Devotional for Monday, April 6, 2020

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” (I Peter 1:3-5)

There is so much in these three verses!  We are born again by God’s grace through faith in Jesus who died for us and raised to life again thereby giving us a sure and eternal inheritance with Him in heaven, in which we hope joyously and praise God abundantly!  But let’s focus this morning on the fact that our inheritance (as sons and daughters of God and as co-heirs with Christ through faith) is eternal, always new, and sealed in heaven itself, protected by God Himself.  And what is this inheritance?  It is our salvation into eternity with God, who knows us as His children and as His friends; to those He rejects He will say, “I never knew you.  Away from me, you evildoers.”  The inheritance also includes the rewards spoken about based on how we handle the tasks and talents we’ve been given by God.  These are all imperishable things, waiting for us in heaven!  It reminds me of when I was moving to college from Japan to the U.S., because it was probably the first time in my life when I looked in my box of personal trinkets and belongings that I had saved up over my life and decided that I wasn’t attached to them like I had been up to that point.  Before I could change my mind, I started giving it away to my siblings, and I don’t think I ever seriously regretted it.  It wasn’t much, but it felt as if I had loosened chains from this earth.  I had the same feeling when I got rid of all my furniture when I moved from Kansas to Maryland many years ago.

Personal belongings are the obvious example of how we can be too attached to our earthly life and be distracted from keeping the main thing the main thing.  But what are the sneaky things that we don’t notice?  This coronavirus lockdown is revealing something about me that I knew before but wasn’t realizing the impact.  I can easily get caught up in my work, to the detriment of people.  That is, I can be a Martha; I can prioritize work for someone than the actual someone.  Even this week I had to ask myself, if I were to die next week, how much of my work would survive?  And then, how much would survive eternally?  I was able to finish Through Gates of Splendor this past week, and was blessed by the fact that the five men who were killed while trying to bring the gospel to killers never looked back.  Jim Elliot said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”  Nate Saint said, “When life's flight is over, and we unload our cargo at the other end, the fellow who got rid of unnecessary weight will have the most valuable cargo to present to the Lord.”  The five wives said when discussing the possibility of becoming widows, “What would we do?  God gave us peace of heart, and confidence that whatever might happen, His Word would hold….  God and His work held first place in each life.  It was the condition of true discipleship; it became devastatingly meaningful now.”  Would we really “give my final breath to know You in Your death and resurrection” as we sang during Home Group?  How can we keep God and His work first place in our lives?  How can we see heaven as our home, not earth?  It may come a tiny bit easier for me as a missionary kid – for a while when people asked me where I was from (something no MK ever knows how to answer), I would respond, “from heaven,” but that seemed to confuse people even more!  But perhaps we as citizens of heaven are meant to confuse!  I really appreciate Robert sharing that song with us (“In Exile” by Thrice) because I think singing is one of the awesome ways we can build a longing for and focus on our real home.  And it reminded me of one of my very favorite songs growing up, which I’ve labeled “The Seven-Layered Song” because it is a compilation of different choruses talking about our deep longing to be with Jesus.  (I’ve included the tunes as links in case anyone wants to join me in singing it someday.)

The Seven-Layered Song

Mine, mine, mine, Jesus is mine -
Mine when I’m weary; mine when I’m dreary;
Mine, mine, mine, Jesus is Mine.
Jesus is always...  

Wonderful, wonderful, Jesus is to me,
Counselor, Prince of Peace, Mighty God is He.
Saving me, keeping me, from all sin and shame;
Wonderful is my Redeemer; praise His Name! 

Precious Name, oh, how sweet!
Hope of earth and joy of Heav’n;
Precious Name, oh, how sweet!
Hope of earth and joy of... 

Heaven is a wonderful place,
Filled with glory and grace.
I want to see my Savior's face 'cause
Heaven is a wonderful place! 

But until then my heart will go on singing;
Until then with joy I'll carry on -
Until the day my eyes behold the city,
Until the day God calls me home. 

This world is not my home; I'm just passing through!
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.
The angels beckon me from Heaven's open door,
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore! 

O Lord, you know I have no friend like you!
If Heaven's not my home, then Lord what will I do?
The angels beckon me from Heaven's open door,
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore!

Posted by Luke Ellison on 4/6/2020


Thanks, Luke. The so-called, "necessary stuff" in the house piles up - so easy to accumulate and why so hard to throw away. Your words remind me of the joy of unloading much of this "necessary" pile when we moved to Virginia after retiring from the army. I couldn't believe how much of the stuff that we thought we needed actually needed to be thrown away.

For me now, it's not only my stuff that I need to unload, it's mainly what I deem to be my "necessary" time. Filling my days with only what counts for Christ is the challenge of my life and will be to the end. It is actually very comforting to know that as we age, we'll never have to retire from good work nor be afraid of it.

Henry Jung on 4/6/2020 at 8:57 AM

Thank you Luke — fascinating question. If I were to die next week, how much of my work would survive meaningfully?

I like you am prone to prioritize projects and work over people that the work is meant to serve. What a good reminder!

I shared on Friday and with some of the leaders that I am sort of relationally “illiterate” in many ways — please ask Tammy if you need more insight into that :) — and it’s scary at times to think about that and seeing if God will help me grow in those areas. It’s a big blind spot if mine, and need grace and prayers of the church to grow in my ability to be a good, thoughtful, loving friend, unto the gospel and great commission.

Robert Han on 4/6/2020 at 12:08 PM