Have you ever received a rich welcome? I can think of many welcomes I have received. I have received dutiful welcomes—you know the kind where the person is forced to allow you into their home either from some kind of business or family obligation. The door opens to you; you are not blocked from entrance, but you know that you are really not wanted. No one is really excited that you have finally arrived, in fact the homeowners are more likely looking forward to the end of your visit than they are to your arrival. I have received a warm welcome, the kind where someone is very touched that you have come into their world. That person is happy to see you come and sad when you must leave. I have received startled welcomes and shy welcomes. I have received an unkind welcome when someone has literally slammed the door in my face, but I can’t say that I have received the kind of welcome that Peter says God longs to give me when I reach heaven. Peter describes what is on God’s mind. He hopes to be able to give me a rich welcome. I can’t wait to see what God has in mind.
In my mind, a rich welcome would be coming into a place where everything that is important to me is stocked to overflowing. The people I love, the experiences I treasure, the food I enjoy; all laid out to please me. There would be beaches with dolphins laughing and playing, mountains filled with wildflowers with gentle horses to ride, hiking trails filled with butterflies; waterfalls leading to tepid pools for swimming and rapids to traverse. I would love fresh picked blueberries and Danish lobster tails with melted butter. I could go on and on imagining what a rich welcome might involve.
I have no idea what God might have in mind for a rich welcome, but Peter claims that I can be sure to receive it—if! 2 Peter 1:10-11 states:
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Although I will need to wait until heaven to discover if I get a rich welcome and what a rich welcome might contain; living my life so God can give me a rich welcome will be evident in my life now. Confirming my calling and election through walking in virtues guarantees that I will not be defeated existing this fallen world. When I live into my divine nature as evidenced in the virtues of faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, godliness, brotherly kindness and love, my life here on earth is satisfying. Peter wants me to consider how much this way of life will bless me, not only in this life, but in the life to come. Someone descried it: Living your life to put a smile on the face of God.
This is my focus for the new year. I want to be eager and determined to live out the gift of the divine nature via exhibition of the above-mentioned virtues and even more. My life here on earth is so short in light of eternity, yet how I live it will affect how I will experience eternity. I sense that God’s riches are unlimited and sadly there are going to be a lot of ungiven riches simply because a lot of us didn’t become eager to participate in the promise of His divine nature and allow the Spirit of God to be evidenced in us through faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control and other great qualities. That’s a shame. I hate to waste my life on lesser things, when Jesus Christ has made it possible for me to participate in His divine nature!
Happy New Year!