Our theme for this month: “Understanding Salvation”
Our Bible verse for today: “When you host a banquet, invite those who are poor, maimed, lame, or blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” Luke 14:13-14 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Your actions today affect your future forever.”
In the Gospels Jesus repeatedly taught that our actions in this lifetime affect our future in eternity. In those lessons He wasn’t just talking about placing your faith in Him for the forgiveness of your sins. That is of course the most important action you must take for the sake of eternity. However, His lessons were also about acts of service believers engage in that produce great benefits in eternity. As Bruce Wilkinson said in his great little book “The Life God Rewards”, “Everything you do matters forever”. Your life now is having a direct impact on what your eternity will be like later.
In Luke 14:13-14 we find Jesus having dinner in the home a religious leader. There were many dinner guests, most of them important religious figures, or businessmen, or local officials. They were all being treated to a nice meal by the host, and Jesus was the guest of honor. Jesus used the occasion to teach several important spiritual truths to the guests, but he also had a special one for the host. That’s what we read in the passage above.
Jesus’ point in this lesson was not that the host did wrong by inviting his friends and family members to dinner. Nor, conversely, was the meaning that the only ones who should be treated to such a meal are the down-and-out and the outcasts of society. The larger teaching point was that when we engage in acts of kindness and compassion God will repay us for those actions – but not necessarily in this lifetime. Often the rewards God intends to give to us for such acts are received in eternity. That’s what He meant when He said, “… for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
Bruce Wilkinson writes, “God will repay you for a good deed “after you are dead”. And, “Although your eternal destiny (heaven or hell) is based on your belief, the nature of what eternity in heaven will be like for you is based on your behavior in this lifetime”.
God will bless you for the good deeds you do (especially when you do them for those who cannot repay you), but those blessings often come in heaven not on earth. This is the “storing up treasure for yourselves in heaven …” Jesus talked about in yesterdays devotional.
The subject of rewards earned now in this lifetime, but which will be received later in heaven, is extremely important because it has to do with what all of eternity will be like for us. Therefore we will think more about this tomorrow.