"Do not resent it when God chastens and corrects you, for His punishment is proof of His love. Just as a father punishes a son he delights in to make him better, so the Lord corrects you."
- Proverbs 3:11-12 TLB
Years ago, my husband, Joe, was in a very unfair job situation which perplexes him to this day. He and one other man worked for a boss who was very hard on my husband, but very easy on his coworker. This boss expected Joe to be on time for work, but when his coworker was late, sometimes hours late, he never said a word. Joe's boss didn't want my husband spending too much time on the phone, yet this other man got personal calls all day long. My husband's coworker did very little work, while Joe was given more and more tasks to complete, sometimes with unreasonable deadlines. Numerous times, my husband tried talking to his boss and his coworker about the unfairness of the situation, but nothing ever changed.
Just the other day, Joe was talking about this experience, and how he is still baffled by it. I told him that his boss obviously had a lot of respect for him, and that he recognized his great potential, and that's why he expected so much more from my husband than from the other man. As we spoke, it dawned on me that this scenario is one that's often played out in the lives of believers. We see other people getting away with all kinds of misbehavior, and yet we suffer divine conviction and correction when we do things that aren't nearly half as bad. Why is that? Because God expects more from His children, than from those who aren't devoted to Him. And Scripture bears this out. Jesus said: "That servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." (Luke 12:47-48 NIV) Once we hear the message of the Gospel and choose to follow Christ, because of our awareness of the truth, and our commitment to the Lord, we will be held to higher standards than the rest of the world.
I like the way the Living Bible translates Luke 12:48: "Much is required from those to whom much is given, for their responsibility is greater." Why is our responsibility greater? One reason is that Christ-followers are given special gifts--gifts that should be used to serve God and others for the good of the Kingdom. As the Message Bible puts it, "Great gifts mean great responsibilities; greater gifts, greater responsibilities!" Perhaps you think you don't have a lot of gifts or talents. You are wrong. God has equipped you with everything you need to be a world-changer for His glory. He has planted seeds of greatness on the inside of you, and you will see them grow and blossom as you walk in close fellowship with Him on a moment-by-moment basis. Scripture says, "God has given gifts to each of you from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Manage them well so that God's generosity can flow through you." (1 Peter 4:10 NLT) The Lord wants to help us fulfill our God-given purpose and potential. One of the ways we can cooperate with Him is to "manage" our gifts and talents "well." God will give us supernatural wisdom and grace to do exactly that when we call on Him in faith.
The Bible says: "Do not resent it when God chastens and corrects you, for His punishment is proof of His love. Just as a father punishes a son he delights in to make him better, so the Lord corrects you." (Proverbs 3:11-12 TLB) If we would begin seeing God's loving correction as "proof of His love," we would respond to it in ways that would make us more productive and fruitful for His glory, and in ways that would draw us closer to Him. He sees our awesome potential, and He disciplines us to "make us better," not to belittle us, or discourage us. God is calling us up to higher levels of obedience, responsibility, and blessing. Today, let's answer His call and become all He created us to be!
Prayer: Lord, give me the wisdom and humility I need to respond to your loving correction in Christlike ways. Teach me how to seek Your face each day, so You can reveal to me exactly what my God-given gifts are. Thank You that as I manage my gifts well, You will help me to reach my maximum potential!
- J. M. Farro