Where I am currently employed, we are given a certain amount of sick leave per month dependent on the amount of time that you have worked there. This is a benefit that I have been thankful for from the Lord, for it has been necessary for me to use it occasionally, and though I understand that it is He who provides all our needs, I understand that it is sometimes through our employment areas that he has decided to do so. An entirely different subject altogether, and one we have and more than likely as the Lord leads discuss again in the future.
About twenty or so of those employed by this company were called to a small meeting a week or so ago where we were informed that a fellow worker in a different part of the company was in need of donated sick leave, this individual had run out of time, as it were. Along with some other information about how we could if we desired to donated sick leave time for this person, a statement was brought up which I have been contemplating in some ways since that time. “Let your conscience guide you in this matter.”
Now you must remember that there are no other saved individuals in the area where I work, though nearly all have heard in one way or another about the grace that has been offered to them by our Lord, we are not to be remiss in our duties, but this statement gave me pause to think. What possible effects of how we feel within our conscience could be of any avail to this individual who will not receive a full paycheck if donated time is not given? I envisioned in my mind a greeting card for someone who is in the hospital, signed by all who were concerned, or at least they signed it because they were expected to. Of what good beyond the possible emotional uplifting for the moment of the receiver did that card accomplish?
It is not the card, not the donated sick time, not even the emotional context that the receiver accepted the items with, it is the conscience of the giver that is the focal point of this letter to you. Why do these lost individuals, people who are dead in the trespasses of their sins, need to fell better about themselves because they have done what they consider a “good deed?” Do they feel an obligation, for many of them do not even know this individual, and if so, exactly what do they expect to gain in return, good feelings about themselves? It crossed my mind, but of course it did not seem correct to voice these thoughts, that there are millions of people around the globe who could use a card, some of your sick time, money, efforts and countless other things that would make their lives a little easier, what are we do to about them, send them a card and hope they feel better? There are approximately two-hundred thousand people who die every day on this planet, that’s a lot of cards to send.
It was indeed a very interesting statement coming from a lost individual spoken to those who if they die today at this moment will die in their sins, “let your conscience guide you.” Our conscience, our principles, morals and standards are based in two very separate areas, our deductive reasoning skills, and our emotions, and I am going to presume that you can guess which one usually takes precedence in matters of the conscience. In areas such as the one under discussion here, one would need to deduce if they have enough sick time to donate, and that of course would involve many variables, but the underlying one would be how much of what I have should I give away, how much should I save for myself just in case. This would involve deductive reasoning skills that would be based on their current financial situation and to a degree their own current, or perhaps their family’s immediate medical situation.
But the emotional context is what really runs the gamut here, if you will, for you must remember that these individuals do not know the Lord, but they may have heard a few of His words once or twice, usually out of context. Perhaps how we are to love each other, that we are all neighbors and so we should take care of each other, or maybe how it is more blessed to give that to receive, but that would be the extent of their thoughts in this area. If any gave they would have given out of a feeling of obligation, and here is the part where they do not even know why they did what they did when they offered up some of their own sick leave time, He has put eternity in their hearts. (Eccl. 3:11) The lost donate sick leave, send money to places occasionally for what they deem are worthy causes, mow the neighbor’s yard when they are sick, and send greeting cards because it is the right thing to do, and it eases their conscience.
Once these deeds have been accomplished, they feel better about themselves, their emotional state is at rest and no longer burdened with the possibilities of feeling bad about themselves if they were not to do anything. These believe that by doing these good works that they have accomplished that which is good, and since they have no concept of salvation by grace thru faith, the scales, if you will, have just tipped a little more in their favor. As long as they keep doing these nice things, staying within the boundaries of the moral construct that the society that they live in and their own conscience as it directs them, in the end everything will work out, and they won’t have to go to hell.
“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” (Rev. 20:12) This is why they do these things, and they don’t even know it. The books that were opened were the books of their conscience, their works that they thought were good enough to tip the scales, the deeds they performed that the world and Satan told them would find grace in the eyes of God and they would then be ushered into His kingdom with much fanfare. They let their conscience guide them, and it led them right into the pits of hell.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9) We have a conscience also my friends, and it is almost always trying to tell us that we need to do more, that God will love us and find joy in us if we just remain obedient and follow everyone of His precepts. Our conscience lies to us also. The One who told me that He will never leave me or forsake me didn’t add in there if you always do what I say. He says that He loves me like I am, but that He loves me so much that He does not want me to stay where I am, He wants me to follow. How many are on the path that Christ has set before them, looking forward to a Lord who is almost always waiting patiently for them to trust Him, standing there urging them on in love to follow Him.
Born again believers do not follow their conscience, they listen for the Lords leading, they hear the prompting of the Holy Spirit in their heart and then they do. Faith is our guide, faith in the One who said to me that I can trust Him in all things, and I have found Him more than trustworthy. If you follow your conscience, you will fall, if you follow the leading of the Spirit of God, you will not, very simple.
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Heb. 11:6) You can donate all the sick time you want, you can send all the Get Well cards that have ever been made, and you can even feel better about yourself when you do it, but you won’t see heaven by doing so, you won’t even see the gates of it.