Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Business of the Day

Matthew 25:31-40

The Eternal State

The Parable of the Pounds presents the evocative picture of a nobleman going away to a far country to receive a kingdom and then return.
Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, 'Engage in business until I come.' [Luke 19:13]

So, since we are the servants waiting for the King to return, what is the business that we ought to be engaged in in preparation for the eternal state?

• While in the world we ought to be not of the world; we cannot be separate from the world but as long as we keep close to the cross of Christ we will live separated/separable holy lives.

• Since Christ the King will return in glory we should glorify him now by making a study of how he conducted business in his Father's house here in his time on earth and especially how he finished the work that the Father gave him to accomplish on the cross.

• Since the inheritance that we will come into when the King returns is God himself we ought to share the blessing as much as we can in anticipation. There is a supply for every need so we cannot begrudge freely giving what we have freely received. This is an opportunity for investment in the future that God has planned for us but it is beyond our imagination to describe what that future will be like because we can't extrapolate from the price paid in Jesus' blood on Calvary's cross to all the blessings that flow from it. Those things that make a small difference here on earth echo the huge difference Christ made on Calvary so the returning echo to our 'cup of cold water' is a whole river of righteousness and we can't anticipate what shall be obtained then by merely doing what is fitting here and now.

Hastening the Coming of the Day

Matthew 25:31-40

The Eternal State

… what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, … [2 Peter 3:11-12]

If we're talking about the new creation in the eternal state then surely we're done talking about the Law of God and the Ten Commandments? Not so, because we find ourselves always talking about what happens then in relation to what happens now. If we are to live lives of holiness and godliness — in other words, if we are to hasten the coming of that day that we are waiting for — then we must love the Lord our God with all of our heart and we must love our neighbour as ourselves. Both tables of the Law make demands on us as we seek to glorify God here on earth but how are we to reconcile the conflicting demands of God and my neighbour?

Here's how. Who is both God and my neighbour? Simple answer is Jesus Christ but the more complex answer, waiting for the return in glory of the King of the Ages, is

'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'

We get ready for the separation of the sheep and the goats on that day by this day reconciling the tables of the law in our behaviour by loving God who is my neighbour.

Listen to the Shepherd

Matthew 25:31-40

The Eternal State

We might well be bothered about our inability to distinguish the Shepherd's voice when he comes but any fears we might have about listening for the Shepherd ought to be allayed by the practice of listening to the Shepherd.

And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. [John 10:16]

We have the opportunity to hear the voice of the Shepherd:
• as we receive answers to our prayers
• as we learn to keep in tune with the Spirit of God
• as we read the Word and meditate on it.