Daily Devotional–Monday, March 29, 2021
“Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. 2 You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world.[a] He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. 3 All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.
4 But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, 5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) 6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. 7 So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.
8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:1-10, NLT)
“What’s in it for me?” is probably one of the most selfish and ungrateful questions to be uttered from the mouth of someone who has experienced God’s forgiveness and hope of heaven, yet rare is the Christian who has not on occasion asked the question. Even if the words don’t ever leave our mouths, how often have we resented being asked to help another, having our plans interrupted or having to go through difficult circumstances. When we consider all the blessings we receive as a Christ-follower, wholly undeserved, the question, “What’s in it for me?” betrays a Judas-like attitude. Let me explain.
Judas Iscariot, best known as the disciple who betrayed Jesus, was nevertheless a disciple chosen by the Messiah, a member of a small handpicked group to be mentored by the Son of God during his life on earth. Judas, like all the others, gave up many things to follow Jesus over the course of three years; we can assume that he grew in his knowledge of God as he listened to the teachings of Jesus; he witnessed incredible, unexplainable acts of God firsthand as Jesus performed miracles, even the raising of the dead; yet he never fully accepted Jesus as King on Jesus’ terms. In the back of his mind, it appears that Judas was perpetually asking the question, “What’s in it for me?”—calculating, scheming, setting his own desires above all else.
When Mary selflessly worshiped Jesus by anointing his feet with a perfume that cost a year’s wages, Judas veiled his resentment at not being given a chance to directly benefit from the gift by complaining that it should have been sold and the money given to the poor. If scholars are correct that Judas’ betrayal may have been an attempt to force Jesus’ hand to act out against the Romans, he was sorely mistaken. Jesus had not come for the reasons that most of the disciples believed—to immediately usher in an era of peace for the Jewish nation and to defeat Rome. His was a far greater purpose and Judas’ calculating attempt to force Jesus to fulfill his own plans for military conquest went unrealized.
We can be very hard on Judas, but I can’t help but wonder if we haven’t adopted his same attitude—looking for ways to personally benefit from our faith in Jesus, beyond the benefits already promised to us by God himself. If we’re serious about making Jesus our King, we need to work to erase that question from our minds and replace “What’s in it for me?” with “How can I share the blessings that are mine with others?” Rather than being selfish and ungrateful, we ought to be some of the most selfless and thankful people on the planet!
~ Pastor Jane
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!