Not Home Yet
 "It is required of stewards that they be found faithful."  I Corinthians 4:2....."Well done, good and faithful servant....enter into the joy of the Lord." Matthew 25:21....."And your real life is hidden with Christ in God." Colossians 3:3....."In the time of hiddenness, our only consistent audience is God."  Alicia Britt Chloe....."Jesus Christ's life was an absolute failure from every standpoint but God's."  Oswald Chambers.

A friend recently shared with me the story of a missionary couple who were returning to America from long years of ministry in the interior of Africa.  On the ship with them was President Theodore Roosevelt, who was also returning from a much publicized hunting trip to that same continent.  As the ship came in to dock, crowds cheered and bands played to greet Roosevelt as he returned home.  Watching it all, the missionary husband remarked to his wife, "Look at this.  All our years of service, and yet no one is here to greet us."  To this his wife sweetly replied, "Dear, we're not home yet."  In this illustration we see the pull and power of two kingdoms; the world's, and the Father's.  None of us are immune to the first, indeed, many, including many in the church, spend our life energy seeking its acclaim.  We may well find it, but it is an acclaim that is hollow.  As Jesus said, those that seek it will have their reward.  The acclaim of men, but they will miss the acclaim and applause of heaven while searching for the trophies of this world.  I have not been and am still not immune from the pull of this world's applause.  I expect that neither are you.  In the end of it all, whose "well done" are we really seeking?

Jesus was unaffected by the approval or rejection of men.  His Word tells us that "He knew what was in their hearts."  We say that we do as well, yet time and again, their approval and applause is fervently sought after by us.  We so easily forget that the majority of those who cried out "Hosanna" when He entered Jerusalem cried out for Him to be crucified outside that city just a short time later.  Beyond this, human memory is short.  Last years champion will always be replaced by this years.  Trophy cases become full, but in a short time, few passerby's know what the trophies are for.  James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family tells the story of his obsession with winning his college's tennis championship and the large trophy that went with it.  He did win, and the trophy was eventually displayed in the school's trophy case, emblazoned with his name, and to his immense pride.  A number of years after his graduation, he received a call from one of the school's custodians.  He had found the trophy in an outside trash bin and wanted to know if Dobson wanted it.  So it is with all the treasures of this world that we seek.

Our flesh struggles with being anonymous.  It wants to be seen, known, applauded.  Like the missionary husband, it grieves not being greeted by a crowd and band.  What we who are His must have is the heart of the wife.  A heart that recognized that while in this world, we are not home....yet.  But one day, we will be.  Is it our deepest desire to hear from His heart, "well done, good and faithful servant?"  Our life, work, ministry, may well be hidden from most if not all who are around us.  No crowds.  No bands.  But in it all is the consistent audience of the Father.  Does He take pleasure in us?  We are not home yet.  Do we realize that?  Or, will we go on yearning for the crowds, bands, and applause of this world, even as it manifest itself through His church?  Are we willing to so identify with Christ that we're willing to be abject failures in the eyes of the world, yet overcoming victors in the sight of the Father?  What's our true heart answer to that?

Pastor O
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   May 2019   
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