Links Daily Devotional

Looking to the End

“For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.” (Matthew 16:27, NIV 1984)

Somehow Dustin Johnson and Nick Watney disappeared at the AT&T Pro-Am at Pebble Beach last weekend. Johnson, twice a winner there, ballooned to 74 on Saturday and missed the cut. Watney, the semi-local who has won the Callaway Invitational also played at Pebble Beach, missed even worse: 76 on Saturday. He, too, went home early.

But here’s what is true about Johnson and Watney: neither will measure his 2013 season by that ugly performance. Why? Good reasons really. For one, both have a successful history on tour, so their confidence is not shaken with one bad start, even on a course they have played well before. For another, both have season-long goals in mind.

That’s the way tour players go about their work. The nature of the game features the inclusion of some truly disappointing days. If the pros measured their success by their misses, discouragement could overwhelm them in a weekend. They look back at results only after long stretches, which have a way of flattening out the peaks and valleys of the 65s and the 75s.

But this is also true: the pros are always considering what is out of whack and how it can be made better. While the assessment may not come until season’s end, the feedback and the adjustments come daily.

Jesus spoke deeply to his disciples in Matthew 16, laying out the principles of discipleship: Deny yourself. Take up your cross. Follow me. There’s a lifetime of practice to be had in those three instructions! Then, at the end of the passage, he offered today’s key words. He will return, and he will reward each person “according to what he has done.”

Now we know from the sweep of Scripture that “what we have done” is not about a checklist of do’s and don’ts, but a consideration of whether we have followed in faith. Have we given our life to him?

But here’s the key again: the measurement is long-term, while the measuring is done in the short-term. We need to ask ourselves as often as possible (certainly every day), “How am I doing at following Jesus? Where do I need to change? Where do I need to grow?” So there is doing to be done—tweaking, modifying, bettering. Take care of that, and the final assessment will look just right. Jesus will reward you according to what you have done, according to the faithfulness of your following him.

Jeff Hopper

February 13, 2013

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