In every job that I have ever had I have always tried to learn as much about not only my job, but about the jobs around me as well. I was never satisfied with just being able to do my job; I have always desired to know more and to understand how my job fit into the bigger picture. I guess I have always understood that even if what I was doing was important that I was a part of a bigger plan, a bigger purpose. The same applies to our walk with Jesus.
As Christians we must seek to do our part well, but we must also see the bigger picture and realize that it is not all about us, we must realize that there are other things happening around us that we contribute to and just as a boss will assign different tasks to different people as he sees fit and will praise and reprimand when needed God does the same. Let’s face it, not one of us is perfect, not even close. If you think that you are and you call yourself a Christian then you probably need to do some deep soul searching because God is not looking for people who think they have it all together or who think that they are perfect, though He does desire for us to become Holy, God is looking for someone with a humble heart and one way or another He will get it.
Hannah was a woman in the Old Testament who had her womb closed by God and it grieved her immensely. Every year when her husband, Elkanah, would take his family to worship and make sacrifices to the Lord he would give Hannah a double portion because of his love for her and because the Lord had closed her womb (1 Sam. 1:1-8). Hannah prayed to the Lord that He would open her womb and bless her with a son and that if he did that she would give him to the Lord for all the days of his life (v. 11).
Wouldn’t you know that Hannah became pregnant and bore a son, Samuel, and gave him to the Lord just as she had promised? Upon doing so she prayed the following prayer, she prayed…
My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance. There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God. Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance, for the Lord is a God who knows, and by him deeds are weighed.
The bows of the warriors are broken, but those who stumbled are armed with strength. Those who were full hire themselves out for food, but those who were hungry hunger no more. She who was barren has borne seven children, but she who has had many sons pines away. The Lord brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up. The Lord sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor.
For the foundations of the earth are the Lord’s; upon them he has set the world. He will guard the feet of his saints, but the wicked will be silenced in darkness. It is not by strength that one prevails; those who oppose the Lord will be shattered. He will thunder against them from heaven; the Lord will judge the ends of the earth. He will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed.
Hannah’s prayer revealed something that we often times forget and that is often times neglected to be taught. God is not just good, He is also just, He is Lord, He is love, He is Judge. He is many things, not just good. He sees things that we do not see, even within ourselves and our lives. Hannah warns not to speak in arrogance because God knows and our deeds are weighed by Him. God sees the heart of what we do, not just what we do. When we do things to be seen, rather than with a humble heart God knows and we are weighed for our actions.
He breaks the strong and exalts the weak. God gives poverty and wealth, humbles and exalts. He raises up the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap. We tend to think of God as good and good He is. We pray for good things to happen to us, we pray for comfort and health, riches, a good life, but our actions and our hearts do not deceive God. He knows and gives accordingly. The only prosperity that we can count on is in heaven and only if we believe and confess that Jesus is Lord and do our best to follow Him all of our days. There is no promise that we will have a rich and plentiful life by worldly standards, instead we are promised the opposite. We are told that “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Tim. 3:12).”
In the movie “Do you Believe” the following question was presented. It was asked, If you were taken to court today would there be enough evidence to prove that you are a Christian? James asked, “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such a faith save him (James 2:14)?” He went on to say,
Someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,’ and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.
In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
So if you were taken to court today could someone prove that you are a Christian? Is your faith reflected by what you do? Can God use you right where you are? Can He use you to bless others? How can your faith be seen in your actions? It should be noted that deeds alone bring death just as faith without works does. Paul said it like this, “It is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:8-10).”
We have been saved by grace, through faith, not by works. So wherever you find yourself today realize that God loves you and wants to save you. As we enter into a relationship with Him we are given the Holy Spirit to guide us and direct us and as we follow Him we are slowly made more like God, we slowly become more holy. Through Hannah’s prayer we can see that she understood that she was a part of a bigger plan. She first prayed desperately for a son, but then she promised that her son would be God’s. She prayed by faith and God responded, but then she responded through giving her son to the service of God. She was not just a woman of faith, she was a woman of action who understood that God was more than just good, that He was capable of so much more and that He places each of us in our situations to help mold us into what He wants us to be. When we are made weak, He is made strong. When we become less, He becomes more.
I have a long ways to go before I understand all that is going on around me, but I am becoming more aware of the things that God has people doing around me and how He is using all things and is working all things together for good. I have only a small part to play in His bigger plan, but I have an important part and so do you. We each have an important role to play and as we do our part He will guide us along the way and give us different tasks to help things run more smoothly and efficiently, we just have to be faithful and follow through with what He has given us to do and when we do people will be able to prove that we are Christians. Will people be able to prove that you are a Christian? If not then something needs to change in your life right now and it starts with your heart.