Are you invested?

Showing up to do something is only half of the battle in life. There is a big difference between those who go through the motions of work and those who are invested in the work they do. In the work force this is really noticeable. It is the waitress/waiter who goes above and beyond the normal service; the trash collector who makes sure the emptied trash can is placed back off the road rather than just thrown out of the way when it has been emptied. Invested workers are becoming scarce in today’s society, but if you look closely they are still to be found in every line of work. The invested employee is enjoyable to encounter, but the invested disciple of Christ will impact people powerfully whether they are on the job or off duty. The one who is a disciple of Christ is invested in the work of God twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The reason for this investment in living for God is because they have a purpose in life that goes far beyond their comfort and position in life. The Apostle Paul explained his own investment in ministry and living for God in this way: “24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27, NKJV). The prize Christ’s disciples are chasing after is not salvation; it is and ought to be the satisfaction of hearing from God Himself, “…Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord” (Matthew 25:21, NKJV). Salvation comes from the grace of God through the forgiveness of sin provided by the shed blood of Jesus the Christ (Romans 3:21-26). What disciples of Christ do must be done out of love for and a desire to please God the Father who gave His Son in order that they would be reconciled to Him. Paul uses the analogy of a race because it is something people could relate to in their context. The Lord has impressed upon me through my involvement with running in one marathon, a couple half-marathons, and several 5K races since 2012 that finishing strong is more important than what place you are in when the race is over. The course of the Christian race is laid out by Christ and how He lived. He is the Way in which we must go. The prize at the end of a physical race is some type of a metal that eventually ends up hanging on a wall or placed in a box for storage after a while. The prize received for running in the way of God is received immediately upon beginning the race in eternal life through salvation from the wrath of God on sin by the forgiveness offered in Christ Jesus. As we go through each day, living for Christ and doing the will of the Father, we discipline our bodies and bring them into subjection to the authority of the Spirit of God within us to strive on till we physically realize all that we hope for in Christ Jesus. Just like in a foot race, you will get tired, pain will be part of the race, and thoughts of giving up will constantly plague the mind. This is why it is so important to encourage one another, refresh our spirits by drinking deeply of God’s Word along the way, and keeping our eyes focused on the goal which is pleasing the God who created us and died to save us. Praying beyond the physical: Father, help me to run faithfully in the way of Jesus so I can love, serve, and reveal You as He did and does. Jesus, guide me to stay on the course the Father has ordained for me so that I can always run in Your steps. Spirit, grant me strength and endurance to be striving to please the Father by submitting to Your direction.   Pastor Tom

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