SUBJECT - DOING GOOD, WONíT GET IT!!
This monthís subject, addresses an issue, that I havenít commented on, in quite some time. And that is, just because a person, happens to be doing good, even to a greater extent, than those of us that name the name of Christ, does not get them in to Heaven.
In many of my encounters, both on the personal, as well as ministerial, and listening to people on the radio, and TV, many people tend to think, that, even though they donít believe in God, or want to get, what they call, too religious, if anyone gets in to Heaven, then surely, they will, because they do, and even in some cases, even exceed, what God says, those that believe in Him, should be doing.
What they are doing, is, depending on their works, to get them in.
Now, I am not talking about those that are out here doing evil, and trying to relieve their guilt by doing a lot of good things, as if they can buy their way in to Heaven. No. The people that I am talking about, are those that follow the moral guidelines that the bible outlines,
They love their fellow man. They help the needy. They clothe the naked. Provide food for the hungry, and try to comfort the sick.
All of these things are the basics of what Christ said the Christian should be doing. And, many Christians follow those principles.
Whenever there is a call for money, or maybe time, for the purposes of aiding some cause, like what happened last summer, when hurricane Katrina, literally destroyed New Orleans, and caused tens of thousands, to become instantly homeless. Practically every church in this nation, started drives, or participated in them, to send money, food, clothing, and other necessities, to the victims.
People took time off of their jobs, and even off of their vacations, or retirement, to go down there, to see what they could do.
Others, opened up their homes, or other places that they had, to provide shelter for whomever wanted to take them up on their offers, free of charge.
All of these things, are exemplary, and it is the Christian, that should be leading the way, so that the victims, can see the love of Christ, in their actions.
However, Christians, were not the only ones that reacted the same
way towards, them.
We had people of other faiths, atheists, agnostics, and the whole gambit of decent folk, pitching in, to help.
Now, one would summarize, that, with all of this going on, if there is a God, then surely, what these non Christians are doing, would surely be cause for Him, to put them down on a list, as being worthy of getting in to Heaven. Especially, when what they are doing, is a whole lot more than many Christians, are willing to do.
After all, there are some Christians, that could be helping a lot more, donating a lot more, supporting a lot more, than they are, but because of purely selfish reasons, donít. Then those that know about them, and do, do more than them, would say, ĎIím doing more than they are doing, therefore, if God was fair, then I will be rewarded, more than them.
Now, that way of thinking, while appearing to be the right thing for God to do, has its flaws.
First, the bible tells us, ĎEph 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved (headed for Heaven) through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
That means, that doing good, for the purpose, of getting some type of reward, only works, with man.
We can see that, on the job. The more work a person does, or the better job they do, the more they will get paid, or the more better chance for promotion to a better job. And this, is the way it should be, as far as man is concerned.
But, God, who says, Isa 55:8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts,
uses a different measuring stick, if you will, in deciding who is worthy of what.
Now naturally, among Christians, the more good, one does, the more blessing, they will receive, in this life, and rewards, in Heaven.
Yes God rewards His children, based on what, and how much, they do.
But, did you notice, I used the words ĎHis children?í
This is where most people, even a lot of Christians, miss it.
Because, there is a prerequisite, that must be met first, before we can jump in to, just who gets blessed, how much, and why.
That prerequisite is, you must be, one of His children.
And one of the major problems that we have in our (mankindís) way of thinking, is that we are all Godís children. That means, no matter what you are, whether you believe in Christ, or not, you are still one of His children. And as such, the more good you do, the greater the reward, you will get from Him. And the greatest reward, is, you guessed it, Heaven. Who wouldnít want to do, whatever it takes, to go there, if you truly believe there is a God, and there is such a place??
As a tragic side note, when we look at 9/11, and the 19 men, that committed suicide, in the name of Allah, killing thousands, to earn a place in Heaven, and 70 virgins, you can see the extremes, people will go through, to get there. These men were depending on what they did, to get them in to Heaven.
But, God says, Ďnot by works.í
Especially, not works of evil.
But, Iím not talking about works of evil, I am talking about works or, righteousness. Good deeds, if you will. Following the ten commandments, to the letter, and even going beyond that. Like tithing. God says we should give 10% of our firstfruits(gross), and yet, there are some that will give 15% and more.
And, if they are millionaires, and billionaires, then who can possibly deny their qualifications for Heaven?? After all, they can give, in one action, more than most of us, can give, in a lifetime.
So you can see, in our way of thinking, they would be at the top of the list, for getting in.
Then, we have those that, have been doing good things, for years, even decades.
Well, those that, have lived most of their lives doing mediocre, or even evil, once turning from these ways, to following the ways of Christ, would feel, that since they waited so long to start, that they donít have much of a chance to attain what those that have been at it for so long.
And once again, while that would seem to be the right thing for a Just, and Fair God to do, it totally misses the mark.
While time, on the job, so to speak, means accumalating more rewards, and crowns, it is not the all inclusive factor of the numbers of these, that a person might receive.
Letís take a look at a little discussed passage of scripture, that bears out, what I am talking about.
Jesus is speaking a parable, saying,
Mat 19:29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
Mat 19:30 But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.
Mat 20:1 For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.
Mat 20:2 And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
Mat 20:3 And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
Mat 20:4 And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way.
Mat 20:5 Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise.
Mat 20:6 And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?
Mat 20:7 They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.
Mat 20:8 So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.
Mat 20:9 And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny.
Mat 20:10 But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny.
Mat 20:11 And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house,
Mat 20:12 Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.
Mat 20:13 But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny?
Mat 20:14 Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.
Mat 20:15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?
Mat 20:16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.
This passage of scripture, bears out, the fact that God uses a different standard, than man thinks is right. But, since the earth, and all that dwell on it, are Godís, in the first place, then He can do as He pleases, and we have nothing to complain about.
However, if you will notice, the parable mentions, that the laborers, were hired, by the man, in the first place.
And, that is the key to this message. You have to be hired (or a child of God), to receive, reward, and Heaven. You just canít, jump in, and start doing things, and expect to get, what those that were hired to do the same things, get. Even if they arenít doing it.
Itís like going in to a department store, and seeing things lying on the floor, instead of on the shelves, and picking them up, and putting them where they belong, then going to the manager of the store, and expecting him/her, to pay you for the work you did.
Putting it quite simply, you, though doing good, like Jesus said His followers should be doing, dowsnít entitle you to the blessings He has for them, even though you may be doing more.
In effect, your working, is in vain. It is an exercise in futility.
Because God looks at it, as your, trying to satisfy your own ego, and not, trying to please, Him.