I had expected to spend this past holiday weekend away at an island camp with the youth from our congregation and two other congregations, returning home exhausted, worn out from serving, delighted to have spent my energy as part of something big and wonderful, where more than a hundred youth come together in praise and fellowship. Do you get the specific servant thing I am describing?
But I was sent home from the retreat (voted off the island) due to illness. One doctor said that he estimates I will need to think about being off work for a week. I went to a clinic at Superstore, and I will see how it goes, and perhaps see my GP this week for a better sense of how long this is all going to take.
I certainly did not Outwork, Outlast, Outplay – but I definitely left a heap of dishes for some of the faithful to tackle.
This was not the outcome that I had anticipated.
Where shall I file this past weekend?
Was it a waste?
Did I do what came to me, with grace?
So here is the question: was what I did last weekend more or less worthwhile than what I had planned to do?
Did I serve God in my enforced sabbatical?
Ecclesiastes 9:10 (ESV)
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.
Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Am I grateful?
– yes, for all the care I received.
– yes, for health.
– yes, for a beautiful place which also had a good bed
and that is a beginning
“What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him.
One son refuses Father’s will,
But later relents.
The other agrees,
But does nothing.
Be sure to examine
Truth you see and know.
When you have truly seen,
Do not hesitate
To change your mind
And believe Him.
The sovereignty of God seems both essential and impossible to believe.
In James 4:15 we read “if the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” – recognizingGod’s sovereignty in what actually happens day-to-day. Still there is the troubling and essential aspect of our free will, and the free will of others who do things that we don’t like, things that we cannot reconcile with the sovereign will of God.
God reigns over us as King and Lord. We, his loyal (or otherwise) subjects, still have the opportunity to choose to obey him or not.
The above hardly begins to answer the question that I barely began to ask about the sovereignty of God and our free will.
Is Lent a time for us to be certain to listen to our King? We could do worse.