Friday, October 9, 2015

What Rock Has God Given You to Push?

In Greek mythology, the legend of Sisyphus relates the tale of a poor mortal who angered the gods so much that they punished him by sentencing him to spend eternity at an impossible task - pushing a rock up a mountain, only to have it roll back down time after time.

This is my twist on the legend of Sisyphus...

Once upon a time, a man prayed fervently for God to reveal His will for the man’s life. God led him to the base of a tall mountain where a boulder had fallen from the face of the slope.

“Push the rock,” God told the man.

"Tiziano - Sísifo" by Titian - Photo taken by Dodo. Retouched with clens and the Gimp.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons 

“But, Lord, that boulder is larger than I am! I couldn’t possibly push that rock up this mountain!” The man responded.

“Push the rock,” God repeated.

The man argued with God and reasoned with God. He ignored God’s instruction and turned his back for a time. He folded his arms across his chest and finally threw them up in despair.

Finally, he sighed, bowed his head, placed his hands upon the rock and began to push.

The rock did not move.

All day the man pushed on the rock. He tried throwing his weight against it. He tried pressing with his legs. He tried turning around and pushing with his back. At the end of the day, the rock had not moved. Not one inch.

The next day, the man arose and heard the voice of God again. “Push the rock.”

The man returned to the rock. Again he pressed and pushed all day long. No matter how hard he tried, the rock did not move. Not one inch.

Day after day, God called the man and he returned to the rock and pushed. Day after day, the rock did not move. Not one inch.

Some days the man pleaded with God to give him some other task. Some days the man sang as he pushed. Some days the man wept and cried out to God to help move the rock. Some days the man stood back and prayed, “Lord, I know in your mighty power, you alone are able to move this rock! I believe and have faith that you will move this rock when I say, move. Now, rock, by the power of God, MOVE!” Still the rock did not move. Not one inch.

At the end of the man’s life, he wept with frustration and sorrow. He was a failure. He had spent his entire life pushing that rock and he had failed. In all those years, the rock had not moved. Not one inch.

When the man passed away, he was greeted by God. He wept and cried out in regret, “Oh, Lord, I’m so sorry! I wasn’t able to push that rock no matter how hard I tried.” He hung his head, ashamed of his failure at the one task God had given him.

But God took his hand and led him to the shore of the crystal sea and said, “Look into the water and tell me what you see.”

The man looked at his reflection and barely recognized himself. Before him was the image of a mountain of a man, strong and rugged. Muscles built through years of pressing on the rock covered his broad chest. His arms bulged beneath his sleeves and his legs were as hard as the boulder itself had been.

“You have achieved everything I asked of you. Your task was never about moving the rock – it was about moving you from complacency to action, from self-assurance to dependence on Me, and from weak, ineffective faith to a faith that moves mountains.”

Sometimes God calls us to work that is not intended to change others, but to change us.

What has God called you to that you have yet to see any fruit from? 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Transforming Faith

Isaiah 1:13-17:
Stop bringing meaningless offerings!
    Your incense is detestable to me.
New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations—
    I cannot bear your worthless assemblies.
14 Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals
    I hate with all my being.
They have become a burden to me;
    I am weary of bearing them.
15 When you spread out your hands in prayer,
    I hide my eyes from you;
even when you offer many prayers,
    I am not listening.
Your hands are full of blood!
16 Wash and make yourselves clean.
    Take your evil deeds out of my sight;
    stop doing wrong.
17 Learn to do right; seek justice.
    Defend the oppressed.[a]
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
    plead the case of the widow.

Such strong words!
“I am weary of bearing [your worthless assemblies].”
“I hide my eyes from you [when you spread your hands in prayer].”
“I hate with all my being [your feasts and festivals].”

Religious observance without heart change is detestable to God. This is not to say that we must "do" something to have fellowship with God; Christ has already done everything necessary for life and godliness on our behalf.

But when we recognize the magnitude of that sacrifice, it changes our heart as surely as a seed exposed to light and water will be transformed into a plant that provides food for many.

John 8:12 tell us, “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’”

And just before this in John 7:38, he said, “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”

When our lives are exposed to the Light and Living Water that Jesus offers, they are transformed into something through which God blesses others – not because of our great efforts. This is the power of God and it is a law we see at work in those who have embraced the Light and the Living Water as surely as the natural laws transform a seed into a crop!

It is not something that we can do. No amount of effort, desire, or work on our part can multiply in this way.

And yet, when we bring what we have to the Lord with earnest prayers for Him to use our meager offerings, like the young boy’s lunch or the widow’s mite…

He listens with delight to our prayers.

He gazes on our hearts with joy.

He accepts our worship with satisfaction.

And he transforms our worthless crumbs into a feast!