Dr. C. S. Lovett’s
MARANATHA FAMILY NEWSLETTER
WHAT MOTIVATES YOUR HEART?
"Dr. Lovett, a radio minister said it didn't matter how late in life you start serving the Lord, we can receive the same reward as the person who served the Lord all his life. My 83-year old grandmother is just now getting 'on fire' for Jesus and I'd like to encourage her—if this is really so."
IS THIS REALLY SO?
Once when Jesus was explaining how things work in the Kingdom of Heaven, He used an amazing parable. We find it in Matthew 20. It has to do with a peculiar businessman, one who didn't run his business like men of the world. He hired people for their advantage rather than his own. You've got to admit that is not the way of the world today.
Our story opens with this man in the marketplace hiring workers for his vineyard. He finds plenty of idle men there and contracts with them for a day's wage. Then he sends them into his fields. There’s nothing odd about that. We watch as he goes back at a later hour of the morning. Finding more idle men, he hires them too. But this time he makes no contract with them, promising only to do right by them.
Things get a little strange when he goes back at noon and in the afternoon, and does the same thing. There are roughly 12 working hours in the Palestine area, so when he returns to the marketplace toward evening, looking for more men, we have to wonder what he's up to. Again he finds more men and sends them into the vineyard too.
As daylight fades, the workers are called in and made to line up at the pay table. But see who's first in line—the ones hired last. They hold out their hands. To their great surprise they receive a full day's wages! They likely thought the paymaster had made a mistake, but of course he hadn't. This is exactly what the land owner ordered.
ABOUT THOSE HIRED FIRST?
Here come those who started early in the morning. They expect to receive more, naturally. After all, they've labored all day. But when the money is placed in their hands, they stare at it in unbelief—it's just the same as those who were hired last!
"Not fair!" they cry. "We want our rights!" they demand. If this happened today, they'd hurry off to a grievance committee or start a protest march. The news media would cover the event. Can't you just see them shaking their fists into the cameras and calling the vineyard owner names?
"Why are you men upset? I gave you what we agreed upon. l did you no wrong. If I want to give these men the same as you, what is that to you? It's my money. It's my own business what I do with it."
This raises a question: If he didn't pay them on the basis of how hard they worked, or how long, or how well—what's left? Ah, their motive in serving him. Bear in mind this is one of "THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS LIKE UNTO" parables. The landowner represents God in this teaching and one thing stands out above everything else—God doesn't do things the way the world does. That is clearly seen in the way these men were paid. God is right in saying, "My ways are not your ways" (Isa. 55:8-9).
GOD IS AFTER HEARTS THAT TRUST HIM
Those workers who went into the field late knew the odds were against them. They were thrilled to have a job and trusted the owner to do right by them. Their motives were different from those who had settled on a price for their work. They were a lot like Peter when He asked, "Lord what do we get as a reward for all we've given up for you?" (Matt.19:27).
Remember when Peter asked that? It sounds almost like he wanted an agreement, a guaranteed return of his investment in the Lord. The Lord told him not to be concerned, that God was fair and he'd get plenty. This truth stands out in the parable—we must all trust God to do what is right, because He is fair.
Some are going to be surprised at how much they receive at the judgment. Some will be stunned at how little they get. But one thing is clear—God is not concerned solely with the amount of work we do for Him, the zeal with which we do it, or the length of our service. It will be our motive in serving Him that will count most. And that will be revealed at the Judgment. Just as the worker's hearts were revealed at the pay table, so will ours be exposed at the Judgment Seat of Christ. As Paul says, "On that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus" (Rom. 2:16).
Don't misunderstand me. God expects us to be faithful; to use our talents and be zealous in serving Him, but we are not to appear before the Judgment Court thinking He owes us anything. Instead, we should be thankful He has allowed us to do anything for Him.
THE BIG LESSON OF THE PARABLE
Those raised in Christian homes, who have been taught early to pray and master the Word and whose talents have been harnessed for Jesus, seemingly have the advantage. They get into the vineyard early, growing up and serving the Lord with their whole lives. On the surface they appear to have a head start over those coming into the field late in life.
But do they? Not at all. God's fairness rewards those late workers who have trusting hearts and their motives are right in what they do for Him. Why? Because God looks on the heart, not just the time in the field (1 Sam.16:7). He is after hearts that care about Him; hearts that want to please Him. For this reason a housewife can end up with the same reward as Billy Graham, or a faithful janitor richer than Pat Robertson. Thus, we find a person going into the vineyard late in life can end up just as well as the one who has served all his life. Why? A heart commitment is not measured in time, but by the degree of one's surrender.
Should someone think this unfair, the Lord would answer in the words of the parable, "Are you jealous because I am generous? In your pride, do you think you deserve more than someone else?" Such an attitude would make that person have his heart exposed at the pay table. This is why Jesus said, "The first shall be last and the last shall he first" (Matt. 19:30).
So you see, the big names of Christianity do not necessarily inherit the biggest rewards. The meek and humble, those who know they don't deserve anything, yet are ready to trust God to be fair—may well receive greater rewards. They may look like the last in this world, but they'll be first with God. They may go all through this life serving at the last hour, yet end up with riches beyond anyone's dreams (1 Cor. 2:9).
SO DON'T HOLD BACK
You may not be as old as this dear reader, but she's an example of what I've been saying: "Dr. Lovett, you've been such a blessing to me. I'm a widow of 85. I live alone in my mobile home. Only recently have I seen the need to get busy and do something for Jesus. I can't do much, but do go to the neighborhood store and I can leave a tract in the news rack outside the door and in the telephone booth. Also I go to the beauty parlor once a month and can place some in the magazines there. It's not much, but maybe the Lord will be pleased with it. I don't expect any reward, I just want to help others find the joy I have found."
In the light of the Lord's words, do you think she will be sorry she got busy for Jesus at such a late date? No way. She didn't deliberately wait until the last minute to serve the Lord. The course of her life just worked out that way. When she stands before the Lord in the Day of Judgment, she'll be astonished when she sees what her last-minute obedience earned for her.
God is eager to reward you even if you don’t get going for Him until later in life. If your heart keeps right . . .
IT’S NEVER TOO LATE!
C. S. Lovett
(EDITED BY MARJORIE LOVETT)
© 2018 Personal Christianity. All rights reserved.
HEROES OF THE FAITH—ABRAHAM
“Acting on faith alone, Abraham obeyed the call of God when told to leave his own country and go into a land which God promised to give him. Without any idea as to where he was going, this man left the security of his home to follow the leading of God. Finally, when Abraham arrived in the land which was promised to him, he lived in it by faith. Since he didn’t own a foot of it, he had to wander about, dwelling in tents, along with Isaac and Jacob, who in turn, received the same promise from God. Actually though, Abraham was just passing through this world. He was really waiting for God to bring him into that city which has foundations, whose designer and builder is God Himself” (Heb. 11:8-10 Lovett’s Lights).
So special is the place that Abraham occupies in God’s program for redeeming mankind that he is called “the father of all who believe.” Inasmuch as we do not know how God revealed Himself to Abel, Enoch and Noah, we can say the first recorded face-to-face revelation began with Abraham. It is with him that we learn that faith in God’s Word makes a person righteous in God’s sight. His plan for saving people became evident with Abraham. It was announced that the gathering of the family of faith would begin with the call of Abraham to separate himself from the world and live only on the promises of God. As we watch this man trust God, we learn how faith works. We see why he is the supreme example of faith for all time. God appeared to Abraham as he lived in the pagan city of Ur in Mesopotamia. He told him he was going to take him and make of him a huge blessing to the entire world. But to do this, it would be necessary for him to leave his homeland and journey to a place God would show him later on. By faith, this dear man put his family, friends, business, career and security behind him and plunged into the desert, not knowing where this step of faith would take him. As far as he was concerned, his life was in God’s hands. He shoved off into the unknown simply because he believed what God had said. What faith that must have taken. No wonder God was so pleased with him. But that was just his first step of faith.
When Abraham reached the Promised Land, none of it was his, except a grave site which he bought from the inhabitants. Though it was all his by promise, he had to live in it as an alien. What a test after having been assured by God that the land was his. Often it is hard to wait on God than it is to work for Him. Abraham had to wait ten years even before God gave him the next step in the plan. It must have been rough to come into the land and have nothing happen. Yet Abraham didn’t waver in faith. The enthusiasm that was his when he first left Ur stayed with him. His faith burned brightest when there was nothing to do but wait. How could that be? Ah, Abraham’s expectations went beyond a piece of real estate. Apparently the original promise to him contained the idea of God’s eternal family, the company of the redeemed. He must have been told that he would play a key role in bringing it into being. Along with that revelation must have come some instruction concerning the fellowship God had planned for those who come to Him by faith. We gather this from Jesus’ own words, “Abraham rejoiced to see My day!” (John 8:56). There—that was the secret of Abraham’s patience. He saw, by faith, the future fellowship that the people of God were to enjoy. Our writer says that Abraham saw a city, a celestial city that God had built for His people. With the eye of faith fixed on that city, he was ready to abandon this world and live on the promises of God.
Excerpt from the book, Let Your Spirit Soar by C. S. Lovett
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