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Communion Meditations (2013)

Spoils

 

Originally scheduled for July 21

One of the lesser-known events in the life of David, King of Israel, is found in the thirtieth chapter of First Samuel. It seems that while David and his fighting men were away the local villains raided his home town, stole off with all the livestock, wives, children and other valuables and departed in haste. David and his band of 600 raiders gave chase. In the course of the chase about 200 of his men became so tired they just couldn’t go on. The remaining 400 caught up with the villains, defeated them (despite overwhelming odds) and retrieved wives, children, livestock and stuff.

This led to a crisis of leadership. Some of the men who had gone the distance thought it would be appropriate for those who had stayed behind to receive only what had been stolen from them, without a share of the spoils, the trophies of war. David made it a lasting ordinance in Israel: share and share alike. Everybody got a fair share. His reasoning was at the victory was given by God and therefore belonged to all of God’s people.

Perhaps this is an example of how God views the situation. Have you ever wondered why it is there are no degrees of salvation? Why is it that some people whose life is exemplary don’t get a ticket to first class in salvation? Some of the rest of us probably deserve to fly super economy class. It’s very clear to us that some people are much better Christians than others. Yet, God offers his salvation on a one size fits all basis. Have you ever wondered why?

Perhaps we might look at it this way: what is the price of salvation? That, clearly, is the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross. You can easily see that the same price was paid for each and every one of us. It therefore makes sense that we get the same class of ticket. But there’s more to it than that.

Most of us tend to look at it that we earn something by being a good Christian. God indeed does promise a different reward to those who worked harder. But the baseline entrance into the kingdom of heaven, salvation, is the same for all of us. As the old expression goes, the ground is level at the foot of the cross. The reason for this is simple: none of us have ever earned salvation. Salvation is something which is so far beyond our ability to earn that it must be a gift from God. There is no other way to get it. It is a victory we could not win, but our Lord did – and graciously shares the fruits of that victory with us. Like David, it is an ordinance in the kingdom that all of us will get the fair share — salvation.

So, as you take the cup and the bread today, remember that you did not earn this. Remember that you could not earn this; it could only come as a gift from God. So as you examine yourself, remember that you are not worthy of what you are receiving — but God is gracious.

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