The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” The Lord replied, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. “Who among you would say to your servant who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here immediately and take your place at table’? Would he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat. Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink. You may eat and drink when I am finished’? Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded? So should it be with you. When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.'”
In most things in life, there is usually a minimum requirement. In schools, you must have taken certain courses and met a minimum grade point average (GPA) and standardized test scores (e.g. ACT, SAT) in order to ascent to the next level. At work, we often have to have worked a certain number of types of assignments for a relative period of time in order to get promoted. In sports, the Championship Team usually goes through a regular season, qualifying rounds, and a series of play-off games/rounds with other top Teams before being named the “best” for that season (and, they’ll have to repeat it all the following season for a chance to be named the “best” again). So, it makes sense that we, as Christians, would think that Heaven would be the same way. But, the sobering reality is that our potential entrance into Heaven is “pass/fail” mixed with a whole lot of Grace. You cannot do enough good deeds to get you into Heaven, nor can you “out-sin” God and get banished Eternally from God. In order to “fail” getting into Heaven, you literally have to “shun” and “reject” God’s Infinite Love. You have to become one severely-hardened-crotchety kind of person to get that far away from God. You have to ignore God’s countless attempts to bring you back to His Flock. You have to work so much harder to get away from God than you have to work to “pass” with God. To “pass”, you simply have to accept Jesus into your heart and love God with all of your mind, body, and Soul and love others the way that you love Christ. And, again, here’s where the “the minimum requirement” creeps back in and numbs many into “lukewarm” Christians. It’s one thing to say that you “love” Jesus; it’s a very different thing to “Love” like Jesus. We cannot assume that if we go to Church, make some donations to the poor, and lead a basically-good life, that we are “Loving” like Jesus. Jesus Loves us so much that He left His Throne in Heaven and was rewarded for it by being ridiculed, beaten, scourged, and nailed to a Cross. He died for us. The question is, will you “die” for Him? We’re not talking about jumping off of the Brooklyn Bridge here. We’re talking about recklessly loving others while ruthlessly Trusting in Him. That is the goal and it’s quite simple to do. Whatever hardness has crept into our hearts over the years via a world under distress needs to be removed. It has no place in our hearts; that’s where Jesus belongs. Let’s aim for the Maximum and do our very best to achieve it. While we will all fall short of “a Perfect Score” on this side of Heaven, like Norman Vincent Peale said, we should: “Shoot for the moon. Even if [we] miss, [we]’ll land among the stars.” Now, that’s a lot better than shooting for the minimum!