Revelation 14:1-3, 4-5
Psalms 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
This morning as I pondered these readings, I overheard my daughter-in-law
telling her three -year-old to be good if she wants Santa to bring her
lots of toys Santa this Christmas. I was struck by the similarity
between the way kids view Santa and we often view God. How can we
be sure to get the goodies of salvation? Or as the psalmist said
The psalm suggests that those who wish to be near the Lord must be sinless, clean of heart and “desire not what is vain.” In the Gospel, Jesus suggests that giving one’s all, like the widow giving her mite, is highly admirable; however he never suggests that it is the key to salvation. John’s passage from Revelations reminds us that salvation is a gift.
“No one could learn this hymn except the hundred and forty-four thousand who had been ransomed from the earth. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They have been ransomed as the first fruits of the human race for God and the Lamb.”
Ironically many of us “can do” Americans would probably be more comfortable with the idea of earning salvation much like we earn good grades or a promotion. We wish God would spell out a specific set of tasks and do’s and don’ts. We’re uncomfortable with the idea that salvation is not really in our control. We never quite get over the childhood warnings about good behavior being rewarded by goodies at Christmas.
Ultimately we need to learn to love and trust God enough to allow
Him to give us the gift of salvation. We need to learn to view good
works and a life of giving as their own reward, not as points toward victory
in the celestial game. For many of us, that’s even harder than giving
from our substance, not our surplus.
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