Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Wages and Gifts

One of the things I have been responsible for at work is the time edit for the nurses in my unit.  I check their clock in and clock out times to make sure they are all there.  I make adjustments for vacation and sick time.  I make sure they are paid correctly when they are on-call or are called in.  The completed time edit is a preview in hours to what their paycheck will be in dollars. I can attest from personal experience there are nurses who are aware if their check is short by even a little.  Interestingly, few ever seem to come to tell me their check was more than they expected.

The paycheck is the wages for hours worked.  Each nurse is paid a certain wage, depending upon her length of service and her evaluations over the years.  One year however, we were given money of a different sort.

It was the hospital's thirtieth anniversary.  Each employee was invited to the Boardroom downstairs in Administration.  Once there they were able to speak to, or for some, meet the hospital's owner, President and Administrator.  Then they were given a gift bag.  In the bag was a beautiful glass with the hospital likeness itched on the side.  But that wasn't the part of the gift which impressed most employees.  Inside the glass was a crisp, new $50 bill.  Now that was impressive.  It wasn't a wage and it wasn't expected.  It was a gift.  It was a complete surprise and it was an unexpected favor.

Each of us as humans has a "time edit" upon which wages have been marked.  These are anything in our lives which has not lived up to the standard of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The Bible tells us, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" ( Romans 3:23.)

I have heard some say they believe that in the end of time if what they do good outweighs what they do bad, then they will go to Heaven.  The problem is that our "goodness" just isn't good enough.  In fact, no one is good, "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:" (Romans 3:10.)  Even if we try really hard to do good things, we are doing them in power of our own flesh which has a fundamental law of sin in it, and those things cannot be accepted in the eyes of God. "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight:" (Romans 3:20.)

Apart from the Lord, we will receive the wages we have earned in this life. . ."the wages of sin is death. . ." (Romans 6:23.)  We will spend our eternity in separation from the Lord Jesus (and our heart will at that time desperately want to be with Him, and we will forever know want and hunger and sadness and pain and darkness.

But thankfully, that is not the end of the verse in Romans.  It continues, ". . .but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."  We deserve death, that is the wages of our sin.  But there is also a free gift, something we did not earn, something unexpected, a favor unmerited by our sinful, rebellious flesh.  The gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  It is a gift and by accepting the gift we come to know more joy and peace and love and light than we could have ever expected.  Our future becomes not a question mark but a glorious exclamation mark.  But we must accept the gift, we must accept Him as our Redeemer, our Saviour, our Lord.  We must admit that He is indeed the only way and we humbly accept His role as Saviour and Lord in our lives. Then we will look toward the most wonderful days ahead. . .more incredible than our imaginations can begin to fathom. 

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, 
that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; 
but that the world through Him might be saved.
He that believeth on Him is not condemned: 
but he that believeth not is condemned already, 
because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 
John 3:16-18

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