” I know how my story ends; victory, honor, glory!”
Don this a fab post! And so close to home in my life. Yet what crosses my mind is this:
a) we may really get it
b) we may actually do it
c) we may love to live it
We may be ready!
And then He deems making cups of tea, lifting chairs … that’s our gift. And we fight back. Doing that for 80-90 years rather than 33 … that is our “gift” … where is the glory in that, the honour, the victory? So we chase the bigger stuff, the glory stuff – and in so doing we miss “The Big Stuff” He sees and has – the “perfect stuff for who we are” stuff.
What an insightful observation, we find our ministry of serving and helping to be somewhat less than glamorous, so we fight for the “big stuff.” We’d like a little glory and honor right now, here on earth, in this world, so we step out on our own. Should the truth be told, we’ve probably all been in that place at one time or another, wouldn’t you agree?
But Jesus didn’t fall for that one.
He knew that His glory and honor would not be found in this world, and He avoided them. What Jesus received in this world was suffering, opposition, betrayal and persecution, and He taught us that since the servant is not greater than the Master, we would have those same things to deal with in our lives here on earth. Victory, glory and honor were realized later in the story, and so shall it be with us.
Actually, when you think about it, that isn’t so bad.
Over my lifetime, I’ve had the opportunity to see some pretty high-caliber people up close and personal; celebrities you might call some of them, and I can tell you that they were not always happy people. In one way or another, each was looking over his shoulder to see who was coming after him, each had worries that few of us are prepared to deal with, and each was looking forward to the day when he could have a “normal” life. Glory? Honor? They aren’t all they are cracked up to be.
We have all been given spiritual gifts, some have the “front of the room” kinds of gifts like leadership and teaching, while others have “behind the scenes gifts” like helps and service. For those, “making tea” and “lifting chairs” may not seem like much, but there are plenty of times I’ve wished I had those instead of leadership and teaching! Why? Because when you have those gifts, you also have those responsibilities, and those responsibilities include being the servant of everyone and answering to a higher standard.
The truth for many of us is that we really don’t know what our spiritual gift is, and we’re serving in the wrong area. Sadly, many congregations don’t talk much about spiritual gifts, for fear of sounding odd; maybe some don’t believe in such things… and then there are those that take the whole matter rather too far afield. If you are serving in an area that you don’t like, there is a good chance that you aren’t gifted for it, and that can make a big difference.
I can recall one time having a sit-down with a brother who wanted to be an Elder in the congregation. What the guy didn’t realize is that being a leader isn’t at all glamorous. Yes, sometimes you go before the congregation and say something, but most of the time, you are just at everyone’s beck and call, 24/7. They call you when they have a fight with their wife or husband at 3 am. They call when they are unhappy because somebody changed the way things are listed in the bulletin, or because the preacher forgot to thank them, or when a loved one is dying, or when they are depressed because they lost a job…
They seek you out with a great idea they have for a new ministry in the church, but they can’t see that it might not quite fit in with what all is currently going on, and they aren’t the one who will have to give account for leadership decisions. They don’t have any concept of what it means to prepare sermons 52 consecutive Sundays, or teach classes week after week, year after year. Yes, of course those things are a joy, but they are also a burden of sorts; a commitment that few are willing to take on. The man with whom I was speaking that day came to see that his gifts were in another area.
Do you receive honor and glory in this life for such things? No, mostly you receive complaints and critiques… from the ones who normally won’t do anything. You see, leadership, teaching, the “front of the room” things, aren’t as easy as they look, and no, the grass really isn’t any greener on that side of the hill.
Yet all of us carry on because we love the Lord Jesus Christ, and because we love our brothers and sisters, whatever our gifts may be. We do so with the full realization that the story doesn’t end when we breathe our last breath; no the story ends as we receive our inheritance in eternity, and that day is all we need, for our service in whatever capacity, whether we have a particular spiritual gift or not, is and must always be, a labor of love without any expectation of anything in return.
We might not always receive any praise from men, but on that Great Day, we hope to receive the only praise that counts for anything, that praise that come from God Himself: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”