I thought I had it all together. All the monthly payments were noted, set aside, and catalogued so that I didn’t miss a payment. And then…..
I open a bill and it says “Past Due”. I stare for a moment at the paper or the screen and wonder how that happened. “Past Due”. I thought I covered everything. I thought I had made sure I followed the rules. I read the print, understood what it meant, and agreed to the terms and conditions. But somehow, I messed up.
So exactly WHAT was “Past Due”? Well, in this case there was an obligation made between two parties to DO something. An agreement was made between a credit card company and me that stated in summary, “You use the card to charge specific purchases so that the payment is deferred to a single payment with the flexibility to reimburse the card issuer over time, with added demands for that flexibility called interest.” Normally this repayment is done by a certain day of each month when the remuneration is expected.
But “Past Due” means I didn’t do something that I was supposed to do in the timely manner agreed to by the card issuer and the card holder. I was OBLIGATED. I AGREED to it according to what I read.
1 Corinthians 6:20 says, “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
1 Corinthians 7:23 says, “Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.”
So, when we made the decision to receive Christ for the remission of our sins, He paid our sin debt IN FULL. But He also said in His text that now that He “bought us with a price” (and an enormous price at that), He said we must also honor the rest of the agreement……
And Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” It’s in the print………
Well, well, well. Looking at a payment I had missed hardly compares to the obligation that I have to the Lord!
As I turn aside from the financial aspect of credit card payments to settle my fiscal obligations, I must focus on the spiritual side and what the Lord instructed me to do because He paid my debt. The agreement with the Lord isn’t to make a “payment” to talk about people’s lives in a rigid militaristic manner like a monthly payment, but to agree to discuss spiritual things as an interest in THEIR relationship to Christ as the Lord directs at a specific moment. He might allow us to contract a serious illness so we are hospitalized so we can tell people about Jesus with purpose in the workplace of that hospital. (this is MY application almost 20 years ago).
But when the Lord wants us to do something, He sets it up with precision. He operates with a celestial baton, guiding the universe and all its facets in perfect rhythm. But if I do not move as the Holy Spirit moves me at a specific time, He might urge me again. And again. And if I still am afraid, or am uncertain, or I am too busy, or I am not in the mood, or I am not “ready”, then He takes out a stamp and plants “Past Due” squarely on us!
I know what it’s like to follow His lead at specific points in my life, and it’s incredible to watch the unfolding of majestic plans of unparalleled magnitude. (When I pay a monthly installment on time, I never get that kind of observation or response). But at the same time, when I delay, or when I choose NOT to do something for Him as part of the Holy Spirit’s urging, I have had to experience the impact of “Past Due” landing on me.
So, when it comes time to talk to a person at work who needs encouragement, or a customer who is acting belligerent or a vendor who is doing their best but is falling short, what is the Lord telling you to do? Did He set this up so you could shine in HIS light in that situation? Did he put you into that uncomfortable scenario for you to have the opportunity to be a major influence in a negotiation or mitigation?
Look at it this way…. When we do what the Holy Spirit guides us to do, when He wants us to do it, He will enable us to exceed our most imaginative expectations, and that will actually pay spiritual currency in advance. That will make sure we will never have to anticipate a “Past Due” visit from our Lord.
“Lord, help us to realize that Thank You, Lord!!! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!”