Wow, here we are but once again celebrating New Years. How many kept their resolutions this year? How many said; “this year no matter what, we’re going to do this and that” and somehow everything but this and that, once again has managed to get accomplished!
I have a challenge for you this year, instead of making resolutions this year why not choose to be resolute about a few of the most important things you know you should be doing with your time.
I challenge you this year to be resolute in growing your relationship with Jesus and telling others about what your growing!
Not a resolution, but the choice to be resolute about the most important aspect of your life!
Resolute defined: admirably purposeful, determined, and unwavering.
synonyms: resolved, adamant, single-minded, firm, unswerving
Illus. By Jim Crane
Someone has written that there are four kinds of bones in the world.
The WISH BONES who spend their time wishing someone else would do the work;
The JAW BONES who do all the talking, but very little else;
The KNUCKLE BONES who knock everything that anyone else is trying to do;
The BACK BONES who shoulder the load and do the work;
Three out of four, would be guilty of at least I believe what it’s called, procrastination!
Everyone who has ever breathed, is guilty of some type of procrastinating.
I suppose you could apply that, to almost every kind of task in the history of the world. Because almost every kind of task ever thought of involves labor, right?
The last thing Jesus ever said and did when He left this earth, was to challenge every Christian who would ever become one, with a task to spread the Gospel message!
Matthew 28:19-20 The Message (MSG)
18-20 Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”
While some Christians have done more than their fair share, far far too many have not. Oh the excuses are many and all seem valid to the one making the argument as to why they haven’t did more to advance the “Kingdom of God”
But the words, the charge and request of Jesus has never stopped trying to achieve their intended purpose and never will, until one Day the devil is banished to hell forever!
Makes me think of a line from an old song, “what have you done for me lately?” When you look at the condition of the world, it doesn’t seem clear as to what we really have done to advance the Kingdom of God lately, does it?
Life teaches us all about setting priorities doesn’t it? When you’re young, your priorities are different than they are and when you are older. Mainly because when you’re young, your responsibilities are few.
We often say, back in the old days we would just take the afternoon off and go fishing. Back in the old days, a person doesn’t have as many things do they?
The more you obtain, the more responsibility comes with what you acquire!
All ages of people through all the ages of time, have faced the same dilemma.
And that dilemma is, “ priority setting” How many have ever heard the old saying, “if you want something done ask a busy person to do it, because they’ll get it done.”
Some are better at setting and keeping priorities and juggling life than others are, that’s for sure! Some choose to indulge in things that all but alleviate their responsibilities at all.
The same can be said about our spiritual responsibilities and has been the case throughout all the ages! God knows better than anyone else about human nature, that’s why Jesus gave the charge to all mankind and has never withdrawn the request!
Illus. Contributed by Paul Humphrey
Sez I to myself, as I grumbled and growled,
Im sick of my church, and then how I scowled.
The members unfriendly, the sermons too long;
In fact, it seems that everything’s wrong.
I don’t like the singing; the church a disgrace
For signs of neglect are all over the place.
I’ll quit going there, and wont give a dime;
I can make better use of my money and time
Then my conscience sez to me, sez he
The trouble with you is, youre blind to see
That your church reflects you, whatever it be
Now come, pray and serve cheerfully
Stop all your faultfinding and boost it up strong;
You’ll find you’ll be happy and proud to belong
Be friendly, be willing and sing as you work
For churches are not built by members who shirk.
I’ve heard the same thing my whole life and it’s never been more true than it is today as we look at the condition of the world in which we live. The kingdom of God is at hand and the time is short, before the Son of man makes His triumphant return to claim His Bride!
What has created this sense of urgency? The same sense of urgency, the disciples also felt?
TBS in Matthew 24:30-39 MSG
30-31 “Then, the Arrival of the Son of Man! It will fill the skies—no one will miss it. Unready people all over the world, outsiders to the splendor and power, will raise a huge lament as they watch the Son of Man blazing out of heaven. At that same moment, he’ll dispatch his angels with a trumpet-blast summons, pulling in God’s chosen from the four winds, from pole to pole.
32-35 “Take a lesson from the fig tree. From the moment you notice its buds form, the merest hint of green, you know summer’s just around the corner. So it is with you: When you see all these things, you’ll know he’s at the door. Don’t take this lightly. I’m not just saying this for some future generation, but for all of you. This age continues until all these things take place. Sky and earth will wear out; my words won’t wear out.
36 “But the exact day and hour? No one knows that, not even heaven’s angels, not even the Son. Only the Father knows.
37-39 “The Arrival of the Son of Man will take place in times like Noah’s. Before the great flood everyone was carrying on as usual, having a good time right up to the day Noah boarded the ark. They knew nothing—until the flood hit and swept everything away.
The sense of urgency has been felt by the disciples and all those in between, clear up until now. Because we have all thought that Jesus may come in our lifetime and have felt the need to be ready!
The sense of making sure the others around us are ready, is the priority that has been neglected. Something we’re all guilty of, even those back in Jesus day...
because the Bible tells us in;
Matthew 9:37-38 King James Version (KJV)
37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;
38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
There have always been laborers, but never enough laborers! What we hear said today is the same thing that has been said forever. It’s hard to find help!
Matthew 20:1-16 The Message (MSG)
A Story About Workers
20 1-2 “God’s kingdom is like an estate manager who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. They agreed on a wage of a dollar a day, and went to work.
3-5 “Later, about nine o’clock, the manager saw some other men hanging around the town square unemployed. He told them to go to work in his vineyard and he would pay them a fair wage. They went.
5-6 “He did the same thing at noon, and again at three o’clock. At five o’clock he went back and found still others standing around. He said, ‘Why are you standing around all day doing nothing?’
7 “They said, ‘Because no one hired us.’
“He told them to go to work in his vineyard.
8 “When the day’s work was over, the owner of the vineyard instructed his foreman, ‘Call the workers in and pay them their wages. Start with the last hired and go on to the first.’
9-12 “Those hired at five o’clock came up and were each given a dollar. When those who were hired first saw that, they assumed they would get far more. But they got the same, each of them one dollar. Taking the dollar, they groused angrily to the manager, ‘These last workers put in only one easy hour, and you just made them equal to us, who slaved all day under a scorching sun.’
13-15 “He replied to the one speaking for the rest, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair. We agreed on the wage of a dollar, didn’t we? So take it and go. I decided to give to the one who came last the same as you. Can’t I do what I want with my own money? Are you going to get stingy because I am generous?’
16 “Here it is again, the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first.”
God is not a respecter of persons, whether you come in the beginning or at the end, God is going to reward all who labor for the Kingdom sharing the message of Jesus!
My father listened to my mother tell him about the things of God for 28 years, but never accepted Christ while my mother was alive. However, God’s word never returns void and my father did except Christ four years after my mother’s death and only two years before his own death.
My mother was a great woman of faith and did all she knew to do for the kingdom most of her life. My father did all he new to do for the Lord and gave the best way he new how after coming to know Jesus too!
TBS they both received great compensation and reward, neither greater than the other. God looked ahead and was prepared for both of their arrivals! God had a mansion prepared for both we they got to heavens gates! There is no jealousy or envy in heaven. One could have been on one side of Billy Grahams house, and One on the other!
One thing the Bible is about, God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him, and the word does not say how long they must diligently seek Him, only that they seek Him!
Friends, nothing catches God by surprise, there are billions that’s right with a B, billions upon billions of mansions prepared in heaven for those who receive Jesus as their Saviour, even at the midnight hour!
Luke 23:39-43 New King James Version (NKJV)
39 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, [a]“If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.”
40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said [b]to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”
43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
Jesus didn’t say, today you should go into waiting for what is to come. No, Jesus said today you shall be with me in paradise!
Some theologians may argue as to what exactly paradise was at that exact moment in the kingdom of God. I can tell you this, it was someplace fantastic, someplace awesome, someplace that was amazing, because it was where Jesus was!
God is both fair and just! Even though neither of the men crucified with Jesus had labored, both could have been with Jesus in paradise at the same time, only one chose too!
It won’t matter and no one will be concerned when finally one day we get to heaven, as to what others did too advance the kingdom of God!
We can only imagine in our current state of mind for Illustrative purposes we might say to some we think lesser of when we get to heaven with surprise; “how in the world did you get here?”
And Jesus says, “their arrival was no surprise to me” I knew they would be here all along! I’ve had their mansion ready for sometime, as a matter of fact, I built it next door to yours!
The important thing and lesson to learn, is not what stage of life you start to serve God and get involved in the kingdom of God, only that you do!