Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” (Matthew 19:27)
When the prospect of heavenly rewards captures your heart instead of the prospect of the glory of God, your motivation to serve the Lord will be tainted. You might find yourself willing to stop at nothing to do the work you want to do and ignore the work that God wants you to do. To the other extreme, you might be so discouraged by the daunting task of earning what you think you’ll never be able to attain that you will never work at all.
Let us set our motivation right: we do not live for God to earn more favor, we live for God because He has already poured out His favor without measure. We love Him because He first loved us. We serve Him because He first served us. We seek to bring Him glory because He has already promised to glorify us regardless of our performance.
- “For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all,that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15)
“The LORD was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptian master. His master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD caused all that he did to succeed in his hands. So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had.”
The LORD was with Joseph
The Christian’s greatest joy is knowing that his God is with Him. What other god would humble himself to seek the companionship of his servant? What other god would co-labor with those whom he sent to do his work? The Lord alone is God, there is none besides Him, and He has given us overwhelming promises of His perpetual presence.
- Hebrews 13:5 “He has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.'”
- Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
- Psalms 37:28 “The LORD loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever.”
- Genesis 28:15 “Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go…. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
His master saw that the LORD was with Him
God’s presence among His saints is visible to those who are near to them. God is with us, we radiate Him, He is revealed through us as we co-labor with Him.
- Titus 2:9-10 “Slaves are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.”
- Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
- Philippians 2:13-15 “It is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.”
- 2 Corinthians 4:5-6 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
We, even more so than Joseph, can be confident of the Lord’s presence. We have His Word with us always, both Living and written. Let us then rejoice in our relationship with God through Christ–that we have been reconciled to God through Christ’s blood so as to never be separated from Him. Having His presence with us always, let us adorn His doctrine and shine His light so that He can be seen, recognized, and received by those who do not yet know Him.
“On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.’ When he saw them he said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, ‘Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’ And he said to him, ‘Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.'”
As they went they were cleansed
Each of us, if we have believed in Jesus Christ, have been cleansed; we have been healed just like these lepers.
- Acts 15:9 “[God] made no distinction between [Jew and Gentile], having cleansed their hearts by faith.”
- 1 Peter 1:21-22 “Through [Christ you] are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love…
- Isaiah 53:4-6 “He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned–every one–to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
One of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God
The desire of Christ’s heart is that we, like the one Samaritan leper, turn and worship Him for what He has done.
- 1 Peter 2:4-5 “As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
He fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks
Among other things, one way we can offer spiritual sacrifices to Christ is through thanksgiving.
- Hebrews 13:15 “Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.”
- Psalms 50:23 “The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me.”
- Psalms 69:30-31 “I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. This will please the LORD more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs.”
- Psalms 116:16-17 “O LORD, I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant. You have loosed my bonds. I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD.”
Ten lepers were healed, only one returned to worship and offer to Christ the sacrifice of thanksgiving. Since we also have been cleansed and made into a royal priesthood, let us turn to the Lord and worship Him offering spiritual sacrifices which are acceptable to Him.