The Mixture

 "Now anyone who builds on that foundation may use gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. But there is going to come a time of testing at the judgement day to see what kind of work each builder has done. Everyone's work will be put through the fire to see whether or not it keeps its value. If the work survives the fire that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builders themselves will be saved, but like someone escaping through a wall of flames." 1 Corinthians 3:12-15....."If our lifework is to be fireproof, it will not be so built by sentence prayers and one minute Bible readings before breakfast. But it costs, so we slip in a block of wood here and fill in with hay there and get by with stubble yonder.....It is so easy to let up here and there and work in a little wood or stubble, but blessed is the man who will not substitute even the good for the best." Vance Havner

 

I think all believers of His Word agree that there awaits us all in eternity, judgement. The primary judgement will concern what each has done with Jesus Christ. His Word clearly states that He is "the Way, the Truth, and the Life." That "no one comes unto the Father except through Him." Through Him alone, and no one else. Those who have confessed their lost state, their need of forgiveness, repented of their sin, and received Him unto life, have settled that first question. Let me stop a moment and ask, have you settled it? What, to this point in your life, have you done with this Savior, Jesus Christ? Yet there is another judgement that awaits for those who have settled this question. As John Bevere puts it, the first judgement determines what we have done with Jesus Christ. The second concerns how we have lived for Him. I'm concerned in that I don't think many of us put much thought into that question. At least here in the west. The desire of the apostle Paul's heart was that he would complete his life journey and be found faithful....to the very end. That he would hear, on that last day, "Well done, good and faithful servant." How much do you and I really wish to hear the same? How we live, and not just in action, but motive, really determines the answer to that.

Havner talks of how, in our lives for Him, we so easily place varying amounts of wood, hay, and straw into our lives for Him. Others have called such a life one of "mixture." Into lives professed to be lived out for Him, is mixed in a great deal of "us," of the self-life. The subtle presence of this can lead to a great deal of self-deception. We can trumpet loudly that all we do, we do for Him, except that lurking beneath the surface is a great deal of self-interest as well. We tell ourselves that we're zealous to build His Kingdom, but at the same time, we're very interested in building our own as well. From the pulpit to the pew, it is so. How "so" is it in you and me?

When I began in ministry, my overriding concern was to grow my congregation. Yes, I sincerely wanted to win souls, and did. But I also wanted to be seen as successful, and that fleshly desire too often caused me to see people as a means to get what I wanted, and the Father as a means to help me do so. To varying degrees, this remained true through years of ministry. I wanted to give glory to Him, but I wanted to share in the glory as well. The Father will not share His glory. He will not honor or recognize the wood, hay, and straw. The mixture. Even when souls are saved and churches grow. Personal ambition finds no favor with Him, even when the results are good ones. He is not pleased with offerings that contain so much hay, wood, and straw. The offering that is a mixture of honor for self and honor for Him. How much of our lives are really all about just that?

Mark Batterson told of his early days in ministry when he was frustrated and unhappy with the smallness of his congregation. He said that the Father spoke to his heart and told him that if he could not be content and joyful pastoring a group of 25, neither would he be so if he were leading 2500. Lives that flow with such a mixture of both silver and gold and wood, hay, and straw will not be either. 

 

All of us will one day give account of not only what we did with Him, but how we lived for Him. The most important question in eternity will be, "What have we done with this Jesus?" Everything depends upon that . Second in importance will be how did we then live for Him? Bevere says the first question decides where we will spend eternity. The second, how. We'll all answer each one. How do you answer now? Do you wish that to be how you answer then?

Blessings,
Pastor O

 

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