And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men., knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. Colossians 3.17, 23-24
Today is important because it is the only day like this you will ever have. Today’s game, today’s meeting, today’s conversation. It is a unique creation, and a gift.
John Denver may not have had many things right in his life – I am not in a position to say – but he did get this one right.
“Today while the blossoms still cling to the vine, I’ll taste your strawberries, I’ll drink your sweet wine. A million tomorrows shall all pass away, ere I forget all the joy that is mine, today.”
Today. Yes, today.
This may be a somewhat bold statement, but I assert that the church in general. and each fellowship in particular, is handicapped to some degree. We see signs outside stores that say “Handicapped Parking”. Why? These spaces are reserved for individuals who in some way do not have “all their parts” working properly.
There is a verse in 1 Peter 2.9 that says, “you are a chosen generation. a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
That would be us. Chosen. Royal. A Race. Holy. Peculiar.
Peculiar here does not mean weird, although I will admit that some of us, and even I at times might have deserved that adjective. Rather, it means “to be one’s own.” We are God’s own. We belong to God. We are His possession.
Peculiar also means particular, meaning pertaining to a single person or thing – something private or special or unique to that person. An example would be my fingerprints, or handwriting style.
With this in mind, look at 1 Corinthians 12.27. “Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.”
Anyone born of God is individually and particularly a member of the Body of Christ. And, each of us is unique, so much so that no one else in the Body can do something exactly as we would, or say it exactly the way we would. Each of us has a calling uniquely our own.
Paul teaches here in 1 Corinthians that everyone has a place and a function. Just as the members and various muscles, joints, ligaments, organs and systems and cells of the human body has a specific and particular – peculiar function, so do we.
Not all are apostles. Not all are prophets. Not all are pastors. But notice, in verse 28 of 1 Corinthians, another “ministry.” Here listed among the more “dramatic” or noticeable ministries are HELPS and ADMINISTRATIONS.
Now, who is in the ministry of helps? How about anyone who helps? The babysitter in the nursery, the sound technician, the chair arranger, the bathroom cleaner, the doughnut “getter.” You may never have the windows of heaven open and hear a voice “thou art a sound technician!” But you may hear the words in your heart, GET INVOLVED!
You want to find your gifting? Well how about start that journey by pitching in. By assisting. By getting your hands dirty and working up a sweat. BE AN AARON OR HUR ASSISTING MOSES. They held his hands up in the air and as long as they did, Israel prevailed.
We need anointed building cleaners. Anointed greeters. I want someone anointed to care for my child. Every job in the Kingdom is important. IF YOU ARE IN THE BODY OF CHRIST YOU ARE SPECIAL, AND EVERY JOB IS SPECIAL. Whether you are called to preach or clean, lead or help, it is all important to God and we are called to DO IT AS UNTO HIM.
We are born with a pre-ordained gifting from Father to minister in the Body. The elders will only give account for their gifting, not anyone else’s. Someday I will give an account for what I did with my gifting(s).
Read Acts 20. 25-27. Paul says, “And now, behold, I know that you all, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will see my face no more. Therefore I testify to you this day, that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.”
NO REGRETS! Paul, before the Father, and before men, can say that he is confident that he had fulfilled his gifting. He did not give 95%.
Here are some results from a recent Gallup poll concerning the work ethic in America.
1 out of 4 job holders confessed to working at less than full potential
50% said that they don’t put any effort into their work that is above what is required
75% said that they know they could be more effective
60% said they don’t work as hard as they used to
We are handicapped. I am handicapped. And I am handicapping you because I am not completely fulfilling my part. Lord, forgive me!
This is the spirit of the world creeping into the church. Or maybe it crept out of the church into the world.
In Luke 13 we have the “parable of the barren fig tree.” Here, the vineyard owner (God) goes to the fig tree 3 years in a row and although the tree is alive, healthy and full of beautiful green leaves, it is barren. Alive, but no fruit. Born again! Sins forgiven! Fruitless!
Notice that the owner (God) regularly inspects His tree for fruit. 3 years in a row. Yet, after all this time, when He should expect some fruit, there is none. At last, He is upset, and rightfully so. Everything that should have been done for this tree had been done. The other trees around it are bearing fruit. All had been treated the same. He is ready to cut it down.
God is saying to me -PHIL WOODY, HOW LONG ARE YOU GOING TO DRAG YOUR FEET? HOW LONG ARE YOU GOING TO OCCUPY PRECIOUS SPACE? WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO USE THE GIFTS I GAVE YOU?
But thanks for the vineyard keeper (Jesus). He is the Keeper of the Body. He is Head of His Church. One day He will present the Father with the Bride, and she will be spotless.
Listen to His voice, “Leave it alone, Sir, for one more year. I will dig around it some more. I will fertilize it. One more year, Sir.”
We should all rejoice for mercy. Mercy. The longsuffering of God.
There are times when I know that I’m not working to my potential. Times when I’m doing the bare minimum. Too many minutes and hours of each day when I forget that in reality, I live in the presence of AN AUDIENCE OF ONE.
How easily God could “show up” for inspection and see little if any fruit in my life. And, considering the importance of the hour, plant another tree in my place.
But I hear Jesus say, “Father, give Me some time, give him another chance. Holy Spirit can make something out of this one.”
And it is time for me to rise up and say, NO MORE WOULDA, SHOULDA, COULDA. It is time for me to rise up embrace today. To embrace my place. To embrace who He made me to be. To embrace the gifts and talents He gave me. Not to wish I had something else. To be all God has chosen me to be.
There is a Jewish parable about Moshe, a humble shoemaker, who after dying, finds himself about to meet his maker. He is worried, and begins to utter laments and excuses for his failure to have made more of himself in life.
An angel appears to Moshe with this advice. “When you are in His presence He will not ask why you were not Moses or King David or Elijah; He will ask you why you were not Moshe the shoemaker.”
The point of life is not greatness. The point is to be all you can be, to be faithful to your God-given portion. Your own peculiarity. To be able to say, when it’s all been said and done, I have no regrets. To live – today – knowing that I gave my all to Him Who gave me all.
Well, enough said. For now.