Unbeatable Benefits Package-- Part 1
When looking or interviewing for a job, we check out the benefits. Health insurance coverage? Company car? Free smart-phone and service? Free training programs? Non-contributory retirement funding? All-expense-paid yearly vacations to exotic places? (that last one may be over the top) Other benefits we may consider necessary?
As I’ve talked with some of my ESL students online about the benefits their company offers, their answers vary. Some tell me they get all of the above (except the exotic vacations), and then some. Others tell me, “Well, only the top management gets… (fill in the blank), but at least we do get a phone. That’s so they can contact us to do some work for them whenever they think of it.” Oy—such a benefit! With benefits like that, who needs detriments?!
But no matter who we are—our status in society, job (or lack of one), age, ethnic background, personality, or anything, the Lord offers the best, out-of-this-world, longest-term benefit package out there. Here it is, in black and white, with no hidden fees—Psalm 103:1-5
Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Wow! Each one of these would be worth a job in any company! Let’s unpack them, one by one:
First— forgiveness of all our sins. ALL our sins—the wrong thoughts, words, and actions, the not doing what we should have done. All— any shape or size of sin—wiped out from our record—clean slate every time we confess and ask forgiveness. 1 Jn. 1:9 confirms this— “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” We have the ultimate spiritual detergent, right here. Ps. 103:12 expands on this by assuring us “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” If we go north far enough, eventually we’ll find ourselves going south when we cross the North Pole. But once we start going east, we’ll never be going west, and vice-versa. What this means about our sins, is that we never have to meet up with them again— they’re never coming back to haunt us, shame us, pronounce us perpetually guilty, or be held against us! And we thought having our student-loan debt erased would be awesome!
Second—healing of all our diseases— Even the best healthcare insurance can’t begin to compare with this. Here, we have total, unlimited, coverage, with no deductible. Granted, it may not happen in this life, where our bodies are mortal and do decay at varying rates. But in heaven we’ll have new bodies, with no physical or mental illness (2 Cor. 5:1-10).
Third—our lives redeemed from the pit. Ever hear the expression, “Man, that’s the pits!”? Or “the pit of despair”? When we feel so hopeless and depressed that we can’t imagine life any other way, can’t imagine any way out or any way up, the Lord reaches down and gently lifts us out of that pit. Where once all we could see was darkness and walls, He brings us out to a secure, open, place, where we can see the sun shine and the possibilities around us. (Ps. 40:1-3). Vacations vanish into memory. Boredom sets in. Stress squeezes us. Failure and rejection happen. But where there’s God, there’s hope and joy.
Reflect on these three benefits—Forgiveness, Healing, Redemption. What a transformation these bring to our lives, now and for eternity! But there’s more—so much that if I write them here, this would become a book instead of a blog post! So, we can look at them next time.
Meanwhile, may we all experience the benefits the Lord has in store for us. All they “cost” is praising Him wholeheartedly. Such a deal! :)