I am trying hard to write and preach about Christmas but I can't. It is a great celebration, an event we must recognize and teach to others. It is the moment that the Creator became part of his creation. There are so many parts of the story that tell us a great deal about God and I enjoy examining them each year. Yet, there is an urgency pressing upon me; there is so much more that is important right now. There is so much that people do not understand and time is running out.
Time is short and the world is getting darker. The enemy is doing his best to destroy as much as he can, to inflict as much hurt on God and to shroud the whole earth in darkness before his time is up. Those who carry the light of Jesus have to shine brighter than ever before. We have to laugh more, sing louder, worker better, play harder, share more. We have to be more of Jesus in a world that needs to see Jesus.
That sounds like we can save the world by our works and that is not what I am saying. Jesus has given us life and he has given it to us in abundance. He has done this so we can live for his glory. He wants us to live large for his glory. He wants us to succeed for his glory. He wants us filled with joy for his glory. He wants us to flow with life for his glory. He wants the world to take note of us. He wants us to walk in this world as giants, overflowing with grace, mercy, love, forgiveness, joy. It flows from us like a river.
Our circumstances do not matter. We could be in desert places or green pastures. We could be the poorest of the poor or the richest of the rich. We could live in a shanty town or in a 10 million dollar mansion. We could be part of a broken family or a member of the Brady Bunch. It doesn't matter where we are, we are to shine wherever we have been planted.
Too many of us work hard for all the wrong reasons. We work hard to save for our retirement. Maybe it is for the future education of our children. For others the hard work is for a house and car. These are all good reasons to work hard but it cannot be the motivation of those possessed by Jesus Christ. Our motivation is to glorify Jesus. We want to shine so others will take note, so we will stand like a giant, that success will cause heads to turn and questions to be asked. And we do not succeed by our skill but by the will of God.
God told us he will bless the work of our hands because we are his children:
The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. (Deut 28:12)
But we have the attitude that we can just sit back and it will come to us. Perhaps that would be true if God only intended to bless us for us but he hasn't. Israel made the mistake of thinking that it was all about them but it is not about us. God wants to bless the work of our hands so that Jesus will be glorified, that the Church would be blessed and that Jesus would be lifted up, so the world would see and know him.
God desires to bless the work of our hands but it means we have to work. We have to honour our teachers with obedience, or bosses with our best effort. We have to give 100% so no glory is robbed from Jesus:
Whatever you do, work at it will all your heart, as working for The Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from The Lord as a reward. It is The Lord Christ you are serving. (Colossians 3:23-24)
If you clean toilets for a living, be the very best toilet cleaner. Clean better and more than anyone else. Stand out for Jesus. Students, don't take short cuts. You are robbing Jesus of his glory. Study hard. Be determined to be top of your class. What you lack God will make up for. He will bless the work of your hands. Stop doing it for your own gain. Change your attitude and do it so Jesus receives the glory.
We have to lose the loser attitude. It's not about our skill or what we need to gain. It is all about God wanting us to be stand outs. We are the nation he has set aside for his purpose, a people set apart to reveal Jesus Christ to the nations, who God has placed on a hill to shine for the world to see. We need to live in the character of Jesus, working hard at what we do, being organized, expecting Jesus to bless the work of our hands so he will be lifted up and glorified in our living. Time is running out. The world needs the Church to shine and you are the Church, so shine.