“What’s the Least I Can Do?” (And Still Get to Heaven)

 "What's the Least I Can Do?" (And Still Get to Heaven)Imagine a preacher and a congregation coming together to talk about working together and everything seems to be going great.  They agree doctrinally, they genuinely like one another as people, and they both have a similar zeal and vision for the future.  As everyone is getting ready to pack things up for the night and head home to a bright new future together the preacher says, “I have just one more question.  What’s the least amount of work I need to do here and still be supported?  What are we talking; one, two sermons a week, a Bible class, maybe a bulletin.  What’s the least I need to do for y’all to be happy with me?”  Immediately, I think we could see and agree that the problem is not so much the question as it is the attitude behind the question.

It’s a preposterous question that we know no one would actually ever ask; right?  The very concept of someone wanting to do the “least amount of work possible” is oftentimes even shameful in our society.  And yet, while sometimes people may not ask the question out loud, we can observe them routinely asking the question through their behavior.  People who seem to constantly/continuously “do” the least possible.  The least they believe to be necessary.  Consider the concept in a few relationships.

Work – The person who shows up late, complains about their job, wants to always go home early, and yet they know they need the job and they know they have to work to pay the bills, but they aren’t going to give their most.  They seem to always be straddling that fine line of doing the absolute least they can do and yet still be employed.

Marriage – What about the spouse that, yes, they don’t drink, or curse, or do drugs, or are abusive, and don’t cheat – all of these things they realize could lead to the destruction of their marriage, but at the same time they do not love, listen, forgive, participate in the marriage the way they truly should?  They seem to always be seeking to give the least they can to the marriage but still remain married.

Parents – What about parents who provide a home for their children but don’t engage their children spiritually? They pay for stuff and take their kids places but aren’t truly involved in “raising” (training) them?

Children – What about children who make it their job to make their parents’ lives difficult? Children who only call on birthdays and holidays? Children who do the least amount of work they can possibly get away with and still be in good standing with their parents. Time and time again we observe people’s actions in these various relationships and identify people who through their actions are saying “What’s the least I can do in this relationship and still have it?” But now, what has God said about all of these?

Children – “Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well- pleasing in the Lord.” (Colossians 3:20)  When are children to honor and obey their parents? Always, and in all ways.  That’s what obedience is. (Jeremiah 35:10 &18)

Parents – “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deut. 6:6-9)

Marriage – “Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. “ (Ephesians 5:22)  “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her…” (Ephesians 5:25)

Work – “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.” (Colossians 3:23) (Of course, this assumes you would work hard for the Lord.)

There is a common thread through each of these relationships and that is that the minimum effort/work God expects of us is our maximum.  It is no different when it comes to our relationship with Him.  “What’s the least I can do and still go to heaven?” There’s actually a verse that tells us that. “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30).

God has given us His everything, and He expects everything from us as well.  Let’s work to love God and proclaim it through good and godly attitude and actions. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” (Matthew 7:21)

David Osteen

What Can We Know About Heaven?

What Can We Know About Heaven?“Now my idea about heaven is …” and then the writer or speaker reveals himself far more than he tells us about heaven. The materialist, sensual, mystical, aesthetic, and surrealist all have a field day with heaven. It is “pie in the sky” to those who ridicule its reality; and an extremely plush “paid vacation” for those who equate “real” with earthly literalism. “Heaven” is a divinely revealed place, state, or condition; and we can know only that which is revealed about it in God’s word. We say “place” with some hesitation, using accommodative language; for “location” is space related, and may lose its literal significance when applied to eternity. But God’s word is directed to time and space related beings, and information about deity and eternity are necessarily couched in terms that translate into mental images. We cannot truly imagine “eternity” or things eternal in nature, so we must expect the Bible to use anthropomorphisms: whereby things of God, totally incomprehensible to mortal man, are described in the time and space terms of man.

Jewish typology finds its final usage here. God built a literal people, a literal nation, through whom His Son would put on flesh and dwell among men. He used these people, a distinct advantage to them, as His vehicle for demonstrating God-to-man dealings (Rom. 3:1f; 9:4-5). Then, as His eternal purpose began to reach its fruition in Christ, the literal kingdom of Israel is seen as a type of His spiritual rule over whosoever will. Christ reigns on “David’s throne,” and is our High Priest “after the order of Melchizedek” (Acts 2:30f; Heb. 6:20f). Scattered Israel finds a “highway” and “returns … in righteousness” (Isa. 10:20f; 35:8f); and all Christians are “Abraham’s seed” or “the Israel of God” (Gal. 3:29; 6:16). It should come as no surprise that heaven is called “New Jerusalem”; and praise to God there is described in Jewish terms: “golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of saints” (Rev. 5:8).

FATHERS DAY

FATHERS DAYThe third Sunday in June each year is Father’s Day – a special day to remember and celebrate earthly fathers. The day also affords an opportunity to reflect on the influence a father has in his home and the blessing of a godly father. In the home, a father has an extraordinarily great and lasting impact on his wife and his children, and his influence extends to eternity as well.

It is truly intriguing how often the Bible employs the word father or some form of the word; such words occur 1718 times in the King James Bible. Certainly, many of these occurrences refer to God and His fatherhood, but the point remains clear – whether in relation to the physical family or the spiritual family of God – that the concept of fatherhood is rich with meaning and value.

Consider some fathers of the Bible. There is Noah (father of Shem, Ham, & Japheth), Abraham (father of Isaac), Isaac (father of Jacob), Jacob (father of thirteen children), Amram (father of Moses, Aaron, and Miriam), and many others. A man who is a father has the opportunity to be a tremendous blessing, in terms of character, strength, and godliness to his family.

Standing in opposition to God’s beautiful portrait of fatherhood in the Bible is description of fatherhood in the present society. In many cases, television shows denigrate fathers and insult the institution of fatherhood. Magazines all too often present fathers as uninvolved in the lives of their families and in fact perhaps distant from them. It is easy to think of children who have little and perhaps even no association with their fathers; that is indescribably sad. Sometimes, fathers are portrayed as expendable and unneeded. Society will continue to suffer when children do not have the influence of a strong father and when fathers do not follow their God-given responsibilities.

We wish a Happy Father’s Day to each father of the congregation and wish for you also to know how much you are appreciated. Let us be thankful for our fathers and consider some passages to aid in appreciating a godly man and a godly father.