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Gifts and Wages

Gifts and Wages

We’re continuing our walk through the book of Romans.  Paul is using Abraham as an example of the faith that brings righteousness.

Paul explains…

Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation.  However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.

Romans 4:4-5

This is something that we need to come to grips with as believers.  We need to understand the difference between wages and gifts.

As Paul says, wages are obligations.  I do some sort of work and the person I do it for is obligated to pay me.  It’s a very simple concept.

However, the blessings of God, righteousness included, are not wages.  They’re gifts of God’s grace.

Wages are earned.  Before I even start, I know exactly how many hours I need to work to make $1000.  Then, if they don’t pay me, I can take legal action and demand my wages.

This is something that was very hard for me to learn.  I remember an incident that happened very early in my marriage.  I’ll try to shorten the story.

After we had been married a few years, the Lord called my wife and I to move from Boston, the area we grew up in, to Baltimore.  There was a ministry there that the Lord was using to train us.

While living down there, we experienced some financial hardships.  At one point, both our cars had broken down and we had no money to fix them.  We had to borrow a car that was not ours, just to get to work each day.

One Sunday, during that time, someone got up at church to give a praise report.  He explained how he had just learned about tithing a few weeks ago.  He then started to tithe 10% each week.

Since then, a few weeks, he had been amazingly blessed.  Someone gave him a car (he already had two).  Someone else decided to give him a huge sum of money.  He exclaimed, “See what tithing does.  Now I’m Faith Man!!”

You have to understand my thought process listening to him.  My parents had taught me to tithe when I was a teenager.  I had been tithing faithfully for my entire life since then.

When you look at the blessings of God as wages, life can get very frustrating.  I got mad at God.  “What gives?  He’s only been tithing a few weeks.  Where’s my blessing?”

I’ve since learned the mature view of God’s New Covenant grace.  The blessings of God are based upon a combination of faith, obedience, and the lessons God is currently teaching me.

Once we understand that the Lord purchased these gifts on the cross, it’s easier to receive them.  I don’t get mad and frustrated looking at what others are doing and receiving.  I can actually rejoice when other people are blessed, even if I need the same thing they just received.

David understood it.

David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.

Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.”

Romans 4:6-8

Righteousness is simply one of the many gifts that God has for His children.  I can’t work for it or earn it.  So, don’t frustrate yourself trying to be good enough.  Let the Holy Spirit do His work in you.

Question: How have you been frustrated trying to earn God’s gifts?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2020 in Encouragement, Faith, Legalism, Spiritual Walk

 

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Are You Comfortable?

HammockAre you comfortable where you are in life right now? Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Too often we get comfortable and that turns into complacency. It’s never God’s plan for us remain at one level for very long.

We can see this illustrated in the lives of the Israelites. When they were on their way to the promised land, they stopped in the shade of a mountain as God directed. But not long after that, the Word of the Lord came to Moses.

The LORD our God said to us at Horeb, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain.”
Deuteronomy 1:6

Mountaintops are great! It’s one of my favorite parts of hiking. To stand on a mountain or ridge top and survey the vast beauty all around me makes the entire climb worth it. I wish I could stay there forever just taking in the scene before me.

It’s like that in our Christian walk as well. When we’re going through challenging times, we want to be done with it quickly. We have no problem moving on to an easier time of life.

But when we arrive at a spiritual high, we’d like it to go on forever. It’s easy to just sit back and enjoy the blessings of God. We’d like to just put our lives on “auto-pilot” and cruise along undisturbed.

One of the reasons I like mountains in the natural, is that the mountaintop brings a kind of clarity. You can see where you came from and where you’re going. This view gives you an understanding of the area that is unobtainable any other way.

Unfortunately, no matter how good the view is, there comes a time when I have to move on. Life is the same. There are events that you never want to stop. They’re like being up on a mountaintop.

What we have to learn is that the valleys of life are just as important. That’s why we need to regularly take stock of our lives. You need to ask yourself if it’s time to be moving on in some area.

God desires to see growth in His people. The accompanying truth is that growth means change. I can’t move on to the new places God wants to bring me, if I don’t leave the comfortable place I’m in now.

Every so often the Holy Spirit gives us a nudge. “You’ve been here long enough. It’s time to move on.”

It’s on the mountaintops of life that God gives clear vision and renewed strength for the valleys. But we need to cultivate an attitude that desires all that God has planned for us. That helps us to be ready when the call to move on comes our way.

Spend some time taking inventory of your life. Receive what God has for you today – and move on with His Spirit.

Question: What is the spiritual movement that God is working in you right now?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
 

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