Practical Proverbial, from Hebrews, 3 January 2017

Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are convinced of better things in your case—the things that have to do with salvation.  Hebrews 6, verse 9.

Something else needs to be said about this verse, something that will offend my inner (and outer) Lutheran but has to be said all the same.  It has to be said right now for the here and now.

Salvation isn’t just for the after-life:   salvation is for now.   Eternal life is for NOW, as part of eternity, not just when you’re dead to this world.  In fact, if all you do with the salvation Jesus won for you is bank on it for the after-life, you’re spitting on His gift.  Channel your inner James and do something with it.  Your salvation doesn’t depend on you doing something with it, but if someone else doesn’t know Jesus, theirs just might.

I think of “The Color Purple,” one of my favorite movies.   You remember, the Alice Walker novel made into a poignant Steven Spielberg movie.  The main character, Celie (played by Whoopi Goldberg), lives a squalid life, devoid of real hope.   She believes in Jesus and endures her horrible life in hopes that this life won’t last forever, that she’ll be rewarded in heaven for her suffering here.  Into that life marches Sofia (Oprah Winfrey), who insists that salvation is wonderful but, by God, you need to stand up for yourself as well.  Where Celie is ‘say,’ Sofia is ‘do.’

Amen.

I think about my pastor friend, Mark Schaefer, who is constantly reminding our congregation that we’re part of eternity right now, not just when we die.  He’s one of the more mission-focused people I know, venturing out a half-dozen or more times per year to lead youth groups on mission trips across the country (in fact, he’s on one such trip today).   He does it because he firmly believes that we benefit from being part of heaven right here, right now, and it’s our pleasure as followers of Jesus to share that understanding with others.   We do that by the way we live, including the times when we step out of our comfort zones and go places to tell about it.  You never know who you’ll meet on those trips and how their lives might be aching for some Jesus time as well.   So you go when you can, where you can, and share a little love with strangers in hopes they’ll learn, live, and do the same.  After all, eternity matters most.

Amen, again.

I think about wasted days and wasted nights (and Freddy Fender).  How many opportunities in my life have I stayed in my seat because I was afraid to speak up for Jesus?   How many times, too, have I sat there because I was afraid to speak up even for myself?   Part of believing in Jesus is knowing that He’s done everything necessary to win for us heaven.   We can live forever standing blameless in God’s holy presence because Jesus has washed us clean of all our self-induced sins.  How many of us neglect to talk about that really good news – what Jesus Himself called it – because of whatever hang-up we’re embracing at the time?   Every time I willfully fail to share Him in how I speak, act, or just by being myself, I’m wasting an opportunity He put in front of me.

This, too, is surely true.  So what’s the bottom line?

The bottom line is that you were saved for now.   Every moment of our lives is ‘right now,’ and you were saved to share every right now moment for the rest of your right now life sharing something about Jesus right now.  It’s not just to get you to heaven, though that’s part of why Jesus did what He did.   No, it’s more than that.   Jesus saved you and me so that we might connect others to Him; so that they, too, might learn how He saved them as well.  If ever there was an example of ‘the more the merrier,’ then heaven will be it.   It will be all that and more if we keep doing our part right now and sharing some piece of Jesus Christ with people who need Him right now more than ever.

For further reading:   1 Corinthians 10:14.

Right now, Lord Jesus, I thank You for saving me.   Right now, I pray that You show me how to share You with others in what I say and what I do.   Let right now be to only Your glory, Lord.

 

 

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