What will you be working on today?
Wednesdays are usually “sermon-writing” days for me. And so, on a “good” Wednesday I’ll make significant progress in getting Sunday’s message out of my head and onto paper. On a “really good” Wednesday, I’ll even allow myself to feel like I’m contributing in some meaningful way to the accomplishment of God’s purposes because I’ve managed to develop a plan for conveying Truth in a way that I think will be informative, engaging and/or convicting.
But I wonder if I’ve got it all wrong.
Don’t misunderstand; I think there’s value in what I do…just like I think there’s value in all the work we do (teaching kids, tending patients, writing contracts, closing loans, cleaning the house – you get the picture) when we “work at it with all our heart, as working for the Lord and not for human masters,” (Colossians 3:23) But while there is value – and even holiness – to be found in “partnering with God” through our work to make the world reflect a bit more of His goodness and faithfulness, our focus on these tasks can blind us to something even more important.
In the gospel reading from today’s Daily Office, the crowds ask Jesus, “What must we do to do the works that God requires?” And Jesus responds:
“The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent.” (John 6:29)
Perhaps our most important and most enduring work has less to do with what we do – and more to do with believing and trusting in what God does. And what God does, of course, is to send Jesus to be the One who demonstrates God’s love by forgiving our sin and sending His Spirit to remake us in His image.
Now if we’re honest, believing in this One (and not just “believing about” Him – but “trusting in” Him) can be a lot harder than it looks. After all, we’ve got so many voices telling us that what makes our work (and us) valuable is how much we produce or how much we earn. But from the pages of God’s Word comes the promise that we are valued and loved – not because of what we do or accomplish – but solely on the basis of God’s purpose and grace.
In the movie version of The Shack (in theaters now), God speaks to the protagonist and says: “You may not know this, but I am especially fond of you.” How might it change our day if the most important and most enduring work that we could do today would be to trust that this is true?