But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved…so that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-7 ESV)
When I eased out of the parking lot and began to accelerate up the road, I had no idea where I was headed. I needed to get somewhere with commerce and fast. However, it wasn’t the current lack of shopping options that was the enemy–I got myself into this. I waited until The Eleventh Hour to arrange gifts for a team gift exchange at work. “Waited” is used loosely here. Truthfully I had completely filtered it from my mind and had not a fraction of a clue I was supposed to be prepared for this thing. Everything in my world halted as my co-worker kindly got me wise to my new charge.
God sort of rams us into scenarios such as this. Consider David’s status in Psalm 63. As David’s account of his time in the wilderness of Judah shares, he was in a “dry and weary land where there is no water.” As always, being human sets us in a degree of desperation.
My work Christmas gift predicament was in full force. I was not even sure if it was a “Secret Santa” affair, a Yankee swap, or just old-fashioned gift-giving. Regardless of formalities, I was empty-handed and time was at a premium. It was 11:15 a.m. (literally The Eleventh Hour!) when I was tipped off; the party started at noon.
As I raced through the streets, my first thought was to go downtown. It was in the vicinity, and surely I would find something unique there. Then the second wave of resistance hit me–I cared. I really cared about getting something meaningful for my co-workers.
As enemies pursued, David sought the help of God. David reveals his next step: “Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands,” (Pslam 63:3-4 ESV).
Nevermind quenching thirst or satiating hunger. Nevermind physical survival. David’s desperation took a backseat, an understatement mind you, to the Lord’s unwavering love.
No waffling over it. David stopped everything to praise God. I stopped everything. Reluctantly I did. I stopped my to-do list. I stopped my precious planning time in the heat of a big deadline to turn-in grades. I stopped–in my tracks. In my piddly self-sovereign world, I was mad that I had to press pause on my agenda. Nonetheless, it leveled me that nothing felt bigger or more important than wowing the awesome people on my team. They are my foxhole buddies, and I love each of them. I desperately wanted to please them, be it in a big or small package. Nevermind a deadline.
“Love always has a creative expression,” Mike Ashcraft said. Although waiting for it is inevitable, this is a profound phenomenon we see paralleled in our lives.The Magi brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to Jesus at His birth because each meant something. They wanted to symbolically honor this baby, this high priest, this king that had come to save the world. When they saw the star marking all this, that was it. They were eager to praise Him. Nothing could be better.
It dawned on me that I cared for my co-workers. We keep each other going for our cause, and that’s bigger than what any of us individually do. As I struggled to produce an idea, I did what any reasonable person would do: panic, increase the recklessness, and duck into Wal-Mart with an open mind.
There was nothing particularly elaborate about the gifts I bought. In the end, I bought each of them a gift card for the coffee shop and a small scented candle. Each scent symbolized something about them that has made an impression on me. I began to feel so much fulfillment as my idea for the gifts came to shape. There was a sense of value.
David realized his ultimate self-worth was in the Lord. Matthew 6:33 states to “seek first His kingdom and his righteousness” and God will bless you with all that you need: your safety, your provisions, your identity even, and what you should do with your time in this life. See, God’s love is boundless. He covers all of the longings we will ever have. We have to stop going on “God-hunts” and reaching at things horizontally to fulfill our self-worth. We have to get vertical by seeking and accepting the gracious truth that our identities, our lives, our every fulfillment is through Him.
- What drives you to do the things you do? How did it all come about?
- What is something that has fulfilled you? Why did it?
- List out your idea of how God would fulfill your sense of wonder. Now consider today’s scripture. Why might the differences in these be important?
Father God, I ask that You open my eyes to all the ways You bless me and keep me sustained. Help me to stay upwardly positioned and focused on seeking You. I pray Your will and steadfast love will be a deciding factor in all my days, all my endeavors. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
PC3 writer Adam King wrote today’s devotional.