Luke 10:20 “However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
This is a marvelous verse, quoted by many and included by Chu Kosaka in one of his songs. As familiar as it might be, it is still worthy of meditation. We tend to be hungry for authority, forgetting that with authority always comes responsibility and accountability for how we use that authority. Jesus is saying here that yes, His disciples do have a remarkable degree of authority, but our eternal destination is of far more importance. When we know, without the shadow of a doubt, that our names are recorded in heaven, listed among those who have full right to enter, then all the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” (to quote Shakespeare) have very little real effect on us. We aren’t taken out of the world, as Jesus prayed about, (John 17:15-16) but are insulated to a remarkable degree against its attacks on all levels. Many people have talked about how we can’t control what happens to us, but we do have a lot of control over how we respond to it. The awareness that our names are recorded in heaven, and all that means, gives us an enormous advantage in our response. We can forgive others when we know we are truly forgiven! That in no way means that we are perfect in this life, just as Paul wrote memorably and repeatedly. However, it does mean that we can get past our failures as well as the actions of others toward us, knowing that our destination is absolutely glorious. Paul wasn’t present when Jesus said these words, but God revealed the contents of them to him in other ways, so that he wrote, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:17) That’s what “rejoicing that our names are written in heaven” is all about.
Just yesterday I was talking with a close friend and was surprised to be overcome with emotion as I talked about my ultimate goal in life. I don’t remember how the subject came up, but I shared that for many years now I have realized that my goal is to hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Absolutely everything else pales in comparison. That such a prospect is even possible is a testimony to God’s amazing grace, because there’s absolutely no way I could earn such an accolade in my own strength. I’m not intrinsically faithful! I feel like I’ve been given a huge reservoir of resources, and I have actually done very little with them. As I wrote that, the Lord reminded me that He’ll be the Judge of that, thank you. He knows exactly what He’s provided to me, what is valuable and what is less so, and He knows what I’ve done with it all even better than I do. I am to walk with Him daily, getting my “to do list” from Him and not from the world, or even my own imagination. It’s been several years now since He told me to rest, relax, and rejoice, but I’m still learning how to do that! I need to trust that He will indeed bring to completion the good work that He has begun in me, just as Paul wrote to the Philippians. (Philippians 1:6)
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for Your incredible patience and grace toward me. I absolutely know I don’t deserve it, but I know it’s real. Help me indeed do with everything You have entrusted to me, authority and everything else, exactly what You desire and intend, so that Your name may be acknowledged as holy and Your rule and reign established as Your will is done, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!