John 18:11 Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”
John doesn’t record Jesus’ agonized prayer about this “cup,” but at the time he wrote that was already circulating through all three of the other Gospels. John wanted to make very clear that Jesus consciously accepted His assignment, even knowing the agony it involved. We all receive various assignments in life, some of which might delight us and some much less so. Sometimes we receive assignments for which we are woefully inadequate, but if we will depend on God, He will accomplish them through us. The thing is, we aren’t put on the earth just to exist. As Paul put it, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10) Some people are very aware of their calling, feeling driven to fulfill it, but the majority of people are much less so. Sometimes that calling, those good works, seem big and important, and sometimes they might seem inconsequential to us or to others. However, our perspective is extremely limited. I’ve always liked the illustration of someone making a hand-knotted tapestry. From the perspective of the one tying the knots, it’s a tangled mess, hard to recognize as a distinct image of anything. However, from the other side it’s a beautiful picture of a scene or a person or something else. When we’re busy “tying the knots,” it can be very hard to imagine the beauty that God sees. Jesus’ flogging and crucifixion were the ugliest of ugly, but from the other side, they were the absolutely glorious victory over the devil and the redemption of all who would believe. Jesus had the advantage of knowing the purpose of His assignment, and we don’t necessarily have that. However, if we will be faithful to “tie the knots,” the resulting “tapestry” will have a beauty beyond our current imagination.
I’ve experienced this and I’ve seen it in others. I’ve been eager to accept some assignments, only to discover how difficult they were. I’ve been reluctant to accept other assignments, only to discover how rewarding they were. And some things I haven’t even recognized as having been assignments until after they were done! The point is to remain open and obedient, whatever the Lord has for me to do. This morning, His assignment was to sleep an hour later than I usually do! That’s not exactly a hard assignment, but I’m convinced it was part of His plan for me. With a birthday coming up tomorrow, it’s a time of reflection over what assignments I have completed, and which are still in progress. I know that my ultimate assignment is to grow to be like my Lord, and that will only be completed when I am before His throne. In the mean time, I am to keep speaking the truth in love, (Ephesians 4:15) comforting others with the comfort I have received, (2 Corinthians 1:4) and allowing God’s Spirit to flow through me (John 7:38) for the blessing of many and for His glory.
Father, thank You for Your various assignments. I’ve certainly done better with some than with others! Help me not be anxious but simply faithful, applying all that You supply to the task at hand, so that Your plans may be fulfilled on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You, Praise God!