A Season of Thankfulness: Day 5 – Nothing is Wasted

Ecclesiastes 1:8-10

8 All this monotony is tiresome; no one can bear to describe it: The eye is never satisfied with seeing, nor is the ear ever content with hearing. 9 What exists now is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing truly new on earth. 10 Is there anything about which someone can say, “Look at this! It is new!”? It was already done long ago, before our time.

If this world is all we have to live for, perhaps Solomon’s insight would ring true, but not so for the believer.

To a parent changing diapers and attending to screaming kids with snotty noses, seemingly mundane chores become a holy work, changing our character and molding us into His image.  Selfishness is washed away as we are absorbed in the well being of others.

To a farmer striving to yield a bountiful harvest yet confronted with the brutal realities of drought or a flood, reliance on self dissipates and a dependence on the God over all becomes paramount.

To the family head, struggling to make ends meet, waiting for the next paycheck or provision to come and overcome by bill collectors, faith begins to blossom in the midst of hardship.  Insight is formed, revealing that provision was not to be chased after in the first place.  God is our Provider.

To church leaders dealing with complaining sheep, their work becomes a holy endeavor as God changes their heart and perspective toward the people God calls them to minister to.  They discover that this calling is for God’s glory and not their own, not about them at all.  Offenses are dismissed and concern is raised for the offended one, instead.

To the sick who wonder if God cares at all, He shows the need for spiritual healing and uses the affliction to draw us nearer. He becomes our comfort in the midst of pain and humbles us to depend on Him.

To the wounded, broken heart, shattered by another’s sin – God sees you.  Even this is not wasted in His hands.  Instead of death, if we hope and wait on Him, He will turn our greatest sorrow into a thing of beauty.  Suddenly our eyes are opened to realize that a human being was never supposed to be our joy or our life.  Hoping in fallible humans is idolatry and temporary, but hoping in our living, loving God is eternal.

Everything is vanity apart from God, but everything done in Him has a purpose.  All of the wearisome repetitiveness and burdens of this life are working something great for those who will see more deeply. Thank God that we serve a God where nothing is meaningless and nothing is wasted.  He uses it all.

Solomon was the wisest man and yet he chose women who ultimately turned his heart from God and cursed the next generation.  Big consequences for someone who had allowed his blessings to become his snare.  Boredom replaced gratitude and awe over all that God had provided.

Mundanity has its purpose, after all.  Satisfaction was never meant to be fulfilled completely apart from Christ.  In the endless pursuit of meaning and happiness in a world that could never deliver that quest, we finally end up at His feet, where we were always meant to be.

Lord, all of the tasks, burdens, joys and sorrows are ultimately serving Your purpose in our lives and in this world.  Give us Your eyes and understanding and the wisdom to walk and chase after You, not the things of this world that always disappoint us.  Thank You for being our sovereign God who wastes nothing.

Mundane Monday: Our Witness in Every Day Life

Exodus 18:9, 11

“Jethro rejoiced because of all the good that the LORD had done for Israel, whom he had delivered from the hand of Egypt.  11 Now I know that the LORD is greater than all the gods, for in the thing in which they dealt proudly against them he has destroyed them.”

1 Peter 2:12

“And maintain good conduct among the non-Christians, so that though they now malign you as wrongdoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God when he appears.”

Ephesians 5:15-16

“Therefore be very careful how you live–not as unwise but as wise, 16 taking advantage of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”

1 Timothy 4:16

“Be conscientious about how you live and what you teach. Persevere in this, because by doing so you will save both yourself and those who listen to you.”

To hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” is what we long to hear at the conclusion of our lives, but carrying out a consistent walk with God is our utmost challenge on this earth.

There are moments in which we see God use us and we are consumed with pleasing Him.  We wish that those mountaintop experiences would live on forever, but real character is formed in the chasm of everyday monotony.  Will we be faithful to rise and seek Him?  To focus our lives for His glory, willing and ready to share His Word in every situation?

Movies are popular entertainment today in part because for those moments we imagine ourselves to be like the character – the hero in some devastating circumstance.  But once the story is over, we must live our stories and they often pale in comparison to the excitement that was exhibited on the big screen.  The character traits exhibited by actors are often supernatural – somehow their physical strength or their insight is more than those around them.  They never seem to have to contend with the reality of life’s less thrilling moments.

The Bible is filled with the most amazing stories on earth, but unlike many movies today, the stories in the Bible are relatable.  Characters exemplify lives full of excitement and tortuous routine.  Even Moses, who after being used for a miraculous deed by God to save all of God’s people, found himself at an all day desk job – an occupation of discerning people’s affairs.  But his father-in-law surrendered his own soul to Heaven when he saw Moses’ faithfulness and God’s activity in his life in the large and small details of His life.

The godly cloud of witnesses who have gone before us did not have posh, comfortable positions.  They dealt with often cruel, arduous conditions that appeared meaningless until generations that followed had their example to look up to.

Our flesh is impatient and being consistent, careful and conscientious as the Scriptures above urge us to be, are not desirable at first glance.  We want things to come easily and tasks to be completed, but the daunting “to do” list is never fully quelled.  The frustration from a sense of always being behind the eight ball is part of the longing in our souls for Heaven.

When we feel powerless, tossed to and fro by the circumstances of life washing over us like a huge wave, it is in those moments that we can catch a glimpse of His glory and witness to those around us.  Remembering what Christ endured and the fruit of His suffering helps us to put our own situation in perspective.

Finding meaning and purpose in the highs and the lows appears futile until we begin to see the fruit over time.  Looking to our future reward can spur us on to continue on the path of righteousness in all aspects of our lives.  Surprisingly, the small details in life are often the ones that leave the biggest impact on those who come behind us.  The “boring” aspects of life have meaning, too, if we recognize that all we do on this earth is for His glory.

Lord, nothing is meaningless in You.  Help us to have a heart for those around us rather than focusing on our own needs when life appears dull or stressful.  May we bear witness of Your faithfulness to meet our every need, large or small, and may many come to know You.