Pickle Heaven Press-James R. Johnson

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giftless — July 21, 2021

giftless

It was Father’s Day and my grandchildren honored me with handmade cards and gifts.  My little grandson wanted to join in, but he wasn’t prepared, so he slipped away and used a king-sized marker to scratch out a sweetly illustrated card. 

He even enclosed a five-dollar bill.  When I opened it, I was amazed, but his brother was angry – because it was his money that was given.   I handed the five back to brother over the protests of my precious gift giver.  Then the sad little guy wrapped himself up and cried because he had nothing to give his granddad. 

His tears broke my heart and also alerted me to my own condition.  For there is a day coming when I will eagerly want to give a gift to someone that I love.  Let me explain if I may.

When we enter the Kingdom of God, we do so only by the merit of Jesus. Paul said, “For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works…“  (Ephesians 2:8-9)We cannot work to be saved.

But, once we have been saved, we are expected to work.  Paul went on to say that we have “been created in Christ Jesus for good works….” (v. 10)

God expects the saved to work – to love Jesus and to practice His teachings.

A worker is usually compensated with a paycheck, and the Christian is rewarded in a similar way.  Scripture speaks of “crowns” that can be earned.   

There is the crown of rejoicing (1 Thessalonians 2:19) which consists of the people we have led to Christ.  The crown of glory (1 Peter 5:1-4) is given to those who have labored to care for and disciple other Christians.  The crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4:6-8) will be given to those who love Christ and live in the light of His return.   The crown of life is given to those who lose their life for the cause of Christ (Revelation. 2:10)                         

Jesus will one day review the life of each Christian and award these crowns accordingly.  Some of us will be receive one or more; the less faithful will be denied a crown.  (1 Corinthians 3:10-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10)

In Jesus’ day, a crown represented authority.  It is thought that those with crowns will be awarded responsibility in ruling along side Jesus in His Kingdom.  (Revelation 2:26)

Now fast forward to heaven where this scene takes place.  “Seated on those thrones were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white clothing and had golden crowns on their heads.”  (Revelation 4:4)  

The white robes of redemption suggest that the Elders represent us, the church of the redeemed with their heads adorned by the crowns they had earned.

But then something unexpected happens as they prepare to worship. “The twenty-four elders throw themselves to the ground before the one who sits on the throne and worship the one who lives forever and ever, and they offer their crowns before his throne…”    (Revelation 4:10-11)

They wanted something to give to Jesus who had given everything for them, so they took the only thing of value that they possessed – the crowns that they had earned in this life.   

You and I will be among that group someday, there in the presence of Jesus, awed by his majesty and overwhelmed with gratitude for what He had done for us.

We will fumble around, searching the pockets of our white robes looking for a gift to give. Nothing there, however, but righteous lint. 

But what about the crowns?  Those could be offered.  Some of us will reach up, find the gift, and then gladly lay it as His feet.

Others will reach up and find only air.

I wonder if they will wrap themselves up and cry because they had nothing to give to the one they love?

A PRAYER: Lord help me to serve you well this day, so that I have something to offer You then.

Scripture references are from the NETBible ®

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