Do you ever read the labels on products? As I held in my hands a juice bottle, one phrase that I never thought of before struck me as teaching a powerful lesson. The phrase was: “No Deposit, No Return”. Of course it means that you don’t have to pay a deposit for the bottle and you will not be able to get any money for it if returned. Perhaps we can think of that message in a different way. “No deposit, no return” could be another way of saying that you will get out of life what you are willing to put into it. If you make no deposit or investment then you will get no return or benefits. This truth fits into many areas of our lives. Those who put no effort into their studies will not reap the benefits of a good education and possibly a good job relating to that education. Those who do not deposit with their employers a hard day’s work may not have a job next week. The team that does not practice hard in their athletic endeavors will not reap the benefits of a winning season.
“No deposit, no return” applies to our spiritual lives as well. In Gal. 6:7-9 the apostle Paul tells us: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up”. Depositing or sowing to the Spirit will return a wonderful harvest not only in this life but also in the life to come.
We will get out of our spiritual life just what we are willing to put into it. Are we willing to spend time studying the Bible, to learn the daily discipline of prayer, to practice a walk of holiness, to get beyond ourselves and look for ways to serve others? Are we willing to use our voice, our hands, our minds, and our feet to make a daily deposit for the kingdom of God? Before you throw away your next juice bottle read the label and let its message sink into your heart: “No Deposit, No Return”.
One of the delights that living in Florida offers is the abundant sunshine. I remember with a shiver the years I spent up north enduring days on end never seeing the sun at all. I love the beauty and the warmth the sun gives us, don’t you? It has a way of brightening our spirits and making an otherwise nasty day a little more cheerful. The sun has so many beneficial properties. In fact, life itself depends upon the sun. However, there is also sunburn, skin cancer, heat exhaustion, drought, and sunstroke that are caused by the sun. The sun can burn us or bless us. It has healing powers but also can hurt people.
One of the names of our Lord is: “The Sun of Righteousness”. In Malachi 4:2 God tells us: “But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings”. Our Savior is called the Sun of Righteousness. For those who belong to Him He rises to save our souls, heal our sins, and to bless our lives. With His radiant mercy and the brightness of His grace, we are changed forever.
Malachi also describes something else that happens as a result of the coming of the Sun of Righteousness. In verse 1 of chapter 4 we read: For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, and all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble; And the day which is coming shall burn them up, says the Lord of hosts”. Just as the sun in the sky has power to burn, the Sun of Righteousness will one day execute fiery judgment upon those who reject His mercy and offer of forgiveness. What a sobering thought.
The Sun of Righteousness rises upon all on the face of the earth. He offers the loving warmth of healing salvation to all who will call upon His name. Eternal life itself depends on the Son of God. Yet that same Sun that heals can also burn. It all comes down to our own decision. The Sun of Righteousness has risen; let Him shine into your life today.