We recently enjoyed a very special weekend away celebrating Marian’s 60th birthday with all our children and grandchildren.
23 of us stayed at a large Christian hotel in Poole, Dorset. We had the place to ourselves and it was great fun! Our grandchildren, ranging in age from 3 to 17, all got on well together and there was a wonderful family atmosphere.
Marian and I are so grateful to God for every member of our extended family. Marian’s 86yr old father was not able to join us but he is still self-sufficient and in good health. So as a family we have 4 generations alive at the same time and the privilege of seeing each generation owning Jesus as Lord. We can indeed give thanks and join the psalmist saying: He has been our dwelling place through all generations, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. Psalm 90 v 1-2.
Actually Psalm 90 is a great Psalm for helping us to get life in perspective. A few years ago we had a holiday in Dorset exploring the Jurassic Coast and, like many others over the years, we were fascinated by the fossils and just how they came to be there! However much we tussle with the questions there are no satisfactory answers! But God knows. He is eternal, He knows exactly how and when they were formed! He sees the whole picture! In contrast our lives are so short! our days may come to 70 or 80 if our strength endures. They quickly pass, we fly away! Psalm 90 v 10.
70-80 yrs! v4 tells us this is no time at all, a thousand years to God is like a day that has just gone by! I have often pondered that those of us who are church leaders can get so serious and protective about our role. We can be concerned if we are getting the recognition we deserve or how big our church is! In the light of this verse we are but a drop in a bucket! Our time of service on this earth is nothing in the light of who the eternal God is. He’s the one building His church. His Church has survived and flourished for generations without us!
At times life may seem very confusing and uncertain but Psalm 90 goes on to exhort us: teach us to number our days aright so we may gain a heart of wisdom. v 12. Gain a heart of wisdom, get things in proportion, keep God’s big picture in mind! We serve the Lord of all eternity. Really it is getting the balance that although our life is fleeting it is also right to make the most of our time here for the kingdom’s sake!
Psalm 90 v 12 Teach us to number our days aright, because they do count! v17: May the favour of the Lord our God rest on us, establish the work of our hands, yes, establish the work of our hands.
It is an earnest prayer! In the light of the big picture we do want to serve to the best of our ability, we do want to be like David, a man after God’s own heart…who served the purposes of God in his own generation. Acts 13:20, 36
There are many lessons here: It may be that our own serving may actually only be for a short time span. It’s not so much how long we build but how well! And each of us is responsible before God for our own work. We are not responsible, or accountable, for the next man’s work. Our church in Winchester (Hope Church) is a good example: Greg Haslam, myself and Steve Chick have each led the church for a period during the last 35 years. We all have very different styles and we each have had our part to play in what God has done here in Winchester. However, no one leader can take the overall credit for the progress of the church. Indeed it’s not only down to the leaders anyway, every member has had their part to play! It reminds me of Matthew Henry’s astute comment on Joshua taking over from Moses: “Though the workman be removed the work goes forward. God will change hands to show whatever instruments he uses, he is not tied to any.”
Let’s not get too upset if we feel we’ve made mistakes, God can cope with our mistakes! He has eternity in mind, he’s not dependent on us getting it right all the time in our few years! Our role is not the ‘be all’ and ‘end all’! Our role is certainly not for eternity, in fact it may not even for be for life. Let’s always remember Who we are serving and that we are part of a team.
To use a football analogy we are playing for the coach, Jesus! We are not celebrities playing for ourselves and the adulation of the crowd. At some point the Coach may even want to try us in a different position! He knows us better than we know ourselves! He knows exactly where we will play best! It’s up to him how long we play in any given position. Some footballers are remembered for a famous goal and not much else! Ananias is recorded in church history for such a goal, he only ‘played’ for a brief moment. Through one very brave act of obedience he brought Saul of Tarsus onto a clear foundation as a follower of Jesus Christ. Saul came to be one of the most well known players in the NT! We may never know until we get to eternity, the significance of what we’ve done.
Our significance comes from being good stewards of what God has entrusted to us. God has not equally distributed gifts, intelligence or talents. Therefore we will be judged only according to our use of what He has entrusted to us. He is fair and just. Our significance will not be measured by the greatness of our gifts, talents or intelligence, but how we have used what God has entrusted us with. Neil Anderson
Never lose the wonder of the amazing privilege of serving the living God and His eternal purposes. He calls us his fellow workers! If we can truly grasp this it will make us both humble and confident whatever others may say, or not say, about us.