Since the heavens declare the glory of God (Ps. 19:1), and the firmament showeth His handiwork, surely we creatures can declare the same thing. The heavens are pointing to God, saying, “Look!” and our lives can and should do the same thing.
But how does this work? What are the heavens doing that we can imitate? The heavens, as far as I can tell, are simply doing what God created them to do. They shine. They obey His commands. The winds quiet down when He tells them to. They blow where He sends them. The sun rises and sets day after day according to His plan and purpose, and this is declares God’s glory.
So it follows from this that we creatures glorify God when we do what He has created us to do. When we assume the position to which He has assigned us, and joyfully embrace our duties, we are pointing to Him and bringing Him glory.
I think we want it to be more complicated. We want to do something fancy to bring Him glory, and the mundane doesn’t seem important enough. But that is where we go wrong. When I was fresh out of college, I “told” God that I would go anywhere for Him. “Send me to India. I’ll go to the ends of the earth. Just get me out of Moscow.” It sounded very humble to offer to go somewhere far away. But it was actually very me-centered. I had a condition for God! And of course, I’ve been (happily) in Moscow ever since. I had to get at that un-surrendered territory in my heart and offer it to God as well. I thought that serving God would somehow be more significant or important or meaningful somewhere else, anywhere else. But He wanted me at my post right where I was.
Restlessness, dissatisfaction, and discontent can keep us from glorifying God right where we are. Are you unmarried? Newly married? A mother of one or a mother of many? Are you sick in bed? Do you have time on your hands? Do you have way too much to do? Look at your duties right where you are and don’t offer to go somewhere else. Do these things cheerfully with an eye to God’s glory. Shine. Blow where He tells you to blow. And quiet down when He says to hush up. This is what brings God glory.
A volunteer is someone who is under no obligation or requirement to perform a task, but freely and willingly steps forward and offers to do it. I imagine that many churches (if not all) could not get nearly as much done without the help of many volunteers. These folks often work behind the scenes, and so they do not get much recognition for their work. But they don’t do it for that reason anyway (we hope) but simply because they love to be useful, to chip in and donate their time and effort in countless ways.
Two kinds of volunteers come to mind: the first is someone who simply steps in to do things informally as they come up; the second is the one who signs up when the list is passed around or the email plea for help is sent out. Both provide valuable services to the church family or community in which they live.
So what am I getting at with all this prelude about volunteers? I am warming up to address a couple of troubles with volunteers. The first trouble is the undue pressure some feel to volunteer. They are motivated by guilt, so they say they will do something because they want to be known by others as a giving person. (Don’t we all?) But guilt is a crummy motivator, and Continue reading ‘Volunteers Who Don’t’
As tempting as it is to come up with ten New Year’s Resolutions, I thought better of it, and I decided to consider Psalm 90:12 instead. Maybe I can come up with ten things to learn from this short verse.
“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (KJV).
Or in the NKJV: “So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
1. Apparently we must be taught to number our days, because otherwise we naively think we have an unlimited supply. The calendars just keep whizzing by, year after year, and we think nothing of it. But God has put a lesson on the board, and we are to learn it.
2. It is also clear from this prayer that the psalmist assumes God is the only suitable teacher for this material. No one else is capable because no one else understands it. We just don’t get it. We need the Holy Spirit to do His work so we will learn this important, central, vital lesson. In other words, this is a big deal, not a minor detail.
3. The end of this teaching is wisdom. We don’t learn to count down how many days we have left on this earth so that we can party to the end. We are looking for wisdom here. Wisdom is what we want and obviously need, and it doesn’t just grow on trees. We must be taught. That means sitting down at our desk and licking our pencil. Continue reading ‘Counting our Days’
If you are at all prone to fret, worry, or get anxious over life and the stuff in it, here are a few reminders for you to keep you out of the fret mode. Who wants you fretting? I guarantee you it is not God who is planting worries in your heart and mind. So here are five reasons not to fret, besides the obvious reason that God does not like it.
1. It’s not pretty. Ugh.
2. It’s not fun to be with.
3. It is not trusting God.
4. It is not setting your mind on things above, but setting it in the wrong place. Continue reading ‘Fret Not’
Now that I have hit sixty (and I don’t mean mph), I have lived long enough to see a few harvests. If you are reading this and you are in your teens or twenties or thirties, consider what you are diligently planting, because when you hit your forties and fifties, a harvest starts rolling in.
For example, if you have been sowing a whole lot of low-grade discontent, you’ll be reaping a harvest of misery. If you’ve been picking on your kids for a decade, you will see them disappear over the horizon. If you’ve been complaining to your husband for two decades, you might see him disappear over the horizon as well.
We see a harvest on both the physical level as well as the spiritual. Women who have been trying to look twenty in their thirties and thirty in their forties reap a harvest of looking like day-old donuts. Stale. (My husband says that the only thing worse than a day-old donut is a day-old donut with a fake tan and hoop earrings.) Women who have been sowing idleness and slovenliness start looking neglected and rejected. None of this happens Continue reading ‘Harvest Time’
One of the (many) things we can appreciate that the Reformers did for us was to dispense with the idea that some callings are “holy” callings while others are not. Prior to the Reformation, those who were in “full time Christian work” (monks, nuns, priests, etc.) were engaged in “holy” work, while all other callings were seen as somewhat inferior. Unfortunately, we see some of this same old pre-Reformation attitude among Christians when they say or think that if they are really sold out to Jesus, they will go to the mission field. As though being really sold out to Jesus can’t mean going to college or working at a grocery store or bringing up children.
The Reformers saw from the Bible that God calls us to our vocation. Some are called to be preachers and missionaries full time. Some are called to be doctors and lawyers and fishermen and pilots. Each of us should have a sense of our own calling and thank God for it. Then Christian discipleship means actively serving God in our calling in a way that honors and glorifies Him.
I think it was John Own who said something like, “There is a vast difference between preaching a sermon and changing a diaper. But in God’s eyes, both are holy work.”
Why should this matter? When we know that God is pleased with what He has given us to do, and He is pleased when we do it heartily unto Him, then it gives us much greater satisfaction in our work. Rather than thinking we are second-class citizens (spiritually speaking) because we are not “full time Christian workers,” we can laugh and realize that we are all engaged in full-time Christian work. What other kind is there?