Last week I shared my thoughts about the nature of the parables. My thoughts are summed-up in three ways. First, the parables talk of God's kingdom as a gift, "on earth as it is in heaven." One of God's loving gifts to us is that God wants to bring His kingdom to us today ... now. Second, we place ourselves as the main characters in the parables, but God is really the lead actor/player. Third, the parables are stories about us being alert to the things God is doing in the world. I want to dwell on this last one for this week.
Most of us view our jobs as struggle. That is why we call it our 'work.' In Ecclesiastes 3 God sees this 'work' from a positive viewpoint saying ... " that each of them (us) may eat and drink and find satisfaction in all their toil ... this is the gift of God." I love that! God gives us work so that we may find fulfillment and satisfaction in that work. And God views all of it as a gift to us. So I want to speculate with a few 'what ifs."
What if the struggle we call work is actually something that is good for us? A friend recently got a new job. In deciding on that job my friend posed that this was a opportunity to provide for his family both long and short term. He seemed that even before accepting the job he was feeling a bit of satisfaction and blessing from the very thought of 'bringing home the bacon." Deep inside this 'what if?', what if this sense of accomplishment in doing our jobs well is something God is doing in the world? It would explain Paul's words in Colossians 3:23, "work willingly at whatever you do as though you were working for the Lord rather than man." This passage would be even more amplified if we viewed work as something God is doing in the world!
Another 'what if?' What if God is struggling with the effort of leading, teaching and growing us? In the parables the main character is doing something akin to work. The sower is sowing seed. I remember that task growing up in North Carolina as work. The mustard seed is also planted. A woman is kneading and baking bread. Merchants buy and sell stuff to acquire a treasure and a pearl. fishermen pull in a net. Maybe these are images of God struggling with the task of getting stubborn, stiff-necked people to His place. And after watching about 10-minutes of the Grammy awards last night, God's work is a massive undertaking!
A third 'what if?' What if God thinks we are worth the effort? All of us have our perspective on the wrongs and problems of this world. They are too many to name here, but it is obvious to me that we have lost our direction in many ways. We are arrogant. We devalue life itself. We hang on to prejudice as if it were a virtue. We love our pet projects but are not able to see and love those of others. We ignore the needy. We fail to see the good in our neighbors, yet we lift people we have never met onto pedestals. Yet ... God plants, kneads the dough, fishes for people, and sells His very best, His only Son, to purchase our redemption. Maybe God sees past all of our mistakes and keeps working because we are worth saving ... worth the work. Now that's something worth living for! Randy