“Aye, there’s the rub”

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Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Maybe you thought about the examples of Popeye people that Bill Hybels uses in chapter two of his book Holy Discontent.  Mother Teresa, an example of extreme charity, caring for the less fortunate and doing it in a humble way.  Martin Luther King Jr., inspiring a country to look inward, exposing in an honest way the racial divide that has defined America and helping to force politicians to pass laws to address inequality.  Dr. Bob Pierce and his founding of World Vision to help with starving children around the world…

Your response may be “Wow, I can’t do big stuff like that!” or “That is not me!” or “I am not built like that!”

Those responses are all valid.

But…

What are you built to do?

To quote Shakespeare’s’ Hamlet “There’s the rub!”

You were built to do certain things.

Hybels states “We are all created to do good works.  I was created to do good works.  Just as confidently, I am here to tell you that you were created to do good works, which explains how I know you have a holy discontent banging around in your brain somewhere—if you are alive and kicking today, then there is a specific work that you are expected to do.”

I believe that.

We don’t have to compare ourselves to Mother Teresa or Martin Luther King Jr.  They had a God-given skill set to enable them to do what they did.

Your skill set is unique to you.

Hybels talks about giving your life to Jesus.   That happens to Christians.  There comes a time in life when we know that we love Jesus and know we need to believe.  For many Christians it seems to stop right there.  You are justified, made right with God and that is enough.

No so.

That is only the beginning.  When we are justified, God has forgiven us of our sins and we know it.  We feel His love and we know we are acceptable, no matter what “the world” says.

But that is not enough.

God wants us to continue to grow.  We should strive to be sanctified, which means we embark on the road to greater knowledge of God and greater service to God…all the days of our life.

What Hybels is really talking about is the Christian who stops growing.  I joke about this from time to time, calling it the Christian example of “arrested development”.   A Christian is born again and that is where it stops.  Hybels says “have you ever wondered why, when you turn your life to God, you don’t just get express-freighted right to heaven?”

I think I know.

God wants you to be His hands and feet here on this earth for a while.

Too many of us “opt out”.   We develop a “poor little me” attitude.  God is not interested in what I have to offer.  Maybe the reason for opting out is that we lack confidence in our abilities.  I know I have the talent but my talent is not great.   Some folks may be very happy to sit on the sidelines and let others do the work.  Maybe that is lack of confidence or maybe it is something worse…sheer laziness.

It takes a while but a life in Christ is a life where I learn to live for someone other than me.

The lesson takes some time but if I dedicate my life to Him, He will show me what to do.

There is work to do all around us, and some of that work is perfect for me to do.   I have the “skill set” to do it.

“There is a set of tasks with your name on it that God has given you to accomplish, and long before you arrived on the scene, God planted certain seeds in our soul that He remains whole-heartedly committed to watering, growing, and making into something meaningful, if you let Him” [Hybels, 51].

Let me close with this simple admonition.

This is a dangerous prayer to pray for the Christian who does not want to grow, the Christian who wants others to do the work, the Christian who is convinced that they lack what is needed to do the task at hand.

It is simple but it enables you to be the branch that yields as much fruit as you can:  “God, use me.”

Get ready; He will…

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