Inspired drudgery?

Utmost
For the Joy that was set before Him, Jesus endured the cross, and so much more. Jesus endured humanity and by enduring it, transformed it for us. Not just in the glorious moments like the transfiguration or the resurrection, but in every aspect; even washing dirty feet. This second of three brief posts on the theme of drudgery also comes from Oswald Chambers.

‘Arise, shine.’ (Isaiah 60:1 ESV)

‘We have to take the first step as though there were no God. It is no use to wait for God to help us, He will not; but immediately we arise we find He is there. Whenever God inspires, the initiative is a moral one. We must do the thing and not lie like a log. If we will arise and shine, drudgery becomes divinely transfigured.

Drudgery is one of the finest touchstones of character there is. Drudgery is work that is very far removed from anything to do with the ideal-the utterly mean, grubby things; and when we come in contact with them we know instantly whether or not we are spiritually real. Read John 13; we see there the Incarnate God doing the most desperate piece of drudgery, washing fishermen’s feet, and He says-‘If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.’

It requires the inspiration of God to go through drudgery with the light of God upon it. Some people do a certain thing, and the way in which they do it hallows that thing for ever afterwards. It may be the most commonplace thing, but after we have seen them do it, it becomes different. When the Lord does a thing through us, He always transfigures it. Our Lord took on Him our human flesh and transfigured it, and it has become for every saint the temple of the Holy Ghost.’

From Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest

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David, the Holy Spirt, and me? (4)

David again
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Psalm 23:6 ESV

 

There is more in Psalm 23 than comfort for our personal pain, however desperate that is. David’s song points to the source of power to go beyond ourselves, to live and walk ‘in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake’, just as Jesus went beyond himself, to live a life and to die a death that were, in every respect, for his Father’s glory but for our sake. 

There is something that helps us towards a better fulfillment of those two commandments (Mark 12:28-31) that Jesus said were the greatest and in which reside the best purpose of our lives, at least in this present world.

David knew that the LORD, his shepherd, was not his exclusively.

He knew that, as God’s anointed shepherd/king for Judah he could find no better template for his own role than the goodness and mercy of God who followed him through all his days. In the same way, we may think of what it means for others that we have such a shepherd; one who cares for us all the days of our life and in whom we have the power to live out those two commandments, bringing glory to God and blessing to others.

Remember Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost? The Holy Spirit had come, wonderfully, to Jesus’ disciples as he promised and Peter said,This is that….the promise of God is fulfilled.”

Pentecost
But the promise fulfilled that day was more than a promise of personal blessing, more than a personal mystic experience. Luke makes it clear that the coming in power of the Spirit of God upon his people is primarily for the equipping and enabling of the church to be witnesses to Jesus in the world; to glorify God in the world.

 


And while staying with them (Jesus) ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now…. you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Acts 1:4-8 ESV

Jesus had indicated the same thing even before this; when he spoke to his disciples about the gift of the Spirit, he made his comments in the context of this same commission.

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”  And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. John 20:21-22 ESV

So where does this take us as Jesus’ disciples today?

Good SamaritanWell, the Spirit whom we have received is that same Spirit of Jesus, the Spirit of God, glorifying Jesus in us and through us in one another and in the world, and whether the Spirit is ministering to us or through us that is Jesus’ ministry, our good shepherd’s ministry continuing to and through us, and so to his other sheep as well.

In Christ, in Jesus the anointed One, in the power of his spirit, we are sent into the world as he came into the world, to love as he loved and to serve as he served because, by his spirit, Jesus loves and serves, Jesus still goes daily into the world in his body, in his church.

Jesus ministers through us and his ministry, even through us, still takes, amongst its infinite variety of expressions, the form of his ministry to David in Psalm 23.