How to be a better person? # 33 – FIND SOMETHING SPECIAL AND DO IT!

Jesus on one occasion said, “the Kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls.  When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it” (Mt. 13:45-46).
Take a moment and see whether there is something you are looking for or perhaps you already have it and do not know you do?  I have been a very blessed merchant.  My find of finds was falling into the Lap of Jesus when no one else had a place for me.  When I went to Princeton to study Hebrew, I found a ruby (my wife).  Together we have collected costly pearls (our children and grandchildren).  These valuables have to be maintained with care.  To do so, I am on the lookout for nuggets that I can feed them with and even those that read my Blog.  These bits of insight or wisdom assist us in being better persons. 
When we have been in the Christian ministry for some time, we expect the same things.  A life-long friend on fire, for a certain minister, stopped attending church for the reason that his sermons were the same with different titles.  Recently, when the pastor announced his text of Luke 10, I though I knew what he was going to say.  I too had preached on Jesus sending out the seventy-two missionaries.  Foremost, I had come not to expect anything else but hear the Words of Life, good singing and some fellowship.  Way into his sermon, the pastor popped a nugget.  He took Jesus’ criticism of the inflated ego of his disciples and turned it into a commendation.  The good they did, caused “Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” Every time Christians honor God with what they do Satan trembles.  I asked myself, “Am I causing Satan concern to tremble?”
Years ago, A student of mine was being ordained.  He had been a retired public school principle and prominent Christian.  It was before a public hearing of delegates from different churches.  My fellow delegate made me feel uneasy when he asked my student the candidate the question regarding the devil.  I thought the candidate had answered correctly when he said, “He does not bother me.” I no longer believe that this was the right answer.  The delegates were pleased because a Christian can resist the devil and he will flee (Ja. 4:7).  Friend, if Satan no longer bother’s me, then I must be dead, both physically and spiritually. 
Let me tell you another story.  A sassy young lady joined the choir.  Her rolling eyes hit one of the younger deacons and a scandal developed rapidly.  Piercing arrows of accusations divided the congregation.  People took sides and defended their own.  There was no reconciliation in the making.  By removing the deacon and excommunicating him and the woman could empty half the church.  The devil was doing an outstanding job of wrecking a good fundamental church.  The pastor, fresh out of Seminary, called in the deacon board without the trespasser.  All except an old deacon decided to take the loss and purify the church.  They insisted that he tell them why he was against removing the sinners from their church that were giving them a bad image to the world.  The old deacon with tears in his eyes replied, “If I had been in his shoes I might have fallen deeper.”
My point is not really my nugget.  The old deacon saved the church because they could forgive and be reconciled.  That is how Christians prove to the world that they are different when tragic mistakes occur.  The great find is the ability to forgive and be reconciled.  Paul had a case when the son violated his father’s marriage vows with his stepmother (I Cor. 5:1-5).  Paul urged the church to forgive the son when he repented and the reason was, “in order that Satan may not outwit us” (II Cor. 2:10).  It is tragic when we let one mistake ruin our life.  The argument that there is no difference between one and many mistakes is bad logic (Ja. 2:10).  Of course, the first mistake is the most difficult one and those that follow hope that grace shall abound (Ro. 6:1-2).  We must stop with the first mistake.  If we continue in sin, we become a tool of Satan.  Particularly, people that think they are strong in the faith should watch their back.  Take Peter, after proclaiming Jesus as the Christ, he hindered Jesus from completing His mission and the Lord recognized Satan working in the Apostle (Mt. 16:13-23).  Jesus had to pray for Peter to get Satan off his back (Lk. 22:31).
Satan had a great victory when Christians stopped rewarding grace with good works.  What an accomplishment it was for the devil when all one had to do to be saved was believe.  James saw through the farce and pointed out that, “faith without deeds was dead” (Ja. 2:14-24).  We are justified by what we do and not just by what we believe.  Faith should lead us to good deeds because they make the devils tremble (Ja. 2:19).  The good we do on earth as Christians is the fruit of our salvation and these deeds follow us into eternity (Rev. 14:13).  In Acts 9:36-43, we have a story about Tabitha or Dorcas and both names mean swift as a “gazelle.”  She was a disciple of Jesus and spent her life helping the poor.  She wore herself out and died.  The people heard that Peter was nearby and begged him to come and see the lady of good works before she was put to rest.  Peter was overwhelmed by the widows that surrounded him and showed him some of the sowing Tabitha had done for them.  Now there was no one to carry on her work.  Peter, in the Spirit of Christ, commanded her to get up and she did.  Christ gave back her life so she could continue to tremble the devil.  King Hezekiah was granted fifteen more years to do God’s work (II Kin. 20:6).  I, too, have had fifteen years added to my life when the Oncologist informed my wife and I that I could not be cured.  At that time, I turned to Ephesians 1:4 and read, “For He chose us in Him (Christ) before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight.”  How are we to do that?  Jesus put in these words, “let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Mt. 5:16).  God saved us in Christ and not we ourselves to do good works on earth and not in heaven (Eph. 2:10).  Upset the devil by doing something special!