Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Our valedictory: what will our life's testimony be?
6:00 p.m. Today's project was to get settled back into our home routine, finishing off outside jobs like spraying flies, chopping down ant-infested dead cornstalks, and treating the dogs with fly ointment early in the day. But mainly, I needed to sit down to write up my notes for Thursday's Bible Study.
In I Samuel 12, the Prophet-priest-judge Samuel addresses the people of Israel after their new king, Saul, led them to a major victory over the evil king Nahash and the Ammonites. Spirits were high, and Saul had his formal coronation. (Ch. 11:15) The shy leader who once hid before being anointed before the people in Chapter 10, as well as the naysayers who asked, "How can this man save us?" are now gone. In their place is a confident king acknowledged by all.
Then the chapter takes a turn as Samuel rises to challenge the people with his own testimony. He had been a public figure since he began serving at the tabernacle at Shiloh under Eli at age 3. He began his service in an era of utter corruption and perversion of the priesthood. Yet Samuel could stand and say to the public, "Here I am. Witness against me before the LORD and before His anointed [Saul]: whose ox have I taken, or whose donkey have I taken or whom have I cheated? Whom have I oppressed, or from whose hand have I received any bribe with which to blind my eyes? I will restore it to you." (v. 3) Of course the people said Samuel had done none of these things.
Samuel's testimony was of a life of righteousness before God and man.
In II Timothy 4:6-8, the Apostle Paul states as he nears death in a Roman prison:
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only, but to all those who have loved His appearing.
Paul is not boasting--he is glorying in what God has allowed him, "the least of all the saints," (Ephesians 3:8) to accomplish for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. What will my statement, or yours, be as death approaches? That will not be a day for self-congratulation, but a day for serious reflection.
Did I accept Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord?
Did I put Jesus Christ first in all my thoughts and decisions?
Did I love others as I wish to be loved?
Did my service over the years lead others to know Christ as their Savior, or to love Him more as a result?
Did I represent Christ accurately, giving Him the glory for every victory, no matter how small, and conversely,
Did I speedily take responsibility, confess and repent of any and all wrongdoing?
Intense questions--worthy of intense self-examination--while there is still time!