The first question most people ask when offered a new job is about the salary; the second is about the fringe benefits. Before committing to a prospective employer, most candidates want to understand the full package of benefits.
In our message series, Common Sense, we’ve been exploring the reasons why following the teachings of Jesus Christ make sense. His success in shaping the course of human history, his universal embrace of all types of people, his surprising way of saving humanity by sacrificing himself, and the throng of leaders he has raised up to lead the world are four solid reasons we’ve covered so far.
But what about the advantages for those who already believe? Is there anything in it for us? What are the benefits of believing in what Jesus taught? Turns out they are myriad, but here are a few to consider:
1. Peace of Mind. Worry and anxiety are commonplace today. Most often the source is fear about the future because of uncertainty about the present. Shifting sands of truth can shake the foundations of our existence, and it’s hard to know who or what to trust. But Jesus said: “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock” (Matthew 7:24-25). Following Jesus’ teachings creates genuine peace of mind. We no longer fear tomorrow because, come what may, we have the certainty of truth.
2. Meaning and Purpose. Life has little meaning when devoid of purpose. Each of us was created for five purposes inherent in the teachings of Christ: (1) We “worship in Spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). (2) We form true fellowship in meaningful spiritual communities and become the family of God (Matthew 12:48-50). (3) We move mountains when we grow in faith (Matthew 17:20). (4) We are the greatest when we serve the least (Matthew 23:11). (5) We are sent on mission to feed God’s sheep out of love for Jesus (John 21:15-18). When we live out our purpose through his teachings, our lives take on their fullest meaning.
3. The Ability to Bravely Face Death. When his friend Lazarus died, Jesus wept (John 11:35). He wept for the tragedy, heartbreak, and outrage of death. He later bravely faced “[t]he last enemy to be destroyed” (1 Corinthians 15:26), when death itself was “swallowed up in [his] victory” on the cross. When we follow his teachings, we, too, can bravely face death and confidently ask: “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55).
Join us this Sunday to discover one more important but surprising benefit of believing in what Jesus taught and living as he instructed.
—Father Roger Gustafson, Pastor
Father Roger Gustafson