
More, more, more! That is the halcyon call of this world. Yet the more we have the more empty we often feel. That which assauged the hole inside us today must be replaced tomorrow with something new. Yet the hole yawns deep.
Only one thing can truly fill the void.
25 For whoever wants to save their life[a] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? (Matthew 16:25-26 NIV)
Gain is a great thing. It is something we all want. However, when it comes to sacrifice for gain, then all to often we are not in. Even if we were told we could have more thank we could ever imagine, but we had to give up all we have, there would probably be hesitation. Maybe even outright unacceptable because we know what we have right now. Forefitting that for what we cannot see….
Yet, what does it prosper us to gain the whole world, yet forfeit our soul!?
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV)
Overwhelmed! I heard this word a lot. We are a overwhelmed and burdened people. Fast paced jobs and lives burn us out and there seems no time for rest. Each day seems to be more burdensome than the one before.
Yet, we do have somewhere to turn. We can allow Christ to lighten the load a bit, especially the mental and spiritual burden. Christ provides salve for our spirit and respite for our minds, if we will but call upon Him and allow it.
You don’t have to do it all yourself.
4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[a] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:4 NIV)
The old workout mantra “No Pain, No Gain” is completely changed in heaven where there is total gain. Mourning, crying, pain and death no longer have a place. For any who have watched loved ones walk the path of sickness and death there is a keen sense of this statement.
Keeping our faith focused upon what is to come, while doing everything we can in this world to bear fruit: this is the Christian life.
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6 NIV)
Everyone wants to do things their way, to trod their own path. We all want to think we know the way, that there are many paths.
This can become confrontational if we do not speak this truth in love and humble acceptance. Desiring to simply point to the path.