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Posts Tagged ‘talents’

Pastor J began a Heaven series last night and he ended his message with Phil Wickham’s Heaven Song. Have you heard it?

As the song played, I looked around the sanctuary to see if I was the only one fighting tears. I wasn’t. And yet, I think people were being touched by this song in very different, very personal ways.

When Phil first sang, “I want to run on greener pastures, I want to dance on higher hills,” I thought, I don’t even dance now, why would I dance in heaven?

And then I thought, why don’t I dance now?

As the song played, tears came to my eyes as a totally new revelation stung my heart: I’ve lived nearly 50 years a prisoner of humiliation. Easily embarrassed, inhibited by insecurities, imprisoned by self-consciousness and fears. And I will probably spend the rest of my earthly life bound by these things.

But in Heaven . . .

I had never thought of heaven as a place of freedom from shame. I’ve worn shackles and chains so long I’ve learned to live with them—forgotten they’re even there. What would it be like to live without crippling fear? Emotional pain? Humiliation? Without the destructive effects of sin or shame or selfishness or any of the things that limit us here?

Will I dance in heaven?

Yeah. Thanks to the spirit of God speaking to me through a song, I can (almost) see myself dancing with abandon and joy. Without a single self-conscious thought. I’m going to dance with Jesus and we’re going to laugh!

And not at my dancing!

“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”—the things God has prepared for those who love him—these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. 1 Corinthians 2:9

Heaven will be a place of many incredible, unimaginable joys, including freedom from the shackles and chains we’ve been dragging around. Please take a moment to listen to this song. May it help spark and fan into flame whatever your heart quietly longs for.

More on Heaven:

Pastor Jeremy’s Heaven: Looking Forward To Home Series

Randy Alcorn’s Eternal Perspective’s Ministries

Alcorn’s Life Promises sample chapter

www.heaveniq.com

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It’s so nice to have an appreciative spouse who thanks me for taking care of the bills or for keeping our kids from playing in the toilets while he’s at work. (Well, mostly when they were toddlers—it’s not so much an issue now that they’re in college.) But for the skills that come naturally to me, I don’t need kudos to stoke my confidence or keep me motivated. It’s the things I sweat and struggle at (like novel-writing) that need affirmation to keep me pushing myself, keep me believing.

I’d like to say I’m skilled at the important things—the kinds of things that will follow me into eternity. Things like beginning every day with Jesus and the Word. Feeding the hungry. Praying faithfully. Sharing the hope I have in Christ and the endless grace he’s shown to my wretched self. Loving other wretched folk.

But I’m not skilled at these things. I try and I fail, I try harder and fail some more. I make some progress too, but I’m not where I’d like to be. Does this mean God wouldn’t want to use me? Or that I’m off the hook?

This passage in Exodus caught my eye this week. After the unfortunate golden calf incident, God instructed his people to build him a tabernacle. Scripture says: “and everyone who was willing and whose heart moved them came and brought an offering to the LORD . . .” (35:21)

The passage goes on to list the items people brought. Some brought stuff like gold (guess there was still some left), costly purple linens, and gems; others offered their talents and skills. All the Israelite men and women who were willing brought their freewill offerings for the work of the Lord.  It doesn’t say all who were rock stars or room-lighter-uppers—it says all who were willing. Those who had, brought; those with skills offered their abilities. The cool part I see in this is the people needed each others’ offerings to get the job done.

I wonder if we hesitate to offer God our resources or abilities because ours isn’t a “rock star” kind of offering. Maybe you’re good at crunching numbers. Or car-detailing. Or couponing. Or taking things apart and figuring out how to fix them. Maybe you’re good at scrapbooking, analyzing market trends, baking cookies, people-watching, or keeping toddlers from playing in the toilet. Maybe your ability is to work and earn money.

1 Corinthians 12:14-21 says:

Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!”

Maybe your abilities may seem random at best, and disconnected from the important work of God’s kingdom. But God sees all this from a very different vantage point. He sees the total package—including you—as the body of Christ functioning together as whole. An intricately woven, masterfully designed whole.

Maybe the real value of our gifts lie not in the gifts themselves, but in our willingness to offer them to the Lord. Like working on a scrapbook with an elderly neighbor who is facing an uncertain eternity.

In faith, the Israelites each came willingly—butchers, bakers, scrapbook makers—and offered their part, just whatever they had.

So share what you have, offer what you know, bring that crazy good thing you do to Jesus. Get a little nuts and think outside the box. This is your offering, your act of worship, holy and pleasing to the Lord.

She who has a willing heart, let her come.

Question: What do you think? Do you have a hard time seeing significant purpose or eternal value in your abilities? Do you believe God gave you your abilities, right down to the quirkiest quirk?

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