Thursday, October 11, 2012

1st Clement 34 - Preparing to face our Lord

Having exhorted us to be diligent in Good works, Clement reminds us that,
"The good servant receives the bread of his labour with confidence; the lazy and slothful cannot look his employer in the face." (1 Clement 34)
Here the the, "servant" can also refer commonly to a "laborer". We are all called to good works, yet each of us will answer that call to varying degrees. We all will, at varying times in our lives, fall short of a whole hearted pursuit of good works as an expression of our election by God and our love for Him. When, on the final day, we meet our Lord, we will all fall somewhere between "confidence" and "regret", There is an old Hymn by Grace Reese Adkins that foretells of the time when a servant of God would one day meet their Lord and savior.
By and by when I look on His face,
Beautiful face, thorn shadowed face;
By and by when I look on His face,
I'll wish I had given Him more.
More, so much more,
More of my life than I e'er gave before
By and by when I look on His face,
I'll wish I had given Him more.
In that day there will be, for most of us a mixture of joy and sadness; joy for standing in the presence of God and sadness when we realize how much more we could have given for Him and for all the times we had failed to serve Him when opportunities presented themselves. In those days we will understand the prophesy, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, 4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away." (Revelation 21:3-4) Jesus will wipe away every tear in our eyes leaving only our happiness in Him.

However, knowing this, how much better to prepare ourselves now for a joyous and "confident" meeting later. How much better to give ourselves to good works now than to have those tears of missed opportunity wiped away later. Clement says of the servant of the Lord,
"It is requisite, therefore, that we be prompt in the practice of well-doing; for of Him are all things. And thus He forewarns us: 'Behold, the Lord [cometh], and His reward is before His face, to render to every man according to his work.' He exhorts us, therefore, with our whole heart to attend to this, that we be not lazy or slothful in any good work." (1 Clement 34)
Clement further encourages to imitate the angels of God who are ever ready to minister to His will.
"Let us consider the whole multitude of His angels, how they stand ever ready to minister to His will. For the Scripture saith, 'Ten thousand times ten thousand stood around Him, and thousands of thousands ministered unto Him, and cried, Holy, holy, holy, [is] the Lord of Sabaoth; the whole creation is full of His glory.' " (1 Clement 34)
All of creation stands ready to do His will so let us also stand with readiness and promptness to fulfill the good works which God has created us for. Let us not be lazy or slothful, but with our whole hearts do those things which are good and pleasing in His sight.

David Robison

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