Saturday, February 16, 2008

be faithful where you're at

When we read the Story from God in Scripture we find the Story involving a bunch of people who lived much of their lives on the margins, not in the center of the world. This was true of Abraham, moving from the center of civilization in his day, in answer to what must have been a rather obscure, even though clear call from God to leave and find a new promised land.

Even as great as David is in Scripture there is hardly a whimper of him in the annals of world history. And Jesus himself lived in the margins most of his life. Around the age of thirty he did most of his ministry in Galilee, north of the center of the nation, Judea- and Jerusalem. And even in his ministry in Galilee he avoided the big cities with hardly a mention of them in the New Testament. Jesus did most of his work in villages and small towns and in the countryside.

Too often I'm afraid I can be quite discontent where I'm at and think of my work and life as of very little consequence. Yet it's of big consequence to my wife and daughter and to those around me, especially those I see daily. As well as to those Christians who gather with me. Even to the few I have contact with in the blog world and on emails. Everything is important in its place and time.

Teaching a toddler to walk, letting them try and fall and praising them for the one or two steps they manage is like how our Father sees us. We believe in Jesus, becoming newborn babies. Then the time comes for us to learn to walk in Jesus. God is there to encourage and help us by his Spirit and his word, and through others he places in our lives. Learning this walk is big in God's eyes. And to trust and obey him in that- big.

Often this faithfulness is needed in the midst of difficulty and disappointment. That's big in God's eyes too, as we learn to better follow God as dearly loved children, even through these problems.

We need to take it step by step in our lives. We need to have eyes and a heart to see what God has set before us to do, and to not despise the day of small things. God doesn't. Indeed that's how God works in this world. He starts from the small and seemingly insignificant. And from that, God's kingdom and work in Jesus even through us becomes evident and real. Jesus himself is seen in us.

What would you like to add to this?

9 comments:

NaNcY said...

it is easy for me to think this way as well.

especially when i start to think that my own work can be the work of God instead of Gods work, in me and in others, to be the work of God.

i think that we can do many things. be a parent and a good partner to who we are married to, and do other things as well. our responsibilities that we take on of our family and friends. and the other things that we do for pleasure that we share. like art, writing, sports. we can be aware that in all that we do...God is always working through us and through others. it is not our work while we do these things. our work is to love God and love eachother. God does the rest through us as we go where ever it is we go and do what ever it is we do. we can change what we do for pleasure, we can write a book or paint a painting or go to another country and help children or visit our neighbor. now matter what we do...God can and will work through us...as long as we Love God and Love eachother. and remember it is all God's work.

and i think that no matter how big we think, that God still works in His time and His way. and that is not in our timing and our way and how we see things.

a lot of things happen in the spiritual part of our world that we do not see happening. we do not understand how what we do can matter. but, spiritually...it matters. the Loving God matters. the loving each other person where ever we are and what ever is going on matters.

we may want something else for our lives. we are allowed to do many things in our life. and we can do much more that we think we can if we want to. but, that is mainly to please us. some people like to do create more and do more. but, God can work in that. and some people like to do things around their home and some like to travel. God can work through that. as long as we remember that what we are doing is just what we are doing...and God is the one that is doing God's work.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy,
Thanks for your words to us.

I especially like what you say about the importance of us loving God and loving others in it all. So important and reminds me of the phrase in Scripture: "faith working (or expressing itself) through love." That's what counts in Jesus (Galatians).

NaNcY said...

oh...yes, i looked it up, galatians 5. very good. thank you.

God speaks to us in Love not doubt and lies.

We can Love God and be in His Love.
We can know His truth
and rest in His truth

Mike said...

I really think this is a word for our times. Christians are far too discontent. We are always looking for something else. True is, this is where the Lord has placed us.

Something about being a witness where we are at, and being content seem to have gotten missed.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Mike,
Yes. It's only American, or only something of this world to think that bigger and center stage is better.

But God's work in Jesus requires something so different, so not of this world, that it's not about that for us, at all.

Thanks, brother. Good, helpful thought.

lorenzothellama said...

Ted, although I read the Bible from time to time (I get phases when I want to and don't want to) so I cannot quote chapter and verse, but I am sure there is a bit from one of Paul's letters when he talks about meat and milk, an adults food and a child's food.
It's been a really cold, but sunny day with clear blue skies. Peter and I have been out on top of Shining Tor, and it was sooooo good up there.
Love Lorenzo.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Lorenzo,
I was just looking at some cool photos of Shining Tor, and it is quite a sight itself, and gives quite a sight. Lovely setting. I wonder how many miles or kilometers you and Peter were able to see from there today.

Yes. There is meat; there is milk. The gospel of Jesus' coming as God becoming Human, his life and ministry here, and his offering to God as the spotless Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, this must be received by faith in such a way that the recipient is born from above, born again. Then we're new babies needing the milk of the word of God. And as we grow we later begin to take in the meat of the word of God.

The word of God is meant, as you can see, to eat! Eat this book, a book by Eugene Peterson, is an apt description of what God told Jeremiah, Ezekiel (Old Testament prophets) and John on the island of Patmos in the Revelation, what each of these were told to do.

So this means we have to let God's word sink in and change us. But first God's word in the gospel or good news of Jesus, must make us new born babies, born out of water (natural birth) and the Spirit (spiritual birth, birth from above).

We're also told to taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed are all who trust in him.

So Scripture is meant to help us grow in faith. And faith begins with the word of God of the gospel or good news concerning Jesus.

Glad you and Peter had such a nice day. Weather hitting us hard here. Alot of water and freezing with more snow just around the corner, they've been saying. Won't it be nice when Spring finally comes.

Every Square Inch said...

Ted

Thanks for this honest, humble post. It's easy for discontent to rise when we consider our lives insignificant.

I understand the sentiment - but, is any life insignificant? I think not.

I just heard a sermon where the preacher said - "stewardship is always about what we have, not what we don't have" He meant that the steward's mindset needs to be about using what he's given effectively so that he may bring delight to the master. We won't be asked to account for what we don't have and in the grand scheme of this world, most of our lives are "insignificant" but in God's economy, every life lived for him is gloriously significant.

Ted M. Gossard said...

ESI,
How true, your ending statement and comment. And someday that will be manifest, when indeed, "the last are first, and the first, last."

Thanks.