I have a bad habit of throwing things away that I don't mean to throw away. Yesterday, I threw away the cap to a bottle of supplements -- ginko biloba. If you aren't laughing, it must be because you don't know what ginko biloba is. It's supposed to sharpen your mental faculties. Just imagine what might wind up in the trash if I didn't take the GB!
Silly incidents like this one (and others, such as "losing" my favorite pen, only to find it stashed in a bag among some props I used to teach Bible study today) serve to remind me that I am limited and finite. (As do a few of my friends.) I'm like the ocean waves, which God commanded to go just this far and then turn back around again. I have a definite beginning and end, with plenty of limitations in between. I am not meant to do everything that needs doing in this world for God's kingdom; just some things.
There was a time when the realization of being limited and finite would have bothered me. Now, it feels like the best news I've heard all day.
Even a man after God's own heart had to come to terms with the fact that he was limited and finite; that there were some things he was not destined to do. King David, hand-picked by God to rule over Israel after dethroning King Saul, proved to be a mighty warrior. His armies subdued many of the neighboring kingdoms, bringing him wealth and fame. One day, David determines that it isn't right for him to live in a palace of cedar while the Ark of the Covenant remains stashed in a tent. He decides that he should build a temple for the Lord to dwell in; that since this is a noble idea, it must be God's will for him. Apparently God had other plans. Here's what he told David through the prophet Nathan:
12When you die and are buried with your ancestors, I will make one of your sons king and will keep his kingdom strong. 13He will be the one to build a temple for me, and I will make sure that his dynasty continues forever. 14I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him as a father punishes his son. 15But I will not withdraw my support from him as I did from Saul, whom I removed so that you could be king. 16You will always have descendants, and I will make your kingdom last forever. Your dynasty will never end.' " (2samuel 7:12-16)
Sorry, David, but I don't need you to do everything, even if it is a good idea, just some things.
Along this same line of thought, we got into a discussion at Bible study today about the difference between living under the unrelenting demands of perfection versus the promise of forgiveness.
Perfection mentality says, I can do it myself. Perfection will not accept weakness or tolerate shortcomings. In fact, anything less than excellence is unacceptable. Perfection tends to be driven by performance-based love. If I am perfect, you will love me, accept me, esteem me. Persuing perfection is exhausting. It's frustrating. It's ... unforgiving! In the end, it creates a barrier between us and God. Who needs a savior when I can do everything myself? What do you think I am, limited and finite?
Forgiveness mentality says, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Forgiveness teaches us to surrender to a power greater than ourselves. It is driven by unconditional love. Forgiveness points out our shortcomings, but provides the solution. It demonstrates our need for a savior and grants us access to God.
I can do some things, but I don't have to do everything. I have limits. I am finite. I need to stop, rest and refuel. My center must be found in Christ Jesus. He is the fulcrum in this teeter-totter that at times represents my life.
Copyright 2008 Just Enough Grace Publications