October 25, 2016

John 17:4 “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.”

It is the prayer of every servant of God that they be able to make this statement before they leave this earth. The thing is, most of us have only a very limited grasp of what God has planned for us to do. Paul pointed out that God has prepared a “to-do list” for each of us, (Ephesians 2:10) but we often don’t read it very well. We tend to add things He hasn’t intended and overlook what He really wants of us. In the process we add a lot of stress to our lives and miss out on a lot of satisfaction. Often we get anxious about how long we have on this earth, but compared to eternity, even a hundred years is just a blink. Rather, we need to be focused on how we are using however much time we have. My father died at 64, but my brother-in-law commented just recently that my father had accomplished as much as most people would in three lifetimes. Regardless of any accuracy in that statement, what puts it all into perspective is realizing that Jesus left this earth before He turned 34, and His public ministry was just three and a half years long. From my current perspective, three and a half years ago seems like just yesterday! We need to seek the Lord for His plans for each day and commit ourselves fully to fulfilling them, rather than seeking our own agenda.

It has been many years since I first focused on two Scriptures to apply them to myself. In Luke 17:10 Jesus said, “So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’” I feel I am far from having fully done my duty! The second is the commendation given in the famous parable of the talents: “’Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:21) I have a deep hunger to hear that someday! I have currently exceeded my father’s lifespan by four years, but the jury is still out as to how well I have followed God’s to-do list for me. I well remember the statement of a missionary who visited my father in the hospital shortly before the heart surgery from which he didn’t wake up. The missionary said, “I never saw a man with more reason to live, or more ready to die.” I want to live like that!

Father, thank You for Your faithfulness that is infinitely better than my own. Help me not be anxious about any of this, but rather rest, relax, and rejoice, just as You have told me to do. Help me read Your to-do list for me more accurately, not stressing out over things You never put on there and not overlooking anything You do want me to do. Help me not fear the assessment of people, but rather work for Your approval alone. I know I cannot earn Your commendation in my own wisdom and strength, but I also know that You never ask anything of me that You do not provide whatever is necessary for me to complete it. May I live in that knowledge consistently, doing Your will on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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