February 2, 2009

He Who Forms All Things

Is the work of our hands bringing glory to the Maker of heaven and earth (and everything in between), or is it simply foolishness in the eyes of the great and powerful voice? Is The Lord forming all things in your life or are you working overtime to do the forming?

It's questions like these that might drastically change your course for the rest of your life. It has for mine. When I first began to feel God nudging my heart with these kind of questions I had no idea why it mattered or what direction they would lead me towards. I'm still very early on in this new "work", but the one thing I know in all confidence is that it's not my hands that are accomplishing any of it. That, unlike everything I've learned in music business, this new venture has nothing to do with my ability and everything to do with God's purpose. As much as I may still do everything I can "to the best of my ability" I know that without God's divine leading, I'm just building something that is void of life or breath. The warning in Jeremiah is one that each of us should prayerfully consider. It's a warning that was issued to Israel and it's just as relevant to us as it was to them. As you start your work week, ask the Lord of hosts if He is the one receiving glory from the works of your hand. Ask Him to place within you a passion to allow Him to do the work. To take the burden from your back and to allow Him to carry it. Don't be distracted by work that leads to a lack of knowledge, to shame, to falsehood, and in the end, to death.

The passage below talks about skilled workmen that spent all of their time essentially building and crafting wonderfully beautiful but utterly hopeless idols. Of course, I don't think any of us are in the "idol" business, or are we? If anything, the idols of our society and our generation don't resemble the idols of Jewish culture centuries ago. We still recognize those idols built of stone or wood but do we recognize idols built with plastic molds or held together by glue? Our definition of a modern day idol should be anything that we raise up higher than Christ himself. Anything that gets, holds, or attracts our attention more than Jesus does. So what might be an idol for one person isn't necessarily an idol for the next. But, in all of this, we either serve God or man. Let's press on together to serve God by inviting him to root out any possible idols in our lives. Anything that, even unknowingly to us, sits enthroned higher than our Lord and Savior.

It's God's heart that we would put our hands to the plow, to the fishing net, to the harvesting field; to use our time, energy, and resources for the furthering of God's Kingdom. Where our treasure is, there our heart will be also! What occupies your thoughts through-out the day? Is it Jesus and the work He is doing in your life or the lives of others? Is it a burden for those who don't know God? Is it a call to pray for those afflicted or suffering? Or is your time occupied by a next purchase, a new this or a new that? Evaluate your heart and ask God to show you anything that you might be placing too much time or emphasis on. Every material possession we have will end up rusted out, damaged and destroyed. Let's move towards those things (like the people around us) that we can invest in for all eternity!

So, God, please make Jesus our every treasure and remove any idol that is creeping up in our lives - aiming to dethrone the only reality that we need. Put us to work the way you put your apostles and disciples to work. Give us everything we need to please you wherever and however we spend our time working. Empower us with the Holy Spirit and Fire to preach the Gospel with Boldness and to preach it with hearts overflowing with genuine love for God and neighbor.

(Jeremiah 10: 11-16, ESV)

Thus shall you say to them: "The gods who did not make the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under the heavens."

It is he who made the earth by his power,
who established the world by his wisdom,
and by his understanding stretched out the heavens.
When he utters his voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens,
and he makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth.
He makes lightning for the rain,
and he brings forth the wind from his storehouses.
Every man is stupid and without knowledge;
every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols,
for his images are false,
and there is no breath in them.
They are worthless, a work of delusion;
at the time of their punishment they shall perish.
Not like these is he who is the portion of Jacob,
for he is the one who formed all things,
and Israel is the tribe of his inheritance;
the LORD of hosts is His name.

(Jeremiah 9: 23 & 24, NKJV)

Thus says the Lord: "Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might. Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; but let him glories glory in this, that he UNDERSTANDS and KNOWS Me, That I AM the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight," says the Lord.

* "Thirst" art piece by Karol Kolodzinski


nate said...

thanks for the questions. I will be taking some things to God and hoping I can step beyond the routine.

Chad Johnson said...

Thanks Nater. Praying that God gives you great clarity and understanding in where He is taking you, daily.


Joel Hosler said...

Ahhh... Man... Wow... Hmmm... ahhh... Yeah do I? I try i guess... Great thing to ask yourself everyday... Especially in our culture today in this country...