Last night at my Bible study, we did iron work. Real, heat-it-up-till-its-cherry-red-and-beat-on-it iron work. We each got a long, straight stick of iron and we made these hooks. They’re designed to hammer into a wall so you can hang things on them.
Why did we do this? Well, it was an illustration about how God works in our lives. He uses the heat, and the pressure, and the beatings that life deals out to take us from our useless state and make us into something he can work with. Not always what we want to be, but what He needs. We can’t all be the fancy iron gates that open up to heaven, sometimes he just needs a hook. Something helpful, that doesn’t draw attention to itself, but draws attention to it’s maker instead. Something that serves him without making a fuss of itself.
This didn’t really impact me as much last night as it did this morning. God has been really trying to draw my attention to how selfish I am. How unwilling to serve I am. Not unwilling to serve Him, but blind to the fact that serving my family and friends is what it means to serve Him. My attitude is all wrong. When I hear my mom say “Honey, could you wash these dishes for me?” I’m hearing “Come waste ten minutes of your day when you could be doing something fun.” rather than “Hey, here’s an opportunity to to serve God.” And that is wrong. It’s sinful. It’s selfish. And now that I’m seeing this, I’m determined to change it. I started today by sneaking into the kitchen after breakfast and washing dishes without being asked. No one actually noticed, but being praised for being helpful isn’t the point. Our reward is in Heaven, and it’s far better than a pat on the back here on earth. I need to stop looking for ways to get praise for myself, and start looking for ways to praise God by serving Him.
Because, to be honest, I have a lot of free time. My job isn’t really giving me enough hours, and I have more days off than working days. I have a few things I do that I actually need to do, such as my Bible reading, and going to the gym. And a few things I make time for, like hanging out with friends or going to Bible study. But that leaves hours of uninterrupted time with which I do nothing of importance. I could vacuum the whole house, do laundry for the whole family, and keep dishes under control all day, and it would only take maybe an hour or two of my day, total. What have I been waiting for all this time?
That being said, I’m not writing this blog to pat my own back, “Oh look at what a good little Christian I’m becoming, bow down and praise me!” I’m writing it as a challenge. Examine your daily thoughts. How often do you consider your parents, your coworkers, your neighbors, that elderly lady trying to reach the bag of flour on the top shelf at the grocery store? How often do you wander through life, completely involved in your mind with what you want and what you need and how you feel? Now, your dreams, desires and feelings are all important. But they should not be your main focus. God should be. And after God, those He’s put around you for you to serve. God will take care of you, He won’t work you to the death of your dreams. But, He may delay your dreams until He gets you to wake up to His plan. Because if He gives you what you want before you’ve become mature enough in Him to handle it correctly, it will destroy you.
Just look at all the talented people in Hollywood. They have amazing skill, they have the ability to use it for good to impact the entire world. But so many of them are spiraling down in a vicious cycle of self destruction. They weren’t equipped to handle it. They didn’t have the foundation to keep them upright, they didn’t have what it took to lean on God and let Him carry them through. They thought they could figure it out on their own, but they slipped off the edge, and because they didn’t know Him, they didn’t call His name. He wants to reach out His hand and put them back onto their feet, but they refuse to humble themselves and ask.
Maybe, if they had trusted God, and let Him used their trails to mold them, they would be able to hook on to that edge and hang on, ride out the storm, and come out of it much stronger and more confident than before. But that’s just my two cents.