Carol and I are busily working to get our house ready to sell. (We don’t know where God will lead us, but we want to be ready when he does.) We met with a realtor and stager who advised us on what to change, upgrade, remove, etc. in order to make the best possible impression on a prospective buyer. Some of the work requires professional help, such as cleaning the roof and replacing the countertops. But most of it we are doing ourselves—painting, replacing light fixtures, adding bark to the yard, etc. The realtor referred to it as “sweat equity.” We work hard to increase value to our home and make it more attractive.
As I was painting today, I had two thoughts. The first was selfishly pragmatic. I hope someone is expending an equal amount of sweat equity on the future home we will buy (wherever God may lead us next). I’d hate to get shortchanged in the deal. This is one of those areas where we have to trust God, to believe that the just judge will judge justly.
The second thought was the phrase in Philippians 2:12 where Paul says, “. . . work out your salvation in fear and trembling.” Paul doesn’t say to work for our salvation. He says to work out your salvation.
In verses 1-11, Paul describes what Jesus did for us. He laid aside his rights as God, took on the form of a servant, and became obedient even to the point of death, all so we might receive salvation. In light of Christ’s sacrifice and example, we are to take the valuable salvation we have received and put it to use. Through changed attitudes, changed behavior, practical servanthood, and good works, we demonstrate the reality of our salvation.
In the same way that my hard work can demonstrate pride of ownership and add to the value of my home, so my good works can demonstrate how much I value the salvation God has given me.
Perhaps it’s time to invest a bit more sweat equity into my Christian life.