Well Done

I’ve been thinking lately about the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30, specifically verse 21 where the master says to the slave, “Well done, good and faithful servant … enter into the joy of your master.”

Most of us who have been believers for awhile long to hear Jesus speak those words to us:  “Well done, good and faithful servant … enter into the joy of your Master.”  Although there are no tears in heaven, I have trouble imagining hearing those words and not welling up.  To know that He sees us, and that our actions have influenced eternity and brought pleasure to Him … is there anything more satisfying?

But I’m rethinking that scene in heaven just a bit.  Oh, I still believe that God wants us to be good stewards of what He’s given us, and I believe that He will reward those who follow Him faithfully.  But I’ve also been thinking about the reality of heaven.  And I wonder …

… when my eyes are open to see an explosion of colors that I had never imagined before, and I am in view of the throne that is surrounded by a rainbow like an emerald in appearance, and I am faced with creatures unlike any I ever encountered on earth, and

… when the silence of death gives way to the sounds and peals of thunder at the throne of God, and I hear elders, living creatures, and myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands of angels saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing,” and

… when I see that the response of all who have been in the presence of the Mighty One before me is to fall on their faces in extravagant and passionate worship, and

… when my mind is opened to understand life’s mysteries, and I see how many times I was protected from calamity, how my “good days” were divine shielding from the raging forces of hell, how what I thought were unanswered prayers were actually the most merciful blessings of God, and how God intricately wove His plan for my life among the threads of billions of others whom He loved uniquely and fervently, and

… when my heart feels it will burst with gratitude, awe, and wonder because of the selfless love of the One who rescued me so that I could have eternal life,

I wonder,

… what will I say?

… will I be waiting for words of affirmation from my Master?

I think it is possible, instead, that I will follow the example of the elders, the creatures, and the myriads of myriads of people, and I will fall on my face.  And when I see the intricacies of His plan, after I have shouted “Holy!” and “Worthy!”, perhaps I will look at my Savior, as wondrous praise erupts from my heart, and say,

 

… “Well done, Jesus!  Well done, You faithful servant of the Most High God!”

 

And I will gladly take my place among the heavenly throng and offer Father, Son, and Holy Spirit my wholehearted devotion for all eternity.

 

“He has done all things well; He makes even the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.” – Mark 7:37

 

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One Word

“What’s your word for the year?”  I have a number of friends who, instead of making New Year’s resolutions, faithfully choose one word to characterize their year.   Perhaps the word is something true about them that they want to be reminded of, like “chosen” or “clean”.  Maybe the word is an area they would like to grow in, such as “forgiveness” or “dependability”.   As they go through the year they can see God do work in their lives in that specific area.

I’ve never done this.

I’m not against the idea.  I believe it’s a worthy pursuit.  I just have never had a word captivate me enough to want to focus on it for the whole year.  It could be because I see so many areas of my life that require growth and attention that I can’t narrow it down to one.  Or it could be that I know myself well enough to know that the thing that seems pressing in early January may be long forgotten by May.  Regardless, I’ve never felt compelled to join in the exercise.

Until now.

I was recently reading an article by Ann Voskamp that caught my attention.  (It was reposted by my friend Pamela Haddix on her blog Worship and the Word which you should definitely check out!)  Ann brilliantly presented a word that was so compelling that I am inclined to make it my word for the year.

  • … it’s a word that captivates my attention like no other
  • … it’s a word that reminds me who I am and where I stand in this world
  • … it’s a word that brings attention to where my priorities are and where they should be
  • … it’s a word that causes the chaos in my life to hush
  • … it’s a word that commands attention where it is due
  • … it’s a word that silences storms and moves mountains
  • … it’s a word that makes demons tremble and sends them cowering

I’m not sure how I’ll do having a “word for the year”.  But anything that will keep me coming back to the name of Jesus has got to be worth trying.

O Holy Child

On Christmas Eve, Andorra and I sang a duet at our church service. I had written the song O Holy Child as I was thinking about the incredible truth that the Jesus in the manger was the same Jesus who went to the cross, rose from the dead, and reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords.  Our friend Elise shared a really encouraging story with us about what God was doing in her life and what the song meant to her.  It all started when she was teaching preschool Sunday school one morning …

“One of the things on their curriculum for the morning was to practice O Come Let Us Adore Him for the kids’ program.  It was pretty quickly apparent that most of them weren’t familiar with (or not that interested in) the song, and when I asked if they knew what it meant to adore someone there were blank stares.

“Then I asked, ‘What do you do if you go to someone’s house to meet a brand new baby for the first time?’  That was something they had authority to speak on, apparently, because everyone launched in with great enthusiasm: ‘We hold the baby!  We snuggle it! We smell the baby! I want to rub its head!  We kiss it and snuggle it…’  So we talked about what we would do if we were in the stable meeting baby Jesus – same kinds of answers, of course, and suddenly adore was a thing in their minds.

“I was undone. I have sung that song and even imagined being at the manger-side for years…always with a fairly formal, distant, serious attitute of worship. Suddenly these children had shown me another (I think better) way.  Snuggle in. Kiss Him.  Smell Him. Hold Him.  Even as He comes and draws near to us in ways most unimaginable.

“So all that has been tumbling through my head and heart as we prepared for Chistmas this year.  And Christmas Eve your song tied it all together.  Surprising, unexpected Jesus.  Dirt and Hay and Holiness mingled together in that unassuming place.  And we come to adore and praise and worship God-With-Us. And suddenly the ‘program’ was worship and I didn’t want the song to end.  Even now it brings me to tears. Thanks friends, for being vessels of worship and ushering us into His presence!”

O Holy Child, O Sovereign King
Son of the Most High God, Lord of everything
O let our praises rise to You as angels sing
O Holy Child, O Sovereign King