Job 1:21 – “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” (NIV 1984)
My Musing – In reality, you can take it with you. Not the possessions you might accumulate in this life of course. You might actually die with these things possessing you instead of you possessing them. Whichever is the case, you must relinquish them as you pass into eternity – whatever your final destination. But there are some things that you can take with you.
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. (2 Peter 1:3-7)
What He has given us is not measured by the abundance of our possession or the wealth that we may happen to accumulate over a lifetime. These may not even last our lifetime, and we certainly cannot take them with us. But the above qualities can be ours, and we will take them with us into eternity. How much the measure increases (1 Peter 3:8) in this lifetime, and how much we carry into the next life, is entirely up to us. You see, “it’s not how much you [possess] but what you do with what you have [been given].” So how full have you packed your suitcase?
Job 14:1 – “Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble. He springs up like a flower and withers away; like a fleeting shadow, he does not endure.” (NIV 1978)
My Musings – We feel so self-important at times, but there have been many people throughout history of greater worth. Yet their time is gone. Like us they spring up and wither away. The difference is in the impact they made while they were here. We will not endure, but we should try to live a life that leaves an impact and that endures long after we are gone.
My Advice – Make the most of the time that you have. When you are young, with your whole life ahead of you, it may seem like you have all the time in the world. When you are older, looking back, you wonder where the years went. Be able to look back with few regrets of moments that were lost or wasted.
1 Corinthians 1:26-31 – Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” (NIV 1984)
My Musings – Not feeling too wise? Not very influential? Not of noble birth? Weak and lowly? Then perhaps God can use you. That’s not to say God cannot use those who are. But sometimes our wisdom, influence, stature and strength can get in the way of being used by God. Perhaps maybe because we do not think we need Him and can manage just fine with what we have.
But life in Christ is full of oxymorons. The poor are rich and the rich are destitute. Gaining the whole world can cost you your soul. Those who give out of their want give more than those who give out of their wealth. The foolish shame the wise. The older (Esau) serves the younger (Jacob). The least of the lowliest clan (Gideon) becomes the judge that delivers all Israel. Ordinary fishermen (Peter, John and James) and a hated tax collector (Matthew) become disciples of the Messiah. The King of kings is born in a stable and raised in backwater Nazareth (can anything good come from there?). The Apostle Paul is given weakness so he can be strong. The persecutor of early Christians (Saul) became the Apostle of grace (Paul). The Savior had to die on a cross (cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree) in order to offer the blessing of eternal life to all mankind.
So, maybe we should not feel so inadequate after all. Maybe we don’t need to be up on the couch where it is nice and comfortable. We’re needed more down in the trenches.
My Advice – Go in God’s strength. His grace is always sufficient.
Job 1:8 – “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him.” (NIV 1978)
My Musing – We should consider what kind of person it might take for the Lord to brag about. Then we should strive for that life.
My Advice – Aspire to live a life that would make the Lord want to brag on you. There is no better praise you could ever receive.
Esther 4:16 – “When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” (NIV 1978)
My Musing – As harsh as it may sound, this should be our attitude when responding to God’s call. If it costs us everything we must still be willing to answer the call. This is not being fatalistic. It is being faithful to the One who sent His Son to die for our sins. We can never pay back that debt, but we can make down payments.
My Advice – Be devoted to God and obedient to His call. The cost will usually not be this high. He is more interested in the willingness than He is in the execution.
2 Chronicles 15:15 – They sought God eagerly, and He was found by them. So the Lord gave them rest on every side. (NIV 1978)
My Musing – We must be eager to seek, serve and follow the Lord. We need to cultivate the enthusiasm we had as new Christians. It need not die out. It usually doesn’t over night. We need to be alert for signs of erosion and act early.
My Advice – When you find that your eagerness to seek God is waning, it is pretty good indication that you are drifting away from Him. Take this to heart and ask Him to restore the eagerness and remove the hindrances (and you must be willing to let go of them). If you do this, He will answer you.
Seeing Great In Small
2 King 5:13 – “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it?” (NIV 1978)
My Musing – We cannot all be destined to do great things for God. But it is a great thing to be called to do anything, by God. God does not look at the magnitude of the task, He looks at our faithfulness in carrying it out.
My Advice – Whatever God calls you to in life, do it faithfully. Do not think that just because the task is small that God thinks less of it than the large tasks others are called to do. By the same token, do not look down on others whose tasks for God seem less than your own.