Jesus and a Box of Cuban Cigars
A friend recently gave me a sealed box of 25 Cohiba cigars with a proper Habana government sticker. Not much of a cigar person, he was led to believe they had been brought into the U. S. legally. Yes, I thought to myself, I’ve heard something about relaxing the laws for imported Cuban cigars.
Oh, how I wanted to believe it was true! Grateful, I accepted the stogies, rushed home, and opened to box to admire the workmanship. Cuban cigars still rule!
Round One: Victory
And then I started hearing the voices. The first voice said, “You can trust your source. Enjoy them. They’re a gift. You deserve them. It’s a blessing.” The second voice said, “Are you sure they’re legal?” I really didn’t want to hear that second voice.
After a long self-debate, I googled the current Cuban embargo laws. They are unchanged. You can bring in $100 worth of Cuban products, including cigars, from a visit To Cuba. That’s it.
So I decided not to partake any of the Cohibas. I had been through this before, and I had concluded the lesson for me was scrupulous obedience. God, once again, gave me victory in a small thing so that I do not disqualify myself for bigger things.
Round Two: Reward
Round One took place four days ago. Round Two took place a few moments ago. I started thinking, “You know, that really was a righteous thing I did by not using those cigars. No one would have known, and anyone who did wouldn’t have cared anyway. God will surely bless me because I was faithful in this small thing.”
And there is the lie. It is the idea that I deserve something for doing what I should have done anyway. In theology it’s called works righteousness. It is the idea that I can accrue merit by doing good deeds. Why should we expect a blessing for merely doing our duty? Jesus put it this way…
“Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? Would he not rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’” (Luke 17:7-10).
Let us be cautious to obey Christ because it is our duty, not because it may earn us a reward.
Together in the Battle for Men’s Souls,