by Carl V. JonesHave You Claimed Your Inheritance
Several years ago, local newspapers printed a list of people who had unclaimed deposits in a certain bank. People had moved away or died without clearing these small accounts. Collectively, they amounted to a large sum, but only the bank was benefiting from these deposits.
Just as the bank wanted the people to have what was rightfully theirs, God desires us to have full benefit of the peace which Jesus willed to us. As He said, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you" (John 14:27).
Every Christian has been left a legacy of peace by our Lord Jesus Christ, but few have fully claimed their inheritance. This absence of peace is evident in the life of professing Christians when they harbor doubts, profess fears, admit lack, and show that they are worried or frustrated.
The peace Jesus spoke of is like the peace that was depicted by one of two artists who were asked to draw their conception of Peace upon canvas. One drew a beautiful country scene showing a farmhouse, with ploughed fields, cattle grazing in the meadow, birds singing in the trees, and the farmer at work in the field. It was truly a peaceful scene.
The other artist drew a picture of a majestic cliff. He showed a storm raging…gnarled trees bending to the will of the wind…lightning flashing across the sky. You could almost feel the electric charge in the atmosphere. Then the artist added a crevice in the cliff, and showed two birds sitting side by side on a nest-at peace while the storm raged around them.
The latter is a beautiful picture of a Christian living in a world where the storms of evil passions are raging-a world that is threatened by nuclear holocaust; a world that since September 11, 2001, has been living in fear of terrorism. Yet we can have a peace within which the world can neither give nor understand...a peace that is our inheritance from Jesus Christ our Lord.
Meanwhile, we live in a troubled world that seeks peace but is unable to find it. It seems that the world is facing a war that cannot be fought, and searching for a peace that cannot be attained.
Omar Bradley, a World War II general, said: "We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount. Man is stumbling blindly through spiritual darkness, while toying with the precarious secrets of life and death. The world has achieved brilliance without wisdom, power without conscience."
Paul, Jesus' disciple, declared, "God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind" (2 Tim. 1:7). Therefore, we should never fear to face the realities of life.
Recently a woman who had won one of the big lotteries was asked what her winnings had done for her. She answered, "It has given me peace of mind"-but such a peace is at best only temporary. The peace Jesus gives endures through both time and eternity. He said, "Not as the world giveth, give I unto you..." (John 14:27).
A man who had robbed more banks than any other individual said he had to do it to support his drug habit. The drugs gave him a certain peace, but the peace was short-lived, and he was in bondage to the drugs. Paul said, "Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" (2 Cor.3:17). Christians are never in bondage to any habit, because we have the Spirit of Christ, and are at peace.
"Thank God I have finally found peace of mind," said Larry, who had tried drugs. The week before Larry had gone to the altar and rededicated his life to God. He spoke of the misery of sleepless nights, and the feeling of shame he had experienced because he was not living right before God and his family.
Henry Van Dyke gives us this recipe for peace: "Be glad of life, because it give you a chance to love and to work and to play and to look up at the stars; be satisfied with your possessions, but not contented with yourself until you have made the best of them; think seldom of your enemies, often of your friends, and every day of Christ."
Jesus came to reconcile God and man by bridging the gap between them. "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself..." (2 Cor. 5:19).
Jesus, who Himself came not to be served but to serve, taught that if we want to find real peace we need to become involved in life. "He that findeth his life shall lose it; and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it" (Matt.10:39). Let us claim our inheritance of peace of mind as Jesus wants us to, in the way He wants us to.