Kingdom Principle: You will be a slave to your labor, or servant to your Lord.
Obedience without Submission is a good work in vain.
|Ruth 3:1-5; 4:13-17||Hebrews 9:24-28||Mark 12:38-44|
Jim Elliot – a missionary who gave his life for Christ is quoted as saying, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose”. The Kingdom Principle this week is along the same lines of such truth. Here we see that , “He is a fool to work for what he cannot attain, when he can enjoy what is given for free.”
This week we highlight – the converse of the principle of favor which we have given much attention to previously. A brief review the topic of Favor: 1. You cannot earn Favor – it is given; You cannot posses or retain favor – it possess you. (Post on 10/11/11) 2. Favor is the fruit of faith, and it is a tri-part expression with Credibility & Character. Favor is displayed through wisdom and seen by others in your actions. (Post on 6/19/12) 3. Actions alone do not indicate favor – rather it depends on where your faith is rooted. Favor is a gift from God; however actions can be simple results of your hard work. Favor is indicated in our willingness to give all you have away – Forgiveness, Finances and Freedom. (Post on 6/26/12). Those who appear to have favor, but are unwilling to give it away – have not favor, only fame.
Ruth is living a life of Favor. Surrounding the text of Ruth this week is the high Credibility and Character of Ruth, Naomi and Boaz…. In Mark, The widow (remember Ruth & Naomi are both widows) finds the favor of Jesus, not because she earned it by her act of giving, rather as a result of her faith in what the Lord will give beyond all she has. The Psalm demonstrates how the LORD grants favor, in all aspects of life to those whom he loves, by highlighting the foolishness and vain efforts done without his blessing. Hebrews reminds us of the timeliness of Christ and the fact that His work and life are not fully comprehended on the bases of what is seen in this world. It is in Christ alone, that Kingdom servants place their faith and trust.
If it is not the LORD who is watching over our efforts, then all of it is in vain. Our greatest effort will not reap reward, outside of the LORD’s granting it. Yet – with the LORD’s leading – our efforts are multiplied and we shall have rest in our souls. Ruth at the hand of Boaz reaped more bounty than could have been done by any one person’s labor. The offering of the widow is not in competition with the rich, and the widow will not be put to shame. Christ has taken away the sins of the world…. There is no need to work for such an outcome – it is complete in Christ and he shall return in celebration of the salvation to all who have placed their faith in Him.
When you wake up are you still tired? If so, your life may be being lived in vain. Do you compare your life to others and come up short? If so, your life may be lived in vain. Is there never enough money to meet all the demands? If so, your life may be being lived in vain. Do you worry about the sin & struggle in your daily thoughts? If so, your life may be being lived in vain. Is there suffering in your life, without the justice of the Lord? If so, you life may be being lived in vain.
Kingdom Servants shall not labor in vain, and no part of their life will be without the blessing of the Lord. This life, lived in submission, removes the possibility of our efforts being in vain. Meaning – no effort we put forth shall be without the redeeming purpose of our Almighty God. This being true – we can even go to sleep (when we are tired) and allow the Kingdom to advance without our watching. (Mark 4:26-29) We can be confident in who the LORD has made us to be and see ourselves as He as made us. (Ephesians 2:10) Further we shall not worry about finances; rather we can give in freedom not fear for the Lord will provide for our needs. (Matthew 6:30-33) We are covered by the Blood of Christ….
The applications for living in Favor are found in the previous posts – This week the call is to further recognize what aspects of your life are not marked in submission especially if they are characterized as obedience (review last week)– and to embrace their futility.