After Ricky took our breakfast orders and left the table, Stan said, “You ever notice how much our lives depend on the answer to ‘Then what’?”
“Then what?” I replied. “I’m not sure what you mean. Help me out!”
“Simple example,” Stan said. “We just told Ricky what we’d like for breakfast. Then what?”
“I guess he goes and tells Cook,” I responded.
“Right,” Stan said, “and then what?”
“Cook prepares our food,” I said, “and then Ricky brings it to us.”
“That’s it,” Stan replied. “And we could go on and on talking about then what happens. But there’s really only one that’s important.”
“Which one is that?” I asked.
“We’re all going to die,” Stan responded. “Then what?”
“I guess that depends on what has happened here, whether or not we have accepted God’s free and gracious gift of salvation.”
“Good guess,” Stan replied with a smile. “And there are all sorts of ‘Then whats’ that come into play after we’ve accepted God’s gift of salvation.”
“Oh,” I said, “like what the apostle Paul wrote about concerning working out the salvation that’s been worked in. That we’re supposed to do something because we’ve been saved.”
“That’s right,” Stan replied, “Because we are Christians, our lives are supposed to be different than they were before. The apostle James also wrote about that concerning our faith being dead without works.”
“Dead faith,” I commented. “That doesn’t sound very good.”
“It doesn’t,” Stan agreed. “But the other day I was looking at something Jesus said about this that does sound real good.”
“It’s where after describing Himself as the door, He went on to say that anyone who enters through Him will be saved. Then He pointed out a ‘Then what?’ about what being saved means.”
“What’d He say?”
“That they shall go in and out and find pasture,” Stan said.
“Go in and out and find pasture?” I replied. “What’s that have to do with salvation and a ‘Then what’?”
“It seems to me,” Stan said, “that it has a great deal to do with it. Let’s take a look. Jesus said that those people shall be saved. And then what they get to do is to go in and out and find pasture, which, it looks to me, means finding whatever God has for them to find in being a part of His kingdom.”
“Oh,” I replied. “Be saved. Period. And follow that by the ‘Then what’ of whatever God wants. That sounds pretty simple.”
“Yeah,” Stan said, “but remember that just because something sounds simple, it doesn’t mean it’s easy. If it were easy, everyone would do it. But you and I both know there are a lot of ‘then what’s’ that never get done!”
Bible verses to consider:
I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. John 10:9.
So then , my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:12-13.
For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. James 2:26.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for your free and gracious provision of life eternally with you. Thank you, too, for wanting me to be a part of what you are doing for your kingdom while you keep me on this side of eternity. I know that because of the salvation you have worked in through the cross of Christ, I am to work out that salvation by being and doing what you have for me. I confess that too often I do not do the “Then what?” that is to follow my salvation. Please help me follow every step of your lead so, in fact, I do so. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Have you accepted God’s free and gracious provision of life eternally with Him? If no, why do you want to remain separated from Him? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing with the “Then what’s?” in your life? If you sense the need for change in any of this, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?