I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.
What’s the worst thing that you can do to someone today? What’s the one thing that will make everyone hate you? Have them turn on you? Make them send out vicious, cruel posts over the internet? Motivate them to the point that they seek out your digital footprint and post negative rating and comments all over the place?
The one, universal thing that is to be avoided at all costs is to waste someone’s time. Wasting time is when someone takes their most precious resource, time, and invests it on someone or something, only to find out that it doesn’t make one little bit of difference.
When you waste time, you actually are spending time but with little-to-no payback. It can be through just sitting around, doing nothing. Or it can come through goofing off, spending time doing something that will not produce the results you want.
Do you remember a person that you feel like you wasted time on? It could have been a friend. An employee. A relative. A child. A spouse. You invested all that time, energy, and even money on them. You gave of yourself only to discover that it didn’t make one little bit of difference.
That’s where Paul is with the Galatians. He traveled to this place and invested himself into their lives. He shared his personal journey and conversion from being religious to being a Jesus follower. From being someone who worked for his relationship with God to receiving God’s grace through faith.
But Paul didn’t come to Galatia for a spa day, to sit by the pool, or to play golf. No, he went there to work. And not to just work, but to work hard. He struggled when he was with them. He labored to the point of exhaustion. We’d say that he left it all on the field. He left nothing in the bag.
But it didn’t end there. When he moved on, he didn’t leave his exhaustion behind. Paul was so physically and emotionally spent from what he had done with and for the Galatians that he was still tired days later. Weeks later. Months later.
Yes, Paul was dog tired from his time at Galatia. But that wasn’t his biggest concern. That wasn’t what he was worried about. It wasn’t all about him, it was all about the Galatians. His fear was focused on their faith.
Were they going to stay trusting Jesus’ payment for their sins?
Or were they going to slide back to trying to pay for those sins themselves?
There’re really only two options. We either put all our trust in Jesus or not. We either look to Jesus as God’s solution to take care of our sin problem once-and-for all, or not. We either let go of our good works and hold onto Jesus’ payment for our sins, or not.
The “or not” option has lots of possibilities. We can say that Jesus did pay for sins, but he needs some extra help. He needs us to add our own good works to the mix. Or that he paid for some sins and not others, requiring us to pay for the sins not covered by Jesus.
Another way to look at Jesus is to say that he lived a good life and said lots of good things. But that’s it. When it comes to paying for our mistakes and sins, it’s up to us to get to work. We have to do more good works than bad works. We have to pay for them.
Here’s the really bad news. If we have to pay any part of the penalty for our sins, we’re doomed. There is no way to know all the bad things we’ve done. There’s also no way to know if we’ve done enough good things to offset the bad.
If this is where you are, there’s no assurance that all your sins have been taken care of once-and-for-all. There’s no peace with God or yourself. The question about your relationship with God and eternal life is too important to not be absolutely answered.
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
1 John 5:13
God wants you and me to know that we have eternal life. It’s not to be up for debate. It’s not a question that we can afford to leave open. Unanswered. It’s so important that God want’s it nailed down.
He so desperately wants you to know that your life will be eternally with him that he sent his one and only son. He didn’t pass it off to an angel, or a prophet. He wasn’t going to waste his time with any other solution to this most important question. He took it on himself to make sure it was fully accomplished.
And it is. It’s done. Don’t waste your time looking anywhere else. Look to Jesus and him alone.