The Cling-worthy Christ

I’ve been reading today in 1 Kings 12 about Jeroboam, the first king of Israel once the kingdom was divided after Solomon’s death.  This man Jeroboam had no royal lineage.  He had been a common man serving under King Solomon, recognized for his diligence and promoted to a position of responsibility.  But God had other plans for him and sent a prophet to tell him of his future as king of ten tribes of Israel.  Upon the death of Solomon, Jeroboam came forward to claim what God had promised to him and he began to reign over ten tribes just as the Lord had told him.

But Jeroboam was fearful that this position would be taken from him, and that if the people returned to Jerusalem to worship the Lord that their hearts would turn back to Rehoboam, king of Judah.  To remedy this he had two golden calves setup – one in Bethel and one in Dan – and he installed priests at these high places that were not from the tribe of Levi.  In order to protect his kingdom, he led a whole nation into idolatry.  One must wonder why he felt the need to do this since the kingdom had been given to him by God.  Did he not believe that God was able to establish and protect the throne that He had placed Jeroboam upon?

But is it not human nature…can we not see it in ourselves at times… grasp and greedily cling to things, and to utilize whatever means are available to retain them?

Our ministry….our gifting….our position…..our reputation….all our little kingdoms that we desperately cling to and fight to protect lest someone tear them from our hands.  And the tighter our grip becomes the more obvious is the ugliness of our covetous heart. And the closer we are to idolatry.

But how beautiful to have this heart, as John the Baptist, “a man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven” (John 3:27).  Faithfully treasuring those things entrusted to us now, but holding them loosely.  That which we have today could be gone tomorrow, and if we have placed our hope in anything but the Lord Jesus Christ we will find ourselves clinging to things that are unworthy of such attention and devotion.  The only thing we should cling to is Jesus.  He alone is cling-worthy.

Poured out and spent

Philippians 2:17 Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.

2 Corinthians 12:15  And I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved.

These verses characterize not only the Apostle Paul’s  labors for The Lord, but the essence of his life. Poured out and spent. Paul was all in to give all out. Doing without, suffering want and personal hardship, enduring rejection and loneliness …. he lived with reckless abandon for the glory of Jesus only.  I wonder how many times this man’s heart had been absolutely broken by betrayals, by false accusations, by rejections; and yet still his life was one poured out and spent.

At some point early on I would have been tempted to throw in the towel – “I’m done with you people!” – and find a wilderness where it could be just me and Jesus.   But the blood of Jesus was poured out and the body of Jesus was spent…for people.

If we are going to seek and save the lost (which we are called to do) and if we are going to be the body of Christ (which we are called to be) then it might be good to go ahead and settle it in our hearts now – we will at times be betrayed, accused, and rejected by those we are trying to lead to Jesus and by those we are following Him with.   It’s all part of a life poured out and spent.   But there is abundant grace available to us in Christ so that we can love when hated, bless when cursed, do good when treated poorly.  We are without excuse. So let us love one another fervently, even when we don’t deserve it.  And let us love the lost with a heart filled with compassion even when they hate us for it.  And let us be poured out and spent for our Lord Jesus Christ.