That's right. Convicted. None of us are really any better than thieves and crooks. Think about it...what's the difference between us and them? We all have the same nature. The people who don't steal or murder are not worth any more than the people who do.
So then, why bother doing what's right? After all, even our most righteous acts are just filthy rags to God (Isaiah 64:6). But this is only part of the picture; when a missionary from Ethiopia, named Fred Van Gorkom, spoke at the E-Free Church this Sunday, he pointed out something that I want to share with you.
Each child of God is like an ore, impure and sullied by dross. In the refining process, ore is smelted in a furnace, so that it changes phase into molten form. Most precious metals are denser than the impurities, which float to the top and can be skimmed off of the surface.
Dr. Van Gorkom finished the illustration with an anecdote. He went to a silver refinery, where he watched a worker melt the silver ore and skim the dross off the top, repeating the process over and over and over. He asked the worker how long the silver must be refined before it is ready, and the worker replied that when he could see his image in the silver, then it was fully refined.
What is awesome about that illustration is how it resembles our own lives. Each of us is in a various stage of refinement, trying to reflect God's image with our life.
Now, the process of refining is not an easy one. It involves sacrifice...giving back to God what we can offer. But sometimes, we try to sacrifice things that don't actually cost anything for us. I challenge you (and myself) to give up to God something that we really do value.
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Author's note: Thanks, Greg, for the use of the leaflet in your bulletin...I wrote most of the ideas for this post on that leaflet in church.