Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Is This True of Me?

Though I am retired from paid work, there is a persistent (perhaps innate) sense that I have not, and will never be, retired from fulfilling my calling. This is different from being productive. Productivity is measurable, task based, checklist of duties and accomplishments. While productivity is good and necessary, being faithful to a calling does not necessarily see measurable results.

Being faithful to my calling does not mean
I will see measurable results. I must still be faithful.

In this seemingly interminable interim of isolation, quarantine, physical distancing, my time is occupied with basic tasks and simple diversions. The removal of normal social and recreational engagements has given opportunity for more contemplative time, reading and reflection. This is an in-between space, between What Was and What Will Be. A "normal" routine, if it ever returns, is likely to look different than before.

How should I then live?

This reflection from Oswald Chambers speaks into that question. I hope you find it helpful. It is from the YouVersion Bible App reading plan, "My Utmost for His Highest: 30 Day Edition" available here.

Is This True Of Me?

It is easier to serve or work for God without a vision and without a call, because then you are not bothered by what He requires. Common sense, covered with a layer of Christian emotion, becomes your guide. You may be more prosperous and successful from the world’s perspective, and will have more leisure time, if you never acknowledge the call of God. But once you receive a commission from Jesus Christ, the memory of what God asks of you will always be there to prod you on to do His will. You will no longer be able to work for Him on the basis of common sense.

What do I count in my life as “dear to myself”? If I have not been seized by Jesus Christ and have not surrendered myself to Him, I will consider the time I decide to give God and my own ideas of service as dear. I will also consider my own life as “dear to myself.” But Paul said he considered his life dear so that he might fulfill the ministry he had received, and he refused to use his energy on anything else. This verse shows an almost noble annoyance by Paul at being asked to consider himself. He was absolutely indifferent to any consideration other than that of fulfilling the ministry he had received. Our ordinary and reasonable service to God may actually compete against our total surrender to Him. Our reasonable work is based on the following argument which we say to ourselves, “Remember how useful you are here, and think how much value you would be in that particular type of work.” That attitude chooses our own judgment, instead of Jesus Christ, to be our guide as to where we should go and where we could be used the most. Never consider whether or not you are of use—but always consider that “you are not your own” (1 Corinthians 6:19). You are His.

O Lord, by Your grace open my vision to You and Your infinite horizons, and take me into Your counsels regarding Your work in this place.

God is not limited by time or distance. Grace opens my heart to respond to the Spirit's prompting large and small to do now, the next thing, right in front of me, and leave the results to God.

Photo: Christmas Cactus Bloom at Easter
Credit: Personal collection
Text Design via WordSwag app

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