Last week we attended my son, Ryan's, graduation from Concordia University in Seward, Nebraska. It was a wonderful affair with pomp, circumstance, and plenty of recognition of hard work. As I sat there beaming with pride over the accomplishments of my offspring, I got to thinking about awards and honors.
It takes three things to receive awards and honors in almost any area of life:
1 - Natural talent, the DNA, the gifts necessary to excel in a given area.
2 - A lot of hard work, hours devoted to a specific task.
3 - A little help from those who give out the honors, that they recognize the achievements.
When those three things come together, buttons pop off the chest, pride swells within the heart, and awards are given and received with much rejoicing. However, when only two of the three happen, there is disappointment and heart ache. For every honor bestowed, there are many that are never given. Hours of hard work go unrewarded, great natural gifts are squandered, high achievement is overlooked, because of subjective human favoritism.
Praise God that such a system does not exist with God. He knew that we are born without the talent necessary to be holy. He knew that we could never stand on His podium on our own. He knew that our best efforts would always fall well short of the criterion necessary for Him to award us with a place in His Kingdom. So, He did the unthinkable. He sent His son away, not to college for 4 years, but to earth for 33 years. Jesus put in the work, achieved the perfection, paid the debt, and ascended to the right hand of the Father - the highest award podium in all creation. Then, our Father in Heaven in His mercy took the diploma and honors Jesus earned and gave them to earth, that all who will receive them through humble faith may also ascend to the place of honor with Jesus.
This Ascension Day, Thursday, take a moment and thank Jesus for ascending the podium for us... AND... for inviting all of us to stand next to Him and receive His eternal honors and awards as our own! You also might want to join me at St. John - Fraser this Thursday at 7pm for a joint Ascension Day Service. I will be the preacher, and we will have mass choirs and all the pomp and circumstance that surrounds the heavenly graduation of Jesus from a job well done in this world to the glory of God's right hand in Heaven!
"This is why it says: 'When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.'"
Don't forget there's homework:
+ How do you respond to Jesus when He calls you to stand on the podium next to Him?
+ Thank God that our heavenly honors are given to us through the hard work of Jesus, and pray that we ask as many as possible to stand with us in Jesu's glory in heaven.
+ Ask God to give His eternal comfort all who suffer and grieve, grant to them the precious life and love of Jesus.
Don't forget to check out the latest sermons and bible studies at HopeWarren.org.
Jesus is our Hope!
+ Pastor John