Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Package of Benefits That Can't Be Beat!

The question is not so much what wages am I going to receive but what are the benefits while employed and after retirement? --- This is often what goes through a potential employee's mind when the possibility of being hired takes place.

A primary concern when it comes to employment is what benefits are offered by the employer. Labor unions are notorious when it comes to demands on this issue. For the "fruits" of such demands do a search sometime on the term, "Ruins of Detroit," and see a graphic illustration of what the auto workers' union has accomplished by way of devastation and excessive demands in contracts!

No matter how great the benefits appear to be in an employment situation, they cannot begin to compare to a benefits package of a very different kind that has been in existence for a very long time!

In secular employment the benefits include such items as a generous health care plan, vacation time, sick days available, insurance, and a retirement plan that in some cases will enable the employee to collect almost as much as he/she did before retirement took place. Again, check out what auto worker union members are getting in their retirement by way of income and benefits! And not only these but members of other unions in a number of cases have done quite well also. Federal workers do rather well when it comes to "benefits" not just in active employment but the retirement circumstances could even make a king envious!

Alas, I have digressed a bit, but only to stress that large numbers of people have been deceived into thinking that if they have a generous benefit package in employment and an even better one after they retire, then they are really on "easy street" and living in a "heaven on earth!"

But let's look at the Heavenly Benefits package that God offers to all people -- it is there, but critical decisions have to be made for it to become a reality in the experience of each human being.
1. Freedom From Condemnation: God took on human form, made a personal visit to the planet He created a long, long time ago, and ultimately bore the punishment upon Himself for the sins of each one of us human beings! Consequently Jesus, by His sacrificial death, made possible total forgiveness of our sins and reconciliation to God. Romans 5 stresses having peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

2. Life Forever: Longevity in this life is what many persons desire -- rare is the person who wants to die "young" and usually when that is the case, it is because of a combination of problems and issues that an individual is unable to resolve. Those hefty "benefit" packages mentioned earlier cause most recipients to harbor a desire to live a long time so those benefits can be fully enjoyed. But life in this world is limited to a few decades at most and then comes the end. But by God's mercy it is possible to experience the assurance of life unending in another realm. The most well known verse in the Bible (John 3:16) specifically mentions the possibility of coming into possession of "everlasting life" through God's Son, Jesus Christ!

3. A Perfect Environment: Our human minds with severe limitations cannot begin to comprehend what Heaven is like. Jesus said He would prepare a place for His people (John 14) and a few details are made known. There is no death, no pain, no sorrow of any kind in that place. Here on earth the landscape is cluttered with drug stores, doctors' offices, dentists' offices, hospitals, and funeral homes -- every one of these has a negative picture attached to it -- some kind of affliction, pain, grief etc. In addition, there are the constant eruptions of conflicts and violence which result in loss of human life on a daily basis. Grief and pain are multiplied further by such activity. But imagine a place where every negative kind of human experience is entirely eliminated -- a place where perfect peace and love are the standards by which all human existence is experienced! The closing chapters of the book of The Revelation provide a description of that perfect environment in which God's people will exist forever.
Do you see that there is absolutely no comparison between the best of "benefit" packages offered to employees by companies and businesses in this world and that which God provides for His people through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ?

One would think that the vast majority of people would scramble and do what has to be done to insure that they had in their possession the "Heavenly Benefits Package" so that when their time comes to pass from time into eternity they not only know their destiny but precisely what their everlasting benefits are.

But no -- due to confusion and so much preoccupation with the earth-bound and time-bound benefits of their earthly existence the majority has neglected to check into what is involved in the "Heavenly Benefits Package!"

It is simple really -- first, one has to face the reality of being a sinner and countless times has sinned against God and one's fellow human beings! Second, one has to confess to God that he/she is guilty as charged and seek mercy and forgiveness -- a tough thing to do because of the vanity of human pride that can get in the way. Third, recognize that Jesus Christ paid the penalty for one's sins, give thanks for this, and receive Him into one's life as Savior and Lord in an act of faith. And fourth, express a commitment to seek His will and be obedient to Him each day as long as one lives in this present world.

Finally, it is good to give thanks that God has put together a package of "benefits" that makes the best of corportate packages look like putrid garbage in a paper bag by way of comparison!

He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God. --- 1 John 5:10-13