“What pain to find your life-work to be a lot of wood, and hay, and stubble that will blaze furiously, and die out in ashes! You know what I mean: so much time spent in planning frivolous amusements for the people, so much talent expended in teaching that which is not the gospel, so much zeal consumed upon matters that do not concern eternal things, all this will burn. Beloved, do your Master’s work, win souls, preach Christ, expound your Bibles, pray men to be reconciled to God, plead with men to come to Christ. This kind of work will withstand the fire; and when the last great day shall dawn, this will remain to glory and honor!” —C.H. Spurgeon
“It’s all gonna burn” my pastor used to say. Not just houses, cars, money, possessions, politics or physiques—but ambitions, wants, lusts and goals both pursued and achieved. Even an atheist would agree. But God guarantees that some things last forever—human souls, His Word and the reward for being about His business while we’re here. “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us,” Gandalf told Frodo in The Lord of the Rings. Frodo decided to save the world.
You have a day ahead of you—invest wisely.
“Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers of love is Hell.” —C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
People need God’s love and He chose us to lavish it on them. But it isn’t safe—it breaks hearts and leaves scars—such love got Jesus killed. It’s not bottled up among safe friends and it can’t coexist with self-protection. “Love one another as I have loved you.” Now that’s risky.
Go make someone’s day—perhaps even that of your enemy.
A.W. Tozer’s opening line caught me off guard. When the shock wore off, it began to make sense…
“Make sure that you don’t substitute prayer for obedience. Prayer is the oxygen of Christianity, but if we pray without preaching the gospel as we have been commanded to, we are drawing near to God with our lips, but our hearts are far from Him. Make sure you put legs to your prayers and reach out to those who are going to Hell.”
It seems that Bono of U2 agreed…
“Christians who prize “politeness” over candor may end up living a trivialized life. You’ve gotta be very careful that grace and politeness do not merge into a banality of behavior where we’re just nice—sort of ‘death by cupcake.’”
Pray to proclaim.
Three apprentice devils were preparing to come to the earth to finish their apprenticeship. They first spent time talking to Satan about their plans to tempt and ruin men.
The first devil declared “I will tell men that there is no God”
Satan said to him, “That will not delude many, for they know there is a God”
The second devil boasted “I will tell men that there is no hell!”
Satan answered the second, “You will deceive no one that way. Men know even now that there is a hell for sin.”
The third devil thought for a moment, then said, “I will tell men that there is no hurry…”
Satan excitedly told the third “Go! and you will ruin men by the thousands!” (Adapted from William Barclay)
People are dying; Jesus is coming; Christians have eternity; the world doesn’t.
Give ’em heaven, while they still have time.
Victorian preacher C.H. Spurgeon had a way of cutting through Christian excuses…
“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and un-prayed for.”
Some things are worth everything and every effort.
(Painting, “Don’t Let Go” by Daniel Cordova)