When Joshua was allotting land to the tribes of Israel (Joshua 16 - 18), after receiving the allotment many did not obey God’s commandment to “drive out” the people of the land, instead, eventually using the remaining occupants as slaves, a more convenient and “economically productive” course of action.
When Jesus met Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-27), a tax collector and cheat, despised by many fellow Jews, Jesus, to his disciples, in a parable, described a Nobleman and his servants, to whom the Nobleman had entrusted ten pounds of silver. When the Nobleman was crowned King, he called back his servants to see how his investment had grown.
“...Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:17). The Israelites that did not drive out the Canaanites, etc., had made it to the promise land. However, they evidently did not take seriously God’s commandment to drive the occupants out of the land. They did not develop the understanding (that God would have given them had they sought it) of the consequences of not obeying God. These Israelites, and there were many, demonstrated their faith previously, at times, and God being the patient and merciful God He is, carried them to the promise land. The consequences of not obeying this particular commandment of God haunted Israel for years. The intermarriage and idolatry that resulted from this disobedience were just two of the consequences of their sin. Our faith and our works matter!
How many of us believers do not take Jesus’ commandments seriously. “Love your neighbor as yourself”, “Love your enemies”, “Therefore go and make disciples….”. While our disobedience does not affect our salvation, it does affect our fellowship and relationship with God. It does affect our witness to lost people and their salvation potential. The servants described in Jesus parable in Luke 19 may or may not have been lost, but at a minimum their works affected their reward in the new Kingdom. All of our actions and works affect us in some way, the way we think, the way we communication with others, and most importantly, our fellowship with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit - which affects our witness. Our faith and our works matter!
As the time nears, we who are believers will be longing more and more to be part of the celebration in this new city on a hill, Jerusalem (Ps. 87)
Has my (your) “wealth” grown steadily over time or am I (you) realizing the consequences of a “get-rich-quick” scheme? (Prov. 13:11). Our faith and our works matter!