When I was a young man with children still at home, a wise retired couple gave me some valuable advice. In order to provide for their present needs and future retirement, the two of them had worked for many years at Boeing. Through all those years, they followed a simple financial rule. They told me: “Always pay yourself (into a retirement investment) first, before you take anything out of your pay check. If you don’t do it first, it will likely never get done.” They wisely sacrificed some indulgences they wanted as they went through life in order to be able to enjoy a better retirement.
God gives us a number of examples of saints who lived in dedicated ways that “…they might obtain a better resurrection” (Hebrews 11:35). Moses was raised in the palace of Egypt with all the privileges, pleasures, and power anyone could desire. Yet “…when he was come to years, [he] refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter…esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt…” (vss. 24-26). After hearing how Jehovah miraculously protected and prospered the nation of Israel, the harlot Rahab demonstrated the righteousness of faith. She “received the [Jewish] spies with peace,” rather than siding with her spiritually rebellious people (vss. 31). With fearful reservations (about God using him to deliver Israel from their enemies), Gideon obeyed the Lord’s instructions to lead his people in battle, thereby stepping into harm’s way (vs. 32). David refused to do wrong by defending himself against murderous King Saul. Then he went on to walk closely with the Lord, continually read the Scriptures, surrounded himself with godly people, and influenced his nation for Jehovah. Samuel was God’s fearless and dedicated prophet, boldly proclaiming the Lord’s message to king and commoner alike, at great personal sacrifice (vs. 32). Others are referred to, “who through faith…wrought righteousness… quenched the violence of fire…out of weakness were made strong…were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection” (vss. 33-35).
We often hear believers resolve to being “a street sweeper” or “cleaning out stables” in eternity. While this won’t be the condition of any in the heavens, we must not have such meager aspirations. Follow the example of those before us who so lived to obtain a better resurrection. By the grace of God, seek to be all that you should be now for Christ.
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