Foundations For Our Future #80
Foundations for Our Future (80)
by: The Rev. Dr. Jon Shuler
It is one of the most characteristic parts of our Lord’s teaching that he sets before his hearers two ways, and only two ways to sum up a situation. People are prepared or unprepared. Some walk in the light and others in darkness. We will serve God or Mammon. Again and again Jesus gives us an either or.
Apart from the grace of God we do not like what Jesus says. We don’t want an either or, we want gradations. “I am not as bad as that man,” or “I tried to do my best,” or “I am sure God will be lenient with me.” Such phrases come easily to our lips. But not to Jesus. He says to live I must die. To know God’s will fully I must sacrifice all else.
It turns out this is the same teaching when it comes to rewards. A man who wants earthly rewards will get them, but he will forfeit eternal reward. He must choose.
The first example Christ gives us is the giving of alms. (Matthew 6:2) It was as common in the first century as it is today, that people are often charitable because they want others to think well of them, rather than because they care about the needy. And Jesus tells us plainly that those who give with that motive “have received their reward.”
Do you see what is again going on in our Lord’s teaching? He is exposing the heart. Are we demonstrating our goodness for men, or do we have the heart of God?