“Crowns and Jewels and Prizes, Oh My!”

So what do you think? Were you ever told that you get “a jewel in your heavenly crown for every soul that you bring to Jesus”?

I’m not sure if this is just a Southern U.S. Bible Belt thing or not. I just know that’s what I had been told, but it’s not something that I can find in the Bible, at least not in that way.

Does it seem odd to you that a faith-based belief system would be spread by a works-and-rewards-based motivation? And after all of that “convincing other people” work to win jewels for your crown, you have to give it up?

the twenty-four elders fall before the one who is seated on the throne and worship the one who lives forever and ever; they cast their crowns before the throne, singing, “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” Revelation 4:10-11 (NRSV)

Does “sharing your faith with others in order to get a reward in heaven” seem in some ways to you like “believing in Jesus in order to escape the judgment of hell”? Both make me wonder about my true motivation, and that’s what this comic strip is trying to explore.

…“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” Revelation 5:12 (NASB)

When it comes to motivation, there is no greater motivation, I believe, than the Lamb That Was Slain, Real Life Jesus.

This is perhaps my favorite image of Jesus in all of the Bible. And really, isn’t that image what caused us to love Him in the first place? And so shouldn’t it motivate all that we do?

“The Pudding Cup Pyramid”

So what do you think? Could “Winning Souls” really work like this? If we keep telling people we know, and they tell people that they know, and then they tell people that they know…eventually wouldn’t everyone hold fast to Jesus as Savior? It’s sort of sounds like this is possible.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8 (NRSV)

But in a way it also sounds like a bit of naive optimism, hopeful romantic thinking that overlooks the role that darkness can play in the lives of some people.

“And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.” John 3:19 (NRSV)

Perhaps a good start is to see the real person and see from the perspective of their darkness (or better yet, what we perceive as their darkness). In other words, focus on the person rather than “convincing them to give up their pudding cups.” To me, it’s also important to remember that repentance follows (rather than precedes) embracing Jesus.

These things, I believe, require us to depend upon the guidance of Real Life Jesus.

God is quite good at leading us to people who have struggled with the same “pudding cups” that we have struggled with! (Things like alcoholism, drug addiction, negativity, promiscuity, or even faulty belief systems…all of those things that we don’t want to give up!)

We are called to “be My witnesses,” not “pry every last pudding cup” from anyone’s fingers! That is up to, I believe, Real Life Jesus. He decides.

“Witnessing My Way To Cleaner Dishes!”

So, did you miss “Laura’s Essential Life Lists” yesterday? I know, I know! Tuesday is her regular day, but remember how she was totally stunned last week to find that she wasn’t going to get her new automatic dishwashing machine by doing good deeds for needy people? It just took her a little longer than expected to recover!

But she’s back, full speed ahead, still set on getting a new dishwasher! Only this time she is trying a new strategy…witnessing and winning souls for Jesus.

So what do you think? Shouldn’t it count for a lot more than just feeding and clothing someone if you help get their soul saved? If you bring them to Jesus? That’s got to count for more, right? Souls are really valuable!

Jesus told a parable that is recorded in Luke chapter 17 which had always puzzled me in a way, partly because of where it was placed (right after the passage about having faith like a mustard seed) and how it is contrary to the way that we want the world to work (the more you work, you’d hope the more you are rewarded).

Here is the end of the parable.

“So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, ‘We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!’” Luke 17:10 (NRSV)

We can do less than God wants us to do. We can do everything that God wants us to do, but we can never do more than what God wants us to do. That may be a bit surprising! It was to me, and you can count on it being another shocker to Laura! (Not to spoil any future comic strips, but you do sort of see what’s coming, right?!?)

In the end, perhaps our only reward is God Himself, and really, is that such a bad deal? What if our lives overflowed with the love of God so much that we could not hold back from sharing our faith? Wow!

“The ‘Soul Winning’ Game”

So what do you think? “Winning Souls For Jesus” sounds like a good thing. We are supposed to care about the souls of other people aren’t we? Jesus certainly does!

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 (NASB)

I must confess that when I think about “something God would like but would still be fun for us,” I am not too eager to put evangelism or “winning souls” in this category.

“Winning Souls” just as a phrase by itself sounds very uncomfortable to my ear. Perhaps as this comic strip hints, it makes a very serious thing seem like a competitive game with points and prizes.

Here is something that I read recently on WordPress by a Christian writer. “I am not sent from God for you to save or save again. So please don’t treat me that way.”

That really made me think. This was said by a believer, someone who wants to follow Christ more closely and is asking questions to think through what that means for him, but if this is how he perceives the Christian community as a “Church Insider,” what about a “Church Outsider”?

Do we treat our neighbor as if they were living in a Third World country where no one had ever heard of Jesus?

Does this mean that we have one slant to the Gospel for those in Third World countries where Jesus has never or only barely been preached and a different slant for those in what might be considered Christian countries?

That “slant thing” just doesn’t feel quite right to me because it seems to be contrary, I believe, to my strong desire to find out who Real Life Jesus is to all people everywhere and what His Gospel message is to all people everywhere.

“Truck of Death? Pie of Life?”

This is #009 of “The Lloyd Servant Show” and it features the front page of today’s newspaper!

But for some of you, this may generate more questions than answers! Perhaps you might be asking, “Why is the face of Betty Mae Butler covered in the large featured photograph?” (The answer is given in a separate part of today’s comic strip!) You might even be asking, “Will Hank Chandler give up his quest for the truth and give in to whatever ridiculous story sells newspapers?” (That is a very good question!)

More to follow! All I can say for now is that the wife of Bradley Martin (“Lloyd Servant”), Bradeena Martin, will soon make an appearance!

“The events depicted in this comic strip are fictitious. Any similarity to any person living or dead is merely coincidental.”

For first time or new readers, this comic strip is part of a series. You can catch up with the plot line by selecting the menu icon in the upper right corner and then “The Lloyd Servant Show” under “Categories.” Scroll down to get to the very beginning!