By Allen White
Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
“Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked.
“Yes,” they replied.
He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old. Matthew 13:47-52
Most people don’t write their memoirs at 25 years of age. As epic as their antics might seem to themselves, the rest of the world simply rolls their eyes and cynically waits for the rest of the story. At 25 years of age, most of us don’t know who we are, let alone have much to shout about.
Memoirs are reserved for sages who gaze back over their lives. After all, hindsight is 20/20. From the perspective of their twilight years, they can see the thread woven through their lives. At the beginning of our adult lives, most see many possibilities, but haven’t lived enough to know what life means.
From Jesus’ analogies, we understand the kingdom of God is a living and dynamic enterprise. The potential and actual growth are off the charts. God’s kingdom possesses a huge attractional factor. Both believers and non-believers are drawn to the things of God. The risk is judging who’s who too early.
Jesus says the kingdom of God is like a mess of fish. Some are worth keeping. Some are not. When we look around our places of worship, we might feel we could size things up pretty quickly. “Well, I know what that one did last night. So he’s probably out” or “She always has such a pleasant smile. That’s certainly a reflection of the joy of the Lord.” Yet, separating “good” and “bad” is not our job.
The separation takes place at the end of the time. The separators act on higher authority than what we have. The angels are given the task. Why?
This is not the time or the place to judge other’s faith. As long as they have breath in their bodies, God is drawing them to Himself. Some believers specialize in policing the boundaries and making sure everyone behaves themselves in order to protect the church’s reputation. But, are we winning people to Churchianity or to Christ?
Jesus and most of the religious leaders of his time were not bosom buddies by any sense of the word. They were constantly at odds. They challenged each other at every turn. These leaders spent their days with their noses stuck in scrolls when the Truth was standing right in front of them. People who have it all figured out don’t need Jesus.
But, Jesus didn’t give up on them -- just like He doesn’t give up on anyone. In fact, some of the religious leaders became His disciples and joined God’s kingdom. Jesus said they possessed both new treasures as well as old ones.
Who are you ready to cut loose from your life? Who are you tempted to leave in the chum pile? When it comes to the Church are you looking for people who will fit in and keep the party line? Are you hoping others will act more Christianly or are you praying for God to transform their lives?
People outside of God’s Kingdom can’t live lives pleasing to God. It’s humanly impossible. It requires a level of perfection that human beings lack. But, God’s power can take the most self-righteous person and dramatically transform them into a child of God.
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