This article is meant to clarify and aside contained within the article, Chastisement and Suffering Part 2: Should Christians Expect Chastisement?
Someone was concerned about the idea of some Christians inheriting more than others.
I greatly appreciate comments. I appreciate people who care enough about the Christian faith and about me as a fellow servant in Christ to call things into question if a concern arises. It is good for us to hold one another accountable, to question issues that need clarification, and to hold respectful discussions.
If one person had concerns, then I expect others might too, so I want to publish this clarification. I did not include the comments made by the reader, because they indicated a desire to speak to me privately but found no means by which to contact me (something I need to remedy). I want this person to have the ability to delete their comments if they choose to.
Below you will find the original statement made within the article along with my attempts at making a more cohesive point during our discussion—though I was long-winded as usual. If you have anything to add, please leave a comment. I intend to create an email address associated with this website soon. I will publish a notification when that email is created.
“For those who are given much and have much required of them: Do not lay your burdens on others.
Though we all inherit eternal life, we do not inherit equal portions. God expects more from some, so He will correct some more thoroughly than He would another. This is one of many reasons why we are instructed to correct each other in the spirit of meekness.
We should protect those who are frail in the faith and encourage growth as much as is possible while remembering that Jesus is merciful, and we all bring forth differing amounts of fruit. We do not always know what state of growth another is in or how far God intends to take them.
A little good fruit is pleasing to the Lord, and we should not squash it. “A bruised reed shall he not break, and a smoking flax shall he not quench.” We should dare not offend the little ones who believe in Him. We should dare not beat out fellow servants. We should live in peace and patience, lest that which we were entrusted with is given to another.”
It helps if we think about what it means to inherit more. A “greater” inheritance means greater service. Think of what Jesus said about whosoever is greatest in the Kingdom is servant of all (Matthew 23:11).
Of course, Jesus is the first and the last. He is the King of Kings and also the Servant of Servants. The greater the responsibility, the greater the need for service and sacrifice.
We see this illustrated in scriptures such as the parable of the talents in which Jesus stated that those who were faithful in the least things are given a few cities, those who are faithful in greater things are given more cities (Luke 19).
Now, we do not fully understand what we will be doing in God’s Kingdom, but we know that we will serve. Jesus also said that when He returns, we will not sit around and enjoy carnal pleasures, but we will immediately wait on Him (Luke 17:7). We will rule with Him, and we are not given the same amount of rule or service.
We see this presently. Some are given to be apostles and prophets, some teachers, some helpers, and so on (Ephesians 4). All are important and no one should see themselves as something greater (in-fact we are instructed to esteem others as higher than ourselves). Even so, some forms of service entail a higher office, and this requires more self-sacrifice and a finely tuned walk with Jesus. For example, a pastor is given some strict guidelines, and it is not possible or fair to hold all believers to that standard (Titus).
In this life, the greater the service, the more we need to show ourselves able to obey Jesus. So, it makes sense that Jesus would finely tune those who He is fitting for greater service. He says somewhat of this when He speaks of some being beaten with few stripes verses those beaten with lesser stripes. He also says somewhat of this when He says that we bring forth differing amounts of fruit.
In any case, we all need the grace of God. None of us will achieve perfection in this life apart from the blood of Jesus. Yet, we aim to have our inner man conformed to His image and we are rewarded according to the measure of faith and grace given to us. When we are raised from the dead, we will all be as Jesus is (1 John). However, we will not all receive the same level of service—neither in the present-day experience of His Kingdom or in the everlasting Kingdom. And with greater service comes great responsibility and need for a finely tuned walk. Great service also means greater sacrifice, so we should consider what cup we are asking for before we go after greater service. At least, that is my understanding.
(More clarification was needed in terms of “greatness” bestowed upon man by God)
What I mean by great is not great in terms of hierarchy of importance according to the vanity and pride of man, but of weight of responsibility and service. Mankind does not like to think that God would give greater responsibility to some than others. He said so Himself in the parable of the workers of the field: “Is your eye evil because my eye is good? Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with what is mine.” This entails doing as you mentioned in quoting Matthew 5:19, not a task of usurping God’s glory, but bringing Him glory through doing and teaching His word.
We do not compare ourselves to each other, but to Jesus. In doing so, we do not esteem ourselves as “greater.” I think of what Paul the apostle wrote. He wrote that our weaker members receive greater honor. Those who are weak among us should be favored because they need care all the more (1 Corinthians 12:23). Again, this goes against the ways of man. It is indeed true, our thoughts are not His thoughts, nor our ways His ways.
The point I was making in this assertion, in the context of chastisement, is this: Some people begin to esteem themselves highly as some great minister of God. Yet, they beat their fellow servants over the head with scripture and “chastisement.” In reality, someone “great” is servant. Someone “great” has greater responsibility and therefore should expect chastening and fine-tuning in their walk with the Lord so they might be a more effective minister. It is unfair to hold others to that standard (a standard many ministers hold to others yet refuse to hold to themselves). If faithful, then those who serve now will continue to serve in the Kingdom to come, and we will not serve equally. God can do what He will with what is His.
It seems that those who truly receive “greater” service would know that it is of God and would not feel puffed up in it, but humbled by it and sober-minded due to the gravity of the service.