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Friday, March 12, 2010

Day 15: Purpose 2 - Being Part of God's Family

We are now onto the second purpose - being part of God's family.

God created us to be part of his family and this is achieved when we accept Jesus into our lives. So, if you believe Jesus is the son of God you are a child of God and the brother or sister of everyone else who also believes Jesus is the son of God.

The Bible tells us that God provides for you in this life. I'm not sure why Luke 12:23 - 32 isn't quoted, but here it is:

23 For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing. 24 Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds! 25 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? 26 And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?

27 “Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 28 And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

29 “And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things. 30 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs. 31 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.

32 “So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.

And in the next life we will:

  • be with God forever
  • be changed to be like Jesus
  • be free from pain, death and suffering
  • be rewarded and assigned positions of service(?)*
  • share in God's glory
*The idea that we will be given jobs in heaven comes from the Parable of the Three Servants in Matthew Chapter 25. Before going on a trip a man, who has three servants, gives the first servant five bags of silver, the second servant two bags of silver and the last servant one bag of silver. The first two double their money and give the master back ten and four bags of silver respectively. The master's response to both of them is "You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities." The one given one bag of silver buried it in the ground so he wouldn't lose it and so gives the Master only one bag back. The Master goes troppo at him, says "you could have at least put it in the bank to earn interest", and takes the bag and gives it to the first servant with the ten bags of silver.

29 To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. 30 Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

(Gotta love the weeping and gnashing to teeth - very bibilical.)

I really don't think the point of this parable is to tell people they will have jobs in heaven. I think its about spreading God's love and God rewarding those who spread his love and punishing people who hide his love.

I was surprised, however, that putting money in the bank was an option, as I thought the bible was against borrowing and lending money. I was also surprised that the Master is described as "
a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate", particularly as the Master can be interpreted as representing Jesus and theft doesn't seem to me to be something he approves of.

Interestingly, wikipedia presents an alternative interpretation of this parable (see, in which the third servant who hides the money and does not follow the sinful ways of the Master, is the one representing Jesus and the parable is about how Jesus was punished for doing the right thing.

Either way, I think infering from this parable that we will all be given jobs in heaven is a long bow to draw.

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