Thursday, January 8, 2009

Where Patience and Contentment Meet

Patience – a hard trait to acquire, I just don’t ever pray for it – learned that lesson back in the day!
But I’m gaining ground on it little by little because it’s obviously something God knows I need more of but is gently teaching me in small increments fortunately… I think that’s why when my pastor mentioned a certain scripture in church a few weeks back it caught me so off guard – you know, you read something a million times then boom – all o the sudden it’s like you just learned to read a foreign language!
It was this: Luke 3:23 “Jesus was about 30 years old when he began his ministry”
This was a picture of utter patience - even beyond Abraham waiting to have sons, beyond Job enduring the things he did, beyond me trying to lose weight and get healthier, beyond a young woman I know who tried for years to have a child, beyond a man I know who is waiting for his wife to decide she will come home and be a mom to their kids again and seek help to mend their marriage, beyond the woman whose waited so long to be able to find a job she has a passion for…
Here is Christ – who gave up everything – do you understand it was EVERYTHING? We’ve heard that before right? As we begin this 2009 and are maybe waiting for something to happen that we want so badly and are just so anxious for in our lives and that we want so much, think about this.
Here was God, get that, God in flesh, here on this earth that WE made a mess of, came in a world where He literally had t experience pain, hunger, being cold, dirty, lonely, scared, and then think about this...
Now this is where patience and contentment began to come together for me like ever before. I began to really, REALLY see, you CAN’T have one without the other.
How early did Jesus begin realizing he was special, different, how soon did he have the comprehensible relationship with the Father that He knew what was to become for us, when he was 12 years old in the temple teaching the sacred scriptures, when he was working in that carpenters shop learning his earthly fathers trade, think for just a minute if that is you and you know – you know your purpose, your ministry, your destiny! When you know that you and the Father are one and that you are going to change the face of humanity forever even if you don’t yet understand how, or maybe you do! You know what God has sent you for! That there are those in need around you that need to hear what you have to say, that there are people dying every day that need what you have to offer. But you are silent. You are patiently waiting on your heavenly Fathers leading.
As I began to think about this at church that Sunday I missed the rest of the service lost in my own thoughts but that’s totally cool because God was speaking to me you know?! As I thought about all this I was amazed at His patience! But then the word contentment began creeping into my thought too. The Messiah was content in that.

The Bible tells us he worked as a carpenter and in his life growing up that he was loved by everyone who knew him. See, He was content… He didn’t walk around anxious, irritated things weren’t happening quicker, in a bad mood, wishing he could hurry and get started, day dreaming about things he didn’t have or questioning constantly why he couldn’t begin now, second guessing what God was doing because he knew he was born to do something great…
I think when Luke 2:52 says “And Jesus grew in wisdom and standing, and was loved by God and man”, that it’s a picture of contentment and that he trusted God so he found his opportunities to serve wherever he was – working in that carpenters shop, in his daily chores at home, at the temple, being a good son, and friend to those around him, letting his actions and his life draw a circle of love around the community he lived in. Surely if He could await Gods timing and gifts knowing it meant the world, the WHOLE WORLD, then we can too.
So as we begin 2009 with the goals and desires we have, lets first make sure it’s in line with what God wants for us, that we are leaning on His wisdom and timing for it all. But also that we don’t sit in a stagnant state waiting until He moves us somewhere else. Serve how you can where you can – that’s what Christ did. Sometimes it’s as if we are waiting for the door that we want to walk through to suddenly sprout legs and come to us – if we’re out there engaged in our world then the doors we come across may swing wide open as we touch them! He never has us somewhere we CAN”T be effective or make a difference or that He hasn’t given us the talents and gifts to be used in that place.
Don’t compare yourself to others – look at the ultimate example of patience and contentment. Christ waited 30 years to begin. But yet He didn’t either – in the sense that he took opportunities where he found them to begin preparing for the coming purpose. And He gained in his relationship with God with each one
Be grateful what He has given you for this time, and this place even if you’re in a struggle – He gives you strength anew each day and simply pray for God’s eyes to how you can give and live outside of yourself… sometimes that inner voice needs your mind to be in a different place than where you usually dwell so you will hear what it clearly says.
Make time to be quiet with Him too – know Him, learn His desires for you. Be content that your are on a constant journey – and the journey itself is where you gain most of what you need for when the door finally opens – it’s all a part of the bigger plan. Be patient with knowing He is at work in you making you into what He designed you to be.