Do we really believe God is good? The proof is in how much of our lives we trust Him with. What do we risk for Him? How much of what He gave us do we invest completely for Him, trusting that He will reward us? The Apostle Paul was one of those who did everything with God's reward in mind. Althought he suffered for his service for God, he didn't seem to think the suffering was a big deal. In fact, when he made a list of the sufferings and sacrifices in writing, he was embarressed. No, all of those things were nothing because he knew something about God, and this thread is woven from cover to cover in the Bible. GOD IS GOOD! God wants people to know Him. To know God, is know He is good. Even in His justice and terrible judgement, He is good, and full of mercy.
If we believe God is Who He says He is, we will take what He gives us and do what He wants with it. It's that simple.
Jesus told a story about this. A rich man entrusted three servents with various amounts of money and left on a long journey. Upon returning, he found that two of the servents had put his money to good use and had twice as much money as he left with them. He gave them the rule over their profit. One man now had twenty talents, and the other had ten.
The last servent was a different story. When asked for the money back, was ashamed. He whined and squeaked that the master was a hard man. He said that he was afraid, and he had buried the talent in the ground. When he had retrieved his talent from the dirt where it was buried, he brought it back, wrapped in the dirty napkin, all alone. The master had trusted his servent with what he knew the man was capable of handling, and he was angry. Then, it turned out that the master was indeed a hard man. He took away the talent from the unprofitable servent and gave it to the one who had twenty. He had wanted to reward this servent, but the man had no faith in his master, and had stripped himself of all the blessing he could have had.
God has been dealing in my heart this year about the meaning of this parable. There was a time that I was afraid to submit to God's will for my life. I looked at certain things that others suffered in serving God and concluded that God was hard. That in serving Him, I would have to go throught things that were beyond me. I have seen this attitude in others also. They are willing to live their lives for Him. As long as they get to decide things. In other words, "As long as I'm calling the shots, what I do will be for God. Because if I give God the helm, He's going to take me where I don't want to go." I lived this way for a long time, thinking that God would have to accept me because I wasn't holding back much. There were only a few things that I wasn't willing to do for Him. only a few pieces of myself that I wanted control of. I didn't believe God was GOOD.
There are so many ways that this attitude affects our lives. Sometimes, we hide what He gives us to serve Him with. We pretend it doesn't exist. Sometimes, we try to change God's plan to be more to our liking. Sometimes, we do His bidding, but we hate it. We think God might have a cruel streak for the demands He has made of us.
This attitude is a lack of faith, and it is sin. It will seriously hinder anything we can do for God, making us unprofitable to Him. The essence of faith is believing that God is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.
The truth is, God is good. His goodness, grace, and mercy are such a part of our everyday lives, that we don't even recognize that every good gift is from Him. Let me just go through some of the things He has done for me.
*He saved me! I am going to live forever in Heaven!
*He wants me to know Him--me! Know HIM!
*He has a plan for my life--one in which I have
-perfect peace all the time
-a Companion (God Himself) to comfort me in trial
-a Guide, and not just any Guide-this one actually made me to do the things He is guiding me to do!
*a calling, and a good one
*a wonderful, precious family
*a promise that God can do something good, even with my gunk! "and we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to his purpose."
That's the short list. After the first one, I could stop! He still owes me nothing, I still owe Him everything--He could only have saved me from my sins if He was GOOD, but the rest-He is very good.
Hebrews summs it up nicely: "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." Heb. 11:6