Life in Prison 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NLT)
16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Why be thankful? Seriously. At the jail last night we met with two guys. You might think two guys? Big deal. It was really, because we’d had none in that area for over two months. One of the guys is looking at the possibility of life in prison. The other, most of the rest of his life too. What do they have to look forward to? We talked about the fruit of the spirit. We talked about what Christ calls us to do. We talked about forgiveness. We talked about honesty, integrity, responsibility, and God’s greater reward. We talked about service. We talked about caring for the hungry, the thirsty, the outcast, the poor, those in jail. We talked about which eternity we choose here on earth. We talked about life.

Job 2:9-10 (NLT)
9 His wife said to him, “Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die.”
10 But Job replied, “You talk like a foolish woman. Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” So in all this, Job said nothing wrong.

Sure, curse God and die. Go out in a blaze of glory and just continue blazing for eternity. Can anything be so bad here that it’s worth suffering for eternally? What happens to us here doesn’t matter, what we do here does. We’re called to fight for righteousness, to be the light, to be salt with substance. We’re called to be vessels that God works through. It’s part of the plan Christ has for us when he cloaks us, infuses us, saves us with his grace. It’s part of getting closer to God.

Proverbs 13:8 (NLT)
8 The rich can pay a ransom for their lives, but the poor won’t even get threatened.

Because the rich have something the robber wants. It works for spiritual richness as well as physical riches, just different kind of robbers. Nothing here on earth is worth jeopardizing eternity for. Nothing. Hearses don’t have U-Hauls behind them. What we leave behind, what we’re remembered by, is what was important to us because that’s where we spent our time.

Curse God or be thankful? Eternity in prison or life in prison? What would you choose?

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