Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Elimination

A Previous Elimination Scene from the TV Show MasterChef Junior
As we were sitting down yesterday watching one of our favorite TV shows, MasterChef Junior, I watched as the contestants approached for the elimination scene. Being brought forward, and separated into two groups, they were unaware of their outcome.

Am I going home?

Am I staying?
Did I do enough?
Did I not mess up too much?

They were either going to exhale in relief, and walk back to their station to fight another day, or they would be asked to depart. Either their journey would continue, or it would end. Yet this moment, while stressful I'm sure, pales in comparison to what awaits each of them in the future; each of us.

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.' (Matthew 25:31-34 ESV)
Wow! That is one elimination challenge I want to win!

So after this news, what did the sheep do, the ones on His right that inherited the kingdom? Did they, like the ones from so many reality shows after an elimination, breathe a sigh of relief? Did they go celebrate, cheer, or even gloat? Did they walk away with a sense of pride? Did they sit and ponder with understanding what they accomplished? Actually, not at all. In fact Jesus even told them why they were selected. He said when I was hungry, thirsty, estranged, naked, sick, or in prison, that you fed me, gave me something to drink, welcomed me, clothed me, visited me, and came to me.

Yet when they heard this news, they did not smile and feel prideful, accomplished, or even recognize such praise. They had no understanding of what they did. They essentially looked at the Judge, and said: "Really? When? When did I do this? I didn't even know I did!"

And I'm guessing you may remember how He responded? Jesus said that when they did those things for the least of these, they did it for Him.

And they didn't even know.

They didn't know because they weren't trying to earn. Their eye was not on the works, though the works mattered, their eye was on their King and His commands. The real prize. Their love for the Lord naturally overflowed into works.

And those to His left? The goats? I will let you read on your own what happens at this elimination ... 

So what do we do with this information? Do we wonder if we are a sheep or goat? Do we wait and see? Do we take confidence in our salvation? Do any of these ways of thinking lead to us doubting our salvation? Do any of these ways of thinking lead to false pride, false hope, and ultimately a false truth?

I have come to a place where my salvation is not my focus; Jesus is my focus. Jesus will work out everything, I need not ponder. He is Just. Besides, I'm not here on this planet to spend my life working out my salvation, I'm here to do His Will. He commanded me to go and make disciples, so I suppose that is what I should do.

So rather than feel bad about the goats, and live a life trying to make sure I'm not one of the goats, how about I introduce a goat to Jesus, and give them an opportunity to switch sides. How about I spend time being what He called me to be. How about I spend time living life with crazy faith. How about I get off the balance beam and take a chance ...

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