From Rags to Riches

I haven’t watched a Rocky movie for many years, but I remember when the very first one came out. We all rooted Rocky on as he got pummeled. But he never quit! He was tougher than the sides of beef he beat up in the frozen food locker. We watched as he went from rags to riches in each subsequent movie. I can’t say that I enjoyed any of them as much as I enjoyed the first one, but the other day, I watched a bit of Rocky III. He was riding around in a limo, living in a large house, and wearing fancy clothes. His days of beating up frozen meat were long in the past until...he met with tragedy in life, and then had another big fight on his hands. He realized he had grown soft. The drive he once had had melted, and it needed to be set on fire again. He had to go back to the beginning and start over.

I was reading a Charles Spurgeon devotional today, and he reminded me of Rocky. The old Rocky, the hungry Rocky, the driven Rocky. He wrote “Remember where you first received salvation. Go at once to the cross. There, and there only can you get your spirit quickened. No matter how hard, how insensible, how dead we may have become, let us go again in all the rags and poverty, and defilement of our natural condition. Let us clasp that cross...” It makes me wonder, are we clasping the Cross with that fresh hunger?

I was at a celebration of life today for the young woman I wrote about recently. As we stood and visited, I had the opportunity to spend time with one of my co-workers. She was hurting. She had experienced three deaths in the past few months. As we talked about Jesus, and the Hope we have in Him—she wasn’t so sure. She wasn’t sure she could give Him her life if she still had doubts. She wasn’t sure she could give Him her heart while she felt the burden of sin. Like most of us, we think we have to get cleaned up to meet Jesus, and have all the answers to all the questions that plague us. We don’t. I explained to her that we can come just as we are. All we have to do is open up our mouth and confess Jesus is Lord, and open up our heart and believe God raised Him from the dead, to be saved. We can wade into the shallow end of the pool, and start there in our faith. She decided to take that step into the Living Water and confess Jesus as her Lord. I experienced how one life, laid down, helped to resurrect another for all of eternity. What the enemy meant for harm, God used for good. As we walked to our cars, she told me she felt better, as if a weight had been lifted. Jesus told us His yoke is easy and His burden is light. We can believe Him!

Searching And Noticing the Divine comes in many shapes and sizes. There are the easy days, when God shows up in simple gifts in extraordinary ways. But when days are hard, and we find ourselves standing at a celebration of life service with someone who has not yet experienced the riches of our Father, it can take us back to our roots. It can remind us of the heavy rags we once wore before we knew Jesus as our Savior. It can remind us of the first step we took in our relationship with Jesus. And it can give us a tender heart of compassion for those so needing the Hope of a Savior when the enemy is out to kill, steal, and destroy anyone in his path.

Anyone who believes in him will not be disappointed.” Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect.
They all have the same Lord, who generously gives his riches to all who ask for them.
For “Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Romans 10:11-13