"Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?” Matthew 20:14-15 (NIV)
As I was driving through the National Cemetery I found myself reading many of the grave markers that were there. I read their names and the dates that they lived, and I wondered what their lives were like. As I was doing this, I noticed something that I had never noticed before. These men and women were not separated by rank. I found many Privates laid to rest next to many Lt. Colonels who were next to Sergeants who were next to Majors. Their accomplishments and time served did not seem to be a factor in deciding where, in this cemetery, they would be laid to rest. I realized that what really mattered was that they served honorably.
It’s easy for us to assume that God judges us based upon our accomplishments. Some believe, contrary to the scriptures, that there are different levels of “heaven” depending upon how much good or evil we have done. It’s easy for us to believe this, because it makes sense according to what we, as carnal humans, consider fair. Just as some of the workers complained because the master did not pay them more than those who worked less, God offers full grace regardless of how much time we have put in. If the grace belongs to God, doesn’t He have the right to dispense it as He sees fit? Are we envious because of generosity shown to others? What matters, when it comes to God, is that we serve honorably in the time and with the talents that we have. Peter writes:
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10 (NIV).
Serving honorably means more than saying a prayer, getting baptized, or even attending church. Serving honorably means pouring everything that we have into obedience to God. It means taking whatever gifts we have received and using them to serve others. Once again, it’s not about us, but about how we invest in others in His name. This is what it means to serve honorably. The person who, in a single day, becomes a Christian and serves God by investing in others, and then dies, will have the same eternal peace and life as the one who served honorably for nearly a hundred years. Honor is not about time nor accomplishment, it is about serving with a right heart.
So, where is your heart?
Do you give so that God will notice and reward you? If so, your heart is still selfish.
Do you do good deeds so that you can, one day, bring them before God? If so, your heart is ignorant of how grace works.
Do you treat others as if they do not deserve God’s grace as much as you or those you love? Then your heart harbors hatred.
An honorable heart is a heart that is sanctified by God for God and that desires only to glorify God and serve others. An honorable heart has been justified by a true faith in Jesus. An honorable heart is fearless and passionate when it comes to serving others. All those who serve God with this honorable heart will stand shoulder to shoulder worshiping Him for eternity.
The Apostle Paul writes:
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10 (NIV)