God came to this earth in order to lead human beings, who were destined to die because of sin, to the eternal kingdom of heaven, and has guided us so that we can live the most valuable life on this earth while looking toward heaven. So, the Bible says that the crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but God tests our heart (Pr 17:3).
The reason God tests our heart is that He wants to make us, His children, more precious and shining than pure gold, through the process of testing. Let’s see through the Bible how God makes us the most valuable creatures while He is on this earth, and take some time to think about where to go or what to do.
The following are from Ripley’s “Believe It or Not.”
A five dollar lump of metal can be made into a horse’s shoe worth 50 dollars. If it is refined and made into the hands of a watch, it can produce a value of 5,000 dollars. When a lump of metal is made into a horse’s shoe, it just creates a value of 50 dollars, but if it is made into watch hands, it can produce a value 100 times greater than a horse’s shoe.
However, if it is made into a watch, it can produce a value of 50,000 dollars. When a five dollar lump of metal is changed to another form and used, it can create a value 10,000 times greater than the original one.
The same material produces different values according to how it is used. It is the same with the people who believe in God. We are sinners who were doomed to eternal death because of our sins. Such valueless beings have been called by God’s grace. According to how we use the talents, which God has given to each of us, in accordance with our faith, we produce different spiritual values from one another.
We are all God’s children called by God, but some of us play a role worthy of 50 dollars, some a role of 5,000 dollars, and others a role of 50,000 dollars. How much value do you want to have as the children of heaven when you stand before God after your life on this earth? Everybody wants to be the most valuable being. Then, what kind of life should we live in faith so that we can produce the greatest value? We need to always think it over and try to possess the greatest value.
Jesus, who came to this earth in order to save mankind, first went along the sea of Galilee when He began to preach the gospel. At that time, Peter, Andrew, James and John, who were fishermen, were preparing their nets as usual. Then Jesus called them and made them “fishers of men.”
“From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.” Mt 4:17-22
God wanted to make His children the most valuable beings. Although we were spiritually sinners who were destined for death, God called us and allowed us to be born again to live a new, valuable life.
Parents spare no pain and sacrifice for their children; they encourage their children to do what brings them happiness and success and set an example for them, guiding and helping them to achieve it. It is the same with our spiritual Parents. They said, “Come, follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Jesus didn’t call His disciples just to cause them to suffer, but He called them to have the special experience of producing the most gracious and beautiful value in the world.
If the apostles had only got caught up in their daily routine of making a living, they would not have been able to live such a valuable and shining life. There were numerous people 2,000 years ago, but most of them have not even been remembered by the following generations. However, the apostles like Peter and John are still remembered today, even after 2,000 years; we examine the words written by them and share grace together by talking about their works of good faith. The apostles spared no effort and sacrifice to save souls. Their life was so valuable that they were worthy of being respected not only by people on this earth but also by angels in heaven. To give them such a wonderful blessing, Jesus went along the sea of Galilee and called them to be His disciples.
There is a great deal of difference in value between those who have received Christ and those who have not, even though they are all human beings. Think about the lives of the chief priests and the Pharisees who were regarded as capable and respectable people in those days, and about the life of Judas Iscariot. They were just like a five dollar lump of metal. Rather, they were worth less than five dollars, if we consider the words of Jesus, “It would be better for him if he had not been born” (Mt 26:24).
However, the value of Peter, John, James and Paul was very great; Jesus made them shine like pure gold and brilliant like a precious jewel. Let’s keep in mind again that saving the whole world is the way to live the most beautiful and valuable life as God’s children.
Just as the same material produces a different value according to how it is used, the same person can produce a different spiritual worth according to how he is used. It will be the most valuable life if we are used in the work of God-the gospel-above all else, following the example of Christ who came to this earth in order to make us the most valuable beings.
“. . . but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant-not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” 2 Co 3:5-6
God wants us to be the gospel workers; He is most pleased when we preach the new covenant. By human standards, it may not seem so valuable, but the Bible shows that from God’s point of view, the workers of the new covenant are the people who possess the greatest value.
No matter how competent a doctor may be on this earth, he cannot raise the dead and give them eternal life. However great a man’s power is, he has no authority to allow people into heaven. However, the workers of the new covenant are preaching the Passover that can save the souls, who are doomed to die because they sinned against God in heaven, and lead them safely to the kingdom of heaven. God has acknowledged those who guide all people to the path of life and help them to live a valuable life as the most valuable beings.
That’s why the apostles including Peter followed Jesus’ call immediately and delightfully. At that time, they probably didn’t know that following Jesus was the way to the glory of the everlasting heavenly kingdom, but where are they now? They must be greatly rejoicing with an inexpressible and glorious joy right beside God.
We should never give up such a meaningful and valuable life or turn away from it. According to what kind of work we do, our value becomes different.
“. . . “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’ . . . He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it. The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’ ‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’ The second came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned five more.’ His master answered, ‘You take charge of five cities.’ Then another servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. . . .’ His master replied, ‘ will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’ Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.’ ‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has ten!’ He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away.’ ” Lk 19:11-26
With the same mina, one person earned ten more minas and another five more minas, but the other just kept the mina which he had received. Through this parable, we need to think again about how we are carrying out the spiritual mission that we have received from God today.
God has entrusted all the children of God in Zion with the gospel-the mission of preaching the truth of eternal life to all mankind. With the same gospel, some gain ten more minas, some five more, and others just keep it to themselves. This will determine their value forever.
Our value is decided according to how hard we work for the gospel on this earth; there is no more opportunity to work in heaven. Considering this fact carefully, we, the apostles of the gospel, should perform the mission given to each of us graciously during our God-given time on this earth.
“. . . For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.” 1 Th 2:1-4
It is because God has approved us that He has entrusted us with the gospel. Since God has called us and made us workers for the gospel which is more valuable than anything else, we should obey the will of God with thankful hearts, and make efforts to please God rather than men.
God is pleased with the workers of the gospel and puts a seal on them. This seal is the mark of redemption which men are not able to see but angels can see.
“Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. . . . These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb.” Rev 14:1-4
Just as a renowned calligrapher puts his chop (seal) only on his best work, God has put His seal engraved with His name on the foreheads of those who are redeemed, and has given them the glorious title “firstfruits.” God has acknowledged His people as the perfect beings who have the highest value among all people, and has written His name on their foreheads.
This is a blessing given not only to the 144,000 but also to all who keep the new covenant. The Bible says that there is a great multitude that no one can count and that all people around the world will stream to Zion in order to learn the ways of God. So, we need to become vessels great enough to receive all our brothers and sisters who are streaming from around the world-all those whom God sends. Nothing is impossible with God. We should give ourselves fully to the mission of preaching the gospel, believing the prophecies, so that our faith will not grow weak and become a hindrance to them.
If Peter, Andrew, John and James had not done anything after they were called by Jesus, their deeds would not have been recorded anywhere in the Bible. They learned from Jesus and followed His example, always thinking over ‘how they could lead more souls to the truth of life and salvation’ or ‘how they could lead all people around the world from hell to heaven?’ While doing so, they preached the gospel with boldness. Even though they were persecuted, despised and afflicted, they devoted themselves to saving souls to the end, so Jesus promised them the blessings of heaven, saying, “You are those who have stood by me in my trials. And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Lk 22:28:30).
Let’s all be children of God who are valuable and pleasing in God’s sight. Even though God has called and allowed us to participate in the most valuable work, if we just stay silent without doing the work, we cannot save the world. All our brothers and sisters in Zion around the world! I earnestly pray that you will all be changed in accordance with God’s will and diligently carry out the mission as the workers of the new covenant in the given circumstances, by leading all people around the world to the kingdom of heaven.