Monday, January 30, 2006
“The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup” (Psl.16:5)
“…men of the world, which have their portion in this life…” (Psl.17:14)
It’s easy to think of my portion as being of my own choosing, but Luke 15:18 would lead us to believe it’s something that has already been chosen for me. (“…Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me…”) God, in His mercy and grace, has chosen to portion out a part of Himself to those among His creation who will one day live with Him. To the rest is given whatever can be gained from this life.
That’s why, to the lost man or woman, this life is everything, and why all their decisions are based on making it as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. The Christian is not unmindful of the world, only un-intimidated by it. This may be God’s world, but He is our world. Otherwise, we would worship the creation more than the Creator.
As the songwriter has said, “Thou, my everlasting portion; more than friend or life to me…” The portion that has fallen to me is an everlasting one, because it is God Himself. It encompasses this life, goes through eternity, and ends when God does! This is my portion; it is more than enough.
Friday, January 27, 2006
“Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.” (John 10:17)
Jesus chose His own death as an exchange for my life. This provides the very basis for our Faith. But this verse burrows deeper still into this truth; for, as Jesus said, His willingness to lay down His life kindled love in the heart of God. (I’m out of my depth here.) There is something about a life sacrificed that serves to appease (and I’ll say it) impress God Almighty. One has only to think of all the animals whose lives were sacrificed for the sins of Israel. And you will remember the words of our Lord in John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
Laying down one’s life doesn’t always mean the same thing. Obviously, to suffer physical death for the cause of Christ is a very clear, apparent way. But, you will recall, Paul said of himself, “I die daily” (1 Cor.15:31). So it is possible to lay down one’s life without actually ceasing to live. Life is made up of time, and the time we relinquish to God and His Kingdom is the measure of how much of our lives we are willing to lay down. Our time of active service may vary, even diminish, depending upon our circumstances. But our willingness to be called up for active duty at any given moment will remain as constant as our love for God.
We will miss a great deal, however, if we overlook the last six words of the verse: “…I lay down my life, that I might take it again.” A sacrificial life— a “laid-down” life, if you will— is not a dead life. On the contrary; it’s resurrection life!