I am re-reading a book I have really enjoyed – “If you want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat” – by John Ortberg. One of the points he makes in the book is how Jesus is the Lord of the Gift. He gives each of us special gifts to be used to further His Kingdom. The book talks about Jesus’ parable of the wealthy lord who gave three of his servants incredible amounts of money to invest while the lord was away. Two of the servants did as he told them and, when he finally returned, the lord had made a great profit, which he shared with the two servants who did as they were told. The third servant buried his money and only returned what he had been given. This angered the lord and the servant was harshly dealt with.
The servant who buried the money played it safe. Fear caused him to bury the gift. John Ortberg calls this the “Tragedy of the Unopened Gift”. The Bible is full of stories of people who risked so much and used their God-given gifts and were rewarded abundantly - Abraham, Noah, Moses, Ruth, Jacob, Mary (Jesus’ mother), Mary (Martha’s sister) and on and on.
In today’s reading, we are told the continuing story of what some call the Rapture. I believe today’s reading exposes several gifts from God to us. First, we have the gift of the Book of Revelation. He is giving us ample warning in great detail so that we will have time to get on the right side of this battle. Second, he gives us the gift of choice. We can choose to be on the right side, with Jesus. Third, he gives us our special gift to use while we are here on earth. By opening this gift and using it, we are moving to the right side of the battle.
But, in living in fear, and not opening the gift that God has given you, you are choosing to be on the wrong side of the battle described in today’s reading. And that side goes directly to Hell.