Monday, January 23, 2023
I remember my first job. I was only 15. A man named Jack from the church my dad pastored owned a gas station. I don’t remember any interview, just an invitation. He approached me in church one Sunday and asked if I wanted to work on Saturdays as a pump attendant. That was way back in the days when gas stations offered full service. My job would be to pump gas, clean windows, and check the oil and fluid levels.
I said yes. He said he would pick me up at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday and return me home at 6:30 p.m. Lunch would be provided.
When I got home from church, I was so excited. I had been invited to work for someone. I had no idea what he saw in me, but I didn’t let my insecurities ruin the opportunity. I was just super excited to be asked. I couldn’t wait until Saturday.
As the week went on the excitement built. Every day at school I would find it hard to concentrate because I was making lists of what I was going to do with the $13 I made every Saturday. That’s right; I made $1.30 an hour. First, I would buy my first set of golf clubs. That only took two weeks. I paid $17 for them. Then I would buy a bag, then golf balls, then a membership, and here I am today.
Well, Saturday arrived, and I was up early. I listened carefully during the 25-minute drive as Jack told me about my responsibilities at the station. I followed him closely as he showed me around once we arrived. I asked questions. I was thankful my dad had already taught me how to care for a car, so I knew how to do what was required, but wanted to make sure I was doing it Jack’s way. After all, I was serving him and his customers. I was representing his reputation as the business owner.
The day went great. I pumped gas, washed windows, and did everything and anything Jack asked me to do. Lunch was the best. He called me into the shop and there was a bag for me. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant, but it was the best double cheeseburger I had ever eaten. I think that’s because it was the first double cheeseburger I had ever eaten. I felt so blessed. I stood in the shop with all the other guys and felt like I was part of a team. I was accepted by men twice my age.
There had been times during the week prior to my first day of employment that I wondered if this invitation was real or not. I started to question my ability. I doubted my worth. How could I be sure that I was needed and accepted?
The answer was simple – show up for work. Accepting the invitation was the first step, but acting upon it was vital. If I hadn’t shown up, the invitation would have been withdrawn.
Now, except for the part about the invitation being withdrawn, this situation is a pretty good illustration of our salvation. God, the creator and owner of the universe and everything in it, has invited us to be His servants. His invitation, once accepted, is permanent. But it is our responsibility to conquer our doubts about that invitation.
Doubts happen. We question our worth. We wonder if we are qualified. But we must remember that the invitation had nothing to do with our qualification, just as my invitation to work didn’t. God did no interviews. There are no spiritual resumes. He invited us as an act of grace.
Showing up for work eliminates doubts. That’s what Peter is saying in this passage today.
2 Peter 1:10-11 “Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Be careful not to let this verse confuse you. We are not responsible, nor are we even able, to make God’s calling and election sure. We are responsible to make ourselves sure of it by doing what Peter taught us in the previous verses. We do that by growing in the knowledge of God and increasing in the character of Christ. When we do, we remove doubt, and we gain a rich reward when we enter glory. We do not show up for work to earn our entrance – that’s already guaranteed by the invitation we accepted. But the welcome we receive when we get to heaven does depend on the quality of work we do today as servants of the King.
Remember, your life represents the reputation of Jesus.