Posts tagged ‘reward’

August 17, 2012

Trial by Children

by pastortimfowler

a boy and his steed

As I told you a few weeks ago, God was messing with me, I mean, blessing me with extra children around the house. My wife started baby sitting and we took an international student into our home for the school year. I believe the Bible; all of it. I don’t understand all of it and do have some questions for God when I get there. This verse is one I think I will question: Psalm 127:3 – Children are an inheritance from the LORD. They are a reward from him. A reward? Really?
So with the rewards piling up, I was trying to think about all the things that I must have done right to deserve these rewards. I know that I am an excellent husband and treat my wife better than she deserves. I get up early and fix her coffee. I do dishes and cook and sometimes the other way around. I keep the yard looking as well as could be expected and I am just an all around good guy. But to reward me with children for that? Couldn’t God have just given me a couple of free rounds of golf?
I am a great dad to my own children. A raised them for 18 years and through them out of the nest so that they would learn to fly. Sure they bumped their butts a little, but on the third or fourth bounce, they got it. All of them are out of jail and free of any communicable diseases, as far as I know, and they either have a husband who is like me or are a husband like me. That surely does not deserve more children back in my house does it? How about a fishing trip to the Amazon River in South America? That would be sufficient.
I am an awesome pastor too, just ask the people that I pay to say that who use to go to my church. I tell them that they are going to Hell and how to avoid it. I keep all of my sermons short and stay on point so that no one is forced to wonder what I am talking about. I rarely turn down a opportunity to have people buy my lunch if they want to talk to me and, I let people bring me peach milkshakes from Chic- Fil-A anytime they wish. Does this deserve the reward of children? Hardly. Perhaps an all expenses paid Bible conference in the Bahamas might be more appropriate.
And we can’t forget that I provide almost an endless supply of fantastic and informing blogs that keep you on the edge and have you begging for more. These blogs challenge your minds and imaginations and keep you laughing and therefore bring great joy to many lives daily. But reward me with children? No, I am not worthy. It would be more appropriate to send money to my church and designate it for the pastor’s vacation fund.
Yes, I feel like this may be a trial that I am going through. Perhaps a trial to keep me humble and learn patience. Perhaps a trial to learn to accept blessings of great magnitude, even though I may not deserve them, so I should just accept them. If this is so, I thank God for the rewards, but ask God to scale it back a bit and stick with the simple and less rewarding things like golf and fishing trips.

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November 28, 2011

Expect Versus Demand

by pastortimfowler

Luke 12:48 But the servant who didn’t know what his master wanted and did things for which he deserved punishment will receive a light beating. A lot will be expected from everyone who has been given a lot. More will be demanded from everyone who has been entrusted with a lot.
This verse comes from the teaching of Jesus about an evil servant and a faithful caretaker. It teaches that there are degrees of punishment and reward as well as degrees of responsibility. I want to focus of the last half of the verse that has been italicized.
Yesterday was an awesome day for me. I celebrated my 50th birthday and the highlight, other than spending the day with my wife, was preaching that morning. I love to preach and on those rare years that my birthday falls on a Sunday I had much rather preach than take the day off. This was no different and as always it was special. I usually give my testimony and this was no different and at the end of it when the invitation was given, 3 people accepted Jesus and I now share my birthday with the day that they were born, again.
Being 50 is not much different from being 49. I am sure that will change as the year goes by. I hear that 50 is the new 27, so that is exciting. But 50 does bring a time of reflection or at least it did with me. I sat up Saturday night waiting on midnight to roll around and then I spent some time looking back at what I had done with my life. I realized that I had wasted far too much of it on things that did not matter. So I thought about the things that do matter and found them to be lacking and decided to see if I could change that in the next 50 years. So far, I have done a great job of keeping the things that matter outweighing the things that don’t.
One of the reasons that we don’t do the important things in life is because they matter to other people and there is a huge level of accountability involved. That is what the last half of the verse above says. But notice that even the last half of the verse can be broken into 2 statements. Lets look at them for a minute.
A lot will be expected from everyone who has been given a lot. I believe that there is something that God puts into all of us that says that we should be a compassionate people. I also believe that most people know that there is a God who is responsible for everything that we have. After all, only a fool says in his heart. “there is no God”. I also believe that God has an expectancy of those whom he created to be responsible with the things they have. If you have a lot, you have a lot expected of you. I believe those who have a lot will be judged more harshly than those who do not. I think that there is that teaching in this story where this verse comes from. I believe that this is talking to people who do not have a relationship with God of their Father.
The second half, More will be demanded from everyone who has been entrusted with a lot, I believe he is talking to those who know Jesus as Savior and God as Father. Here is why. It uses the word entrusted verses the word given. I did a study on these two words and found that given, as used here, is most commonly used when speaking of giving servants their work load. The word entrust is most commonly used when giving an inheritance or a trust to a family member. God therefore entrusts those who are His children with a task far more important that those who are merely slaves. The good name of the family is at stake and that is why more will be demanded of us.
Now here is the difference in two more words. Expect versus demand. Expecting comes with an uncertainty of accomplishment. Demands come with a certainty of accomplishment. If you have high expectations of a new college graduate quarterback to become a great pro quarterback and he fails, he didn’t live up to expectations. If he makes the team and is made the starting quarterback, the team then demands his continued best.
In that context, you can think of someone blessed with much but not knowing God as Father as being expected to do what is right, but those who know God as Father, are demanded to use what they have been entrusted with to protect the good name of the Lord.
I want to spend my next 50 years meeting the demands of what I have been entrusted with; The good news that Jesus loves and saves those who are lost.