In my studies, I came across the following quote from an unknown source:
“God will not look you over for medals, degrees or diplomas, but for scars.”
This truly is a Biblical principle. In 2nd Corinthians 11:24-25, the apostle Paul relates the hardships he faced for being a follower of Jesus Christ, saying, “Five times I received from the Jews the 40 lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked. I spent a night and a day in the open sea. I have been constantly on the move.”
Paul goes on to explain the other dangers he faced, including hunger, thirst and nakedness. He was not alone in his suffering. King Herod had James, the brother of John, put to death by sword. John the Baptist was beheaded and John the Apostle was exiled to the island of Patmos and later died in Ephesus.
Thousands of people have been put to death or made to suffer through the centuries because of their discipleship with Christ. Isn’t it interesting that the gift of salvation is free, but being a Christian can be very costly.
All this suffering and cost began at the cross. Thus, one can only know and confess Jesus as God’s Son from the vantage point of the cross. It is only through the Son of God who suffers and dies that we may see into the heart of God and enter into fellowship with Him.
In Mark 8:34-35, Jesus calls to the crowd, saying, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.”
There certainly is a place in life for medals, degrees and diplomas. We need to be recognized for achievements. We need to be educated. But we also need some scars.
In the hour of His death, Christ offered His life to God on behalf of mankind. His perfect life was acceptable to God. The salvation secured through the giving of that life is God’s free gift to mankind.
When we stand before God in the next life, will we be decorated with medals, degrees and diplomas from personal achievement? Or will we have scars from doing the work of God?
David Bilderback is a Greeley resident.