27 May 2020 – What is my goal in life?

As has been our custom during these last few months I have invited you to put aside some time in the middle of the week for prayer and reflection. I am aware that many people are finding life very hard at the present time and although there is so much we are not able to do just now, we can always pray for one another.

II Corinthians 5:9-10 What is my goal in life?

9 So we make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due to us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

(1) Our Goal (II Cor.5:9-10a) 9So we make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.

In Roman cities the governor sat on the judgement seat to hear court cases, as Paul knew well from his time before Gallio’s court in Corinth (Acts 18:12). This was a serious matter as the most serious penalties could in principle be given to guilty defendants. However, Paul is much more concerned by a much higher court and a greater judge, before whom we shall all one day appear, the Lord Himself.

In the light of this reality it is no wonder that Paul says in II Cor.5:9: So we make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.

Is that what you do? A significant proportion of our lives other people in our church family, and even our human family, know little about, unless we care to tell them. But, there is one person who knows and sees everything and it is before such a One that we will stand on that day.

It is not your husband or wife, mother or father, son or daughter, brother or sister who makes that call but the Lord of glory. It is not the mocking person in the street, the cynical colleague in the workplace or the caustic critic on the TV, but the One who hung on a cross and said: Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing (Luke 23:34).

It is not the helpless victim of injustice or oppression or one of the starving multitudes in parts of Africa who will judge you and me, rather the One who rebuked Peter for chopping off Malchus’ ear in the Garden of Gethsemane and said in Matthew 26:33-34: Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?

Without exception, every man, woman, boy or girl, who has walked this earth will stand before King Jesus –the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:16). What is your number one goal? Is it the same as that of Paul? It needs to be as that is why you were placed on this earth in the first place.

(2) Our Reward (II Corinthians 5:10b) that each one may receive what is due to him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. Our salvation is eternally secure because Jesus obtained it on the cross. However, our judgement as believers covers rewards for service rendered; and all our works will be tested to discern their quality.

In I Corinthians 3:10-15 Paul explains this point in more detail: For no-one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

Are you / am I as Christians on course for a pleasant surprise or an awful shock or a bit of both when we stand before Him? May our goal be to put Him first throughout our lives and on that day be delighted to hear Him say: Well done good and faithful servant…come and share your master’s happiness (Matthew 25:23).

Our song for reflection today is: ‘Great is the darkness that covers the earth’

Pointers for our Prayers

• For whom or what are you particularly thankful this week? Let the Lord know!

• Give thanks for the many gifts that have come in for our care packages for the staff of the residential care homes. It has been an excellent initiative.

• Continue to pray for the Government in Scotland and in the wider UK and for their clinical and scientific advisers, that they may have wisdom to lead us effectively

• Pray for our NHS and Social Care Staff as they continue to serve so willingly the many people under their care. We particularly remember Hannah A and the social care staff who have been caring for very vulnerable people under extreme pressures in the last few weeks. We pray that they and all other workers in our country may be renewed in their health and strength.

• Pray for John G’s daughters Nicola and Alison and their families at this time as they prepare for his funeral on 6 June. We thank God for the short time John was a member of our congregation while living in Lochleven Care Home.

• Pray for Jan and Mark F and other members of Jim’s family as they prepare for his funeral on Friday 29 May. We thank God for Jim’s years of faithful attendance in this and other churches and his work for the Lord over those decades.

• Pray for those ill with the Covid-19 virus that they may soon regain their health and strength. We pray also for people with other health conditions that they may also have access to the medical care they require at this time. We continue to remember older members required to be at home or in care homes that they may not feel discouraged or forgotten by their friends and families who are unable to visit them. We pray also for Ali T’s parents, Jude R’s grandma and Isdale A’s dad; we also pray for others waiting for hospital appointments to address their health issues at this time.

• Pray for teachers and pupils, and lecturers and students, at different levels of education especially those known to you. That they may be able to work adequately online. Help them to overcome the challenges of technology and the difficulties of communicating effectively through online learning. Help parents also trying to work from home alongside supporting their children doing schoolwork.

• We pray for the emotional and mental health of our nation, especially those of whatever age who are particularly struggling to cope with the lock down and the inability to meet with their families or friends.

• Pray for those recently bereaved that they may experience more of God’s love and comfort at this time, in particular we continue to remember Betty and Scott R, Betty W, Eloise P, Elizabeth F and their families.

• Pray for ourselves that we always make time each day to read His word and spend time in His presence.

• Pray in advance for the online meetings and activities throughout this week and the service next Sunday

Brian Talbot