Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Reader's Choice Post of 2013 #5

This post is the fifth most read post written in 2013 and as I read through it this morning, it was a good reminder to me to always live a life of thankfulness and obedience.  Everything was created by God and everything belongs to Him.  However, we often live our lives as if they are our own.  But that isn't true!  And to be honest, the more I grow in my relationship with God, the more I see how much better it is when we recognize that this earth is not our home and our lives belong to God.  With that said, please read:

Don't Forget the Giver of Good Things

My 5th grade friend lay face down on her bed crying because she was so upset at her mom.  She was sure that her mom had just humiliated her and given me a gift that was meant for her.  She was right, the gift was originally meant for her.  They were a set of coveted stickers.  Oh, they were not just any stickers; these were special stickers.  You see, we were growing up in the days when girls collected stickers and put them in photo albums to show and trade with their friends.  Each sticker had different value - there were the plain stickers, which were the average sticker.  Then there were the scratch and sniff stickers and the scent of the sticker determined its value.  Then there were fuzzy stickers that looked cool and the puffy stickers that added dimension to the sticker collection.  The stickers that my friend was crying about were stickers that would have a high value on the sticker trading market: puffy and fuzzy!  Oh, yes!  These stickers were both puffy and fuzzy and no one else in our class had stickers like that in their collection.  My friend's mom had shown them to her as we got in the car after school, but my friend began to argue with her mom about something.  The end result was her mom giving those incredible stickers to me.  Awkward!  As I was reading through the verses I am looking at today; my mind wandered back to that ill-fated day.  Please read through Matthew 21:28-46.

Last week, I considered how there is so much to gain when we believe in Jesus, but there is also so much to lose.  These verses today show Jesus explaining what was happening to those who refused to believe.  In the first parable, we are told of two sons who were given the same instructions and one obeyed and one disobeyed.  But Jesus added a twist by showing that what they said didn't matter as much as what they did.  In the second parable, Jesus points out the fact that God had sent many prophets to Israel in order to help them give to God; however, they were rejected and killed.  But Jesus continued on with the parable by pointing out that God sent His Son who was also beaten and killed by the evil tenants.

But some of the illustrations that Jesus used was interesting because He called the farmers in the parable "tenants."  These tenants didn't want to give the owner what was due to him.  Jesus pointed out that was what was happening to Israel in its unbelief.  Their disobedience to God would eventually lead to their destruction.  Jesus pointed out that God would give the opportunity to serve Him to those who would be willing to obey.  There are a couple of things that stick out at me in these parables.

First, God values our obedience - this is what He wants from all of us.  The next is the fact that in the second parable, the evil tenants seemed to forget who the land owner was.  They seemed to think that because they lived on the land they were set and could do whatever they wanted to do.  In a sense, they were living on the land as if it were their own.  Finally, God values obedience so highly that He will reward the obedient no matter who they are.  We have an inheritance from Heaven that is greater than anything this world can give us.  But, we need to remember where the inheritance came from and continue to obey.  When we forget who gave us the inheritance of life we risk a living a life of disobedience.  But when we believe and obey, there is so much God wants to share with us!

Do you walk through life remembering who gave you life?

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