September 19, 2016
READ: Isaiah 60:19-22
At the right time, I, the Lord, will make it happen (v.22).
So many of us struggle to feel that our work—the ways we spend the majority of our time and the way we pay our bills—has lasting spiritual value. This is remarkable, given how often Scripture insists that everything we do matters to God.
Poet and novelist Wendell Berry offers a good word here: “If we think of ourselves as living souls, immortal creatures, living in the midst of a Creation that is mostly mysterious, and if we see that everything we make or do cannot help but have an everlasting significance for ourselves, for others, and for the world, then we can see why some religious teachers have understood works as a form of prayer.”
Isaiah 60 provides one of the many pictures of the new kind of world God has in mind. Here, flowing into the New Jerusalem, we find all the things that God will use as part of this new redeemed place, flourishing under the goodness of God:
• Kingdoms (v.3)—our politics and governments and ways of ordering human societies in justice.
• Wealth (v.5)—all we own, how we provide for our families.
• Camels, flocks, and rams (vv.6-7)—the creatures we watch over.
• Gold and frankincense (v.6)—every natural resource.
• Ships (v.9)—the things we’ve built.
• Cypress and pine, silver and gold (vv.13,17)—all the materials craftsmen and artists use to make beautiful and useful objects.
• Every ethnic group (vv.3,10,16)—our cultures, our history, our stories, our families, our sense of self.
In God’s vision for the world, everything matters. Your work matters. Your unique passions and gifts matter. Surrendered to God, even those things that might seem ordinary or mundane participate in the new world God will create.
365-day plan: John 17:1-26
Read Colossians 3:23 and consider what it says about your work.
How have you been tempted to believe that your work is inconsequential to God’s activity? How can you engage in your work with a new vitality, awake to God’s intentions to use what you do to enact healing and goodness?