Friday, March 11, 2016

No Longer I? CHAPTER 19, Part Two of Four

This book, and Webber's first award-winning book, Meeting Jesus,  should be in the hands of every recruit, soldier, candidate, officer, and former officer - they and the Army will be strengthened as a result. Awarded 5 Stars

Making everything in our lives pleasing to God, God glorifying wherever we are, whatever we are doing, is what real worship is. If that is not what we are about during the week, then what we do in our Sunday ‘worship’ meetings is all empty noise and lacking integrity. Where is the consistency if what the Lord has seen all week isn’t in tune with what he observes on a Sunday? Surely, he will wonder about the love we claim we have for him? As he hears us singing songs about his Lordship, I wonder if our words grieve him? The fact is, that when Jesus is ever on our mind and we are continually seeking to please him in what we are doing, even the most menial, dirty, unpleasant, or boring task will be transformed. 

I read of a Christian who worked in a factory but was unfulfilled in what was a monotonous and unpleasant job. He was quite miserable. It was an effort for him to motivate himself to get out of bed in the morning and go to work, such was the effect it had on him. So he decided to leave and find another job. But, wanting to ensure that he find the right job, the job where God would have him be, he asked his minister and his church friends to pray that the right job would come along and he would recognise it. They were faithful in their prayers for him, but weeks turned to months with no sign of an answer to their petitions 

Finally, somewhat confused, bewildered and depressed, the man made an appointment to see the minister. The minister gave the man his full attention and, having listened to everything he had to say, made a suggestion, ‘Maybe God wants you in that factory and for you to continue doing what you are doing. Have you ever considered that?’

‘How can that be? I am so miserable there. God doesn’t want me to be unhappy does he? He wants me to feel fulfilled, surely?’ replied the man.

‘That is true, but maybe there is something else he wants. Maybe there is something other than the job that he wants changed,’ the minister suggested.

‘What do you mean?’

‘Well, first answer me a question. Are there many Christians in your workplace?’

‘No, I’m one of the only ones.’

‘Then God definitely needs that light that you possess to shine in the darkness you have told me exists there.’
‘To test out whether the Lord wants you there, I suggest that you make your sole reason for being there and your sole reason for doing what you are doing – Jesus! Work for him. Do whatever you do, not for your factory boss, not even for your own satisfaction, but for Jesus, as though he had requested it. Then come back to me in a couple of weeks time and let me know how you get on.’

Next time the man met the minister he was like a different man. Nothing had changed at the factory, the job was as monotonous and unpleasant as it ever had been, but the man’s focus had changed. It wasn’t about what he liked or how he felt any more, but whether his attitude, spirit, and quality of work was pleasing to Jesus. Those around him that were doing the same job and felt like he had done about it, saw the difference in him. 

Prior to his conversation with his minister, he had been a bit of a misery, a moaner at work. Now he radiated joy. The change in him caused those around him to ask questions and created opportunities for him to witness to his Saviour; something he hadn’t done before.

I was walking in the countryside with two friends on one occasion when I had to bend down to retie one of my shoelaces. Whilst down on one knee I caught a glimpse of a tiny, spectacularly beautiful fungus, almost hidden in the grass. It was shaped like a parasol. About two centimetres in diameter, it had a small, light brown circle at the centre from which pale grey, tightly packed deep ribs or pleats ran out to the edge. I know nothing of fungi, but my well-informed friend told me it was a Parasola Plicatilis fungus. I remained crouched there for some time in wonder at my discovery. One would need to bend low to have been so blessed with such a moment. It turns out that this little chap is one of many short-lived grassland fungi that appear overnight following rain. The fruit-bodies develop, expand, shed their spores and decay within twenty-four hours, and by next morning there is little or no evidence that they ever existed.

The thing that struck me, and remains with me regarding that experience, is that that fungus was not concerned about where it found itself, nor yet whether anyone would ever see it and appreciate its beauty. Its business was not to question why it was where it was, but to do that for which it was created whilst it could. For all I know, we may have been the only people who ever saw its splendour. Then it occurred to me that all creation was praising God, worshipping God by simply doing what it was created to do, obeying the laws of physics, biology, chemistry and the like, laws that God himself put in place. In other words, obeying his commands.

‘He sends his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly.
He spreads the snow like wool and scatters frost like ashes.
He hurls down hail like pebbles.
Who can withstand his icy blast?
He sends his word and melts them; 
he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow.’
 Psalm 147: 15-18

Being what God created them to be and doing what he ordained them to do is surely what the psalmist, in Psalm 148, meant when he exhorted everything in creation to praise the Lord?

No Longer I?

End Part Two of Four

No comments: