God in Us
Some of us may think that we could get further ahead in serving God if we could change something about ourselves; perhaps our personalities, our intelligence, our line of work, ingenuity, talents, or even our appearances. If we could only display something that would impress and attract others to Christ! But as it is, we feel tremendously lacking in areas that would be effective and fruitful.
When choosing the second king of Israel to replace Saul, God sent His prophet Samuel to Jesse’s home in Bethlehem. Jesse had eight sons, and when Samuel saw the first son, Eliab, he thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands before the Lord.” (1 Samuel 16:6) Eliab was tall, strong, and handsome, but God rejected him. Jesse’s next six sons passed before Samuel, all of them seemingly worthy of the calling, but God rejected them as well. Samuel said to Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered, “but he is tending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Send for him, for we will not sit down until he arrives.” (1 Samuel 16:11)
The last of Jesse’s sons was David, a simple shepherd boy who loved poetry, wrote songs, and played the harp. He certainly seemed the least likely to occupy the throne of Israel, but God said to Samuel, “Rise, and anoint him; he is the one.” (1 Samuel 16:12) David turned out to be a man after God’s own heart and became the plumb line for all the kings of Israel. He reigned on the throne for 40 years.
God not only created each of us personally and individually, but He has a plan for our lives. Though we wish we could be more confident, more skillful, knowledgeable, or outgoing, we need to accept who we are, for we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14) Whatever our shortcomings, failures, and weaknesses, they are of no consequence to God. We are not the ones who will accomplish His agenda for us. We are merely the instruments through which He will work, and where we are weak, God is strong. We need only be concerned with a willing heart that trusts, obeys, and says to God, “I am available.”
God in the commonplace
“Whatever you do, work at it wholeheartedly as though you were doing it for the Lord and not merely for people.”
—Colossians 3:23 ISV
God made the commonplace. I don’t know why it is that it seems like the very grind of it gets into people’s souls, and they begin to feel like they’re nobodies and that they don’t amount to anything in man’s or in God’s sight. Dorcas was of more value than Bernice, the society daughter of Herod, and you’ll find many characters in God’s Word who lived amongst the commonplace.
God’s Word says, “Having food and raiment, let us therewith be content. We brought nothing into this world, and certainly we can carry nothing out of it.” (1 Timothy 6:8) Now that’s kind of a hard dose to swallow for anyone that’s craving the high place in life and just likes to hit the high places and wants notoriety and fame, and they detest the common round of things every day. But God’s Word is true, and God’s Word is full of the commonplace and about the commonplace.
For most of us, there is a trivial round every day. The morning bell calls us to do the same routine of the commonplace, and there seems no chance for doing anything really heroic or worth having lived for.
I wonder when we’ll ever learn to appreciate doing some little duties of life faithfully, punctually, thoroughly, reverently, not for the praise of men, but for the “well done” of Jesus Christ, not for the payment to be received, but because God has given us a little place of work to do in His great world. Not because we must, but because we choose, not as slaves of circumstances, but doing it with the Lord in mind, doing it “as unto the Lord and not unto men,” doing it as Christ’s freed ones. (Colossians 3:23)
Then far down beneath the surge of common life, the foundations of a character are laid, more beautiful and enduring than coral, which shall presently rear itself before the eyes of man and angels, and will become an emerald island, green with perennial beauty and vocal with the songs of paradise. We ought therefore to be very careful how we complain about the common tasks of daily life. We’re making the character in which we have to spend eternity.
Let it be granted that you’re a person of ordinary ability; there’s only one chance in a thousand that you may be placed in some great sphere. Isn’t it a pity then to spend your life in useless regret and complaining and not being willing to do the humble task as unto the Lord, and do it with a sweet and cheerful spirit?
It’s a greater thing to do an unimportant thing with a great motive for God and for truth and for others, than to do a great, important thing without God’s Spirit. It’s greater to suffer patiently each day a thousand stings than to die once as a martyr at the stake. An obscure life really offers more opportunities for the nurture of a loftier type of character, the growth of Christian graces, more opportunities than any greatness, such as the world calls greatness.
—Virginia Brandt Berg
Keeping in step with the Spirit
“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”
—Galatians 5:25 NIV
I have a little maxim that I repeat to anyone who seems anxious about missing the will of God: God wants you to get where God wants you to go more than you want to get where God wants you to go. And God is awfully good at getting us there! So take a deep breath and relax. He is ordering your footsteps, every single one of them. Your job is simply this: “Keep in step with the Spirit.” All you have to do is let the Spirit lead and obey His promptings. Sometimes that means speaking a word of encouragement. Sometimes it means keeping your mouth shut…
God is in the business of strategically positioning us in the right place at the right time. I call them supernatural synchronicities. And they’re more than mere coincidences—they’re providence! If I believe anything, I believe that God orders our footsteps. And it’s not just when we walk the line on our graduation day or walk the aisle on our wedding day. Can we misstep? Of course! But the longer I live, the more I marvel at God’s ability to choreograph divine appointments…
He cares about every single step. God is setting up divine appointments. All we need to do is follow His lead, exercise a little patience, and take it one step at a time.
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