What a day to be alive. What a time to live my life. To have a destiny and call, and see it day by day unfold… And we sense the wonder of it all. We feel the urgency. There’s not a day to be wasted.
Those words, from Lara Martin’s song, ‘This is Our Time’, express something of the wonder of living as God’s called ones. (For more on wonder, see the previous post, WOW Response).
He called us to belong to Christ and to be with him forever. That’s more than enough to keep our living space full of celebration! But there’s more to the call. It includes assigned works that carry our names, but are to be done in his. That adds urgency to the wonder of it all.
Assignments Prepared For Us
God wrote assignments for us before we entered the first line of our life story (Eph 2:10, Jer 1:5). The works he planned for us don’t decide the value of our lives, but they do define how we live them.
Our assignments were prepared beforehand by the One who knows us best and who chose our place in history. He uses our circumstances, abilities and relationships as scaffolding for those assigned works.
The call brings us into roles, ministries, offices and occupations. But these are service avenues for doing our assigned works of love.
Some people carry major assignments, with enormous responsibilities and wide-reaching consequences. For many of us, the assigned works are less visible, done in smaller arenas. To some the Lord gives specific, lifelong mandates; others receive fresh assignments for each new season or situation. And, of course, there are the daily tasks which might be regular or unforeseen, but which are like threads woven into the fabric of our current assignment from the Lord.
A work might be menial or elevated, but is never ordinary when done for the Lord (in the spirit of Col 3:23). We don’t measure the significance of the work by how large or noticeable it is, but by what it serves: the Father’s glory. And that’s the wonder of it all!
The Lord doesn’t give us a preview of all the works prepared for our entire journey. If he did, we could wish for a future work, but miss the present one. Our most important work is our current one (Eccles 9:10).
Life in Christ is a gift of holy assignments to be unwrapped and enjoyed. And his Spirit is present and involved in the what, when and how, so that the works serve the Father’s glory in ways uniquely planned for us.
Wanting to Finish the Work
Works from the Father, for the Father, defined the way Jesus lived. Close to his departure, he declared: I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. (John 17:4).
For Jesus, life (and death) was a love-shaped assignment from the Father, and he lived to complete it, to finish the work.
From a Philippian jail, the Apostle Paul wrote of an inner wrestling (Phil 1:21-26). He longed to depart and be with Christ (which is better), but he also wanted to remain and keep serving in this life (more necessary). This is how Paul settled the inner tug-of-war: he knew he hadn’t completed his assigned work, so it was not yet time for the better. The necessary would continue to define how he lived…. until his work was finished.
Our passage into a new calendar year (similar to a birthday transition into a new biological year) is a good time to review our journey as Christ’s called ones. This means having rear-view mirror time to worship the Lord for his faithful love throughout the past year. It also means making room for his Spirit to revive our wonder at living a new year as his called ones.
We can do that, individually or in a group, by making time for focused prayer that:
- Soaks in the significance of being the Lord’s called ones and celebrates the wonder of it all!
- Thanks the Father for his gift of a purpose-filled new year, wrapped in the words: so that the Father may be glorified (John 14:13).
- Surrenders all of life, and the journey ahead, to keeping in step with the Spirit (Gal 5:25).
- Desires – in every season and circumstance of life – to do the works he has assigned, with all your heart (Col 3:23). This includes the spontaneous works that will feature in your journey this year.
- Declares a devotion to finishing the work you gave me to do (John 17:4)