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After is a big word

Have you ever 'bargained' with God? I mean that moment in your life when you just promised God some form of service or dedication if he'd just do this 'one thing' for you right here and now. I have to ask a hard question here - did you uphold your end of the bargain? Most of us would likely answer a big old "no" on that one. We might have started out well in our 'plan' to uphold our end of the bargain, but then somewhere down the road when life got a little more complicated again, we let go of our hold on it a little, or all together. I know I have been in 'tight places' and asked God for deliverance, promising him I'd change a few things in my life, especially when I was younger. I know how many times my promises fell short of total fulfillment - but not for the lack of commitment - just the lack of motivation to stay committed!

Do not throw away your trust, for your reward will be great. You must be willing to wait without giving up. After you have done what God wants you to do, God will give you what He promised you. (Hebrews 10:35-36)

It is amazing how life's tough moments bring us to a place of commitment, then the easier times allow for a drift in our determination to see things through to the end, isn't it? Yet, we all have probably experienced this in our own lives from time to time. Commitment is easy - it is an 'out there' kind of promise. Determination to stay committed to the promise is quite another. Did anyone else catch that 'after' statement in our passage today? How about the 'wait' part? I bet we all saw the 'your reward will be great' part! Why is it we see the reward part and totally overlook the 'wait' and 'after' parts? I think it is because we realize the wait may be longer than we'd like and the after may be much harder to achieve than we'd expected.

God is quite clear here. We are to trust and not fail in that trust. We cannot throw it away just because it seems the wait is too long, or the work too hard. We have to stay committed to what we know to be true in our lives, even when we don't first see the results. We must be willing to wait - without giving up. Let's reflect a moment on our willingness, shall we? I am 'willing' to do a lot of things, but there are some things I have absolutely no 'will' or 'desire' to do. For example, I will eat a donut knowing full well it is not good for me, but I will not snort cocaine. Neither are good for me, but one I am 'willing' to compromise on and the other I am not.

The truth is we all have things we will compromise on when the wait is too long, the will isn't there, or the work is too hard. The problem is that God expects us to do what he wants us to do - period. Our struggle of will isn't going to deter his expectation that we will do what he expects. It may deter the blessing he intends for us at the end of all that waiting and work, but it won't change his expectation of us doing what he asks. So, the will is indeed at the center of our lesson today - without both the determination of will and the drive of will, we won't finish well. When either wanes, it isn't time to give up - it is time to ask God to help us continue. Just sayin!

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