|Volume 21 Number 6 June 2019||
“For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 25:29-30).
“You are fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). It is true. Each day we get out of bed and move through life, we must certainly be reminded of just how remarkable our existence is. Without even thinking, we breathe, blood pumps through our bodies and countless nerve endings fire their electrical pulses to make that morning coffee and to begin another glorious day. Even more amazing is the fact that you can do it like no other. You are unique.
The more I interact with people, the more I am convinced of this fact. Every day I teach PE for a multitude of kids, and no two of them are alike. Some are shy, and some are outgoing. Some are loud, and some are soft spoken. Some like to push the boundaries of the rules, while others wouldn’t dream of it. They are all different. Furthermore, they all add something unique to the class. Now, often that “something” is a bit of a challenge for the teacher, but more often than not, it is an opportunity to teach.
The church is no different. People do not grow toward some line of standardization. As we become adults, we are just as unique as those children on the playground. We have potential, meaning and purpose. We are endowed with great gifts and talents from God. Unfortunately, members who feel as if they are absolutely insignificant fill the church today. At one point, they, no doubt, had good and positive feelings about themselves and felt the world was their oyster, so to speak. Yet, something changed, and those days passed. Somewhere along the way, they decided that they have nothing to offer and really serve no useful purpose, at least spiritually. They feel inferior to most and will do their utmost to avoid serving.
These are the words of the adversary. Satan wants you to believe you can offer nothing because he knows if you believe that, then you will do nothing and thus rob the church of your abilities and gifts. Maybe you have never thought of it that way, but we rob God when we do not use His gifts for His purposes, and there is absolutely no zero talent individual. In this day, do not rob God, but rather use your talents for great good.
Where the Roses Never Fade
The pink roses on our white picket fence this spring have been absolutely beautiful! However, they are now losing their color and are slowly fading into a pale white shade that denotes they are dying. I have walked near them and around them several times, enjoying their radiant color. It seems that this year, perhaps, because of my age, I am very sorry to watch the blooms fall from the vines.
There is a song that can be found in some of the old hymnals that we used to sing years ago, “Where the Roses Never Fade.” Here is the first stanza: “I am going to a city where the streets with gold are laid, Where the tree of life is blooming, And the roses never fade.” Now, the chorus reads, “Here they bloom for a season, So their beauty is decayed; I am going to a city Where the roses never fade.” Of course, we know that there will not be literal roses in Heaven; however, we can understand one lesson to be learned in this song. Like the roses, we bloom for a season, and eventually, we all will fade away. In 1 Peter 1:24-25, we read, “All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, And its flower falls away, But the word of the Lord endures forever.”
In Psalm 90, the author wrote of the brevity of man’s life on this earth, recording, “You carry them away like a flood; They are like a sleep. In the morning they are like grass which grows up: In the morning it flourishes and grows up, In the evening it is cut down and withers” (vs. 5-6). In verses 9 and 10, the writer emphasized the certainty of death. “For all our days have passed away in Your wrath; We finish our years like a sigh. The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years, Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away.”
The positive side of the lyrics of the song, “Where The Roses Never Fade,” is that there is a place where “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4). Though we do not read of roses in this place prepared for those whose names are written in “the Lamb’s Book of Life” (Revelation 21:27), we do read that “the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass” (21:21), and there is “a pure river of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.” John also mentioned the “tree of life” (22:2) being in “the holy city, New Jerusalem” (21:2). The aged apostle John, in highly symbolic language, as found in the Book of Revelation, was describing the beauties of “the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:11), where Jesus has gone to prepare a place for all who have “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (John 14:1-3; Revelation 7:14). Our finite minds cannot comprehend eternity and the fact there will no longer be death that brings so much sorrow to the hearts of mankind when loved ones depart from this life. However, our mortal, natural bodies will be changed into spiritual bodies, suitable for eternity (1 Corinthians 15:50-57).
It is in the blood of our Savior Jesus Christ that our sins are washed away, and by which we have been redeemed (Revelation 1:5; Ephesians 1:7). If you are a penitent believer, “Why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). It should be the desire of everyone to go to that Pearly White City when life has ended for us on this earth. Question, is your name written in “the Book of Life” (Revelation 20:15)?