“Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free” (Ephesians 6:5-8 ESV).
I am a tool, an instrument in the hands of the Maker, useful for accomplishing his purposes on the earth. If he is the Master, I am the slave, I previously wrote on this blogsite. What kind of slave does the Master desire? What kind pleases him? A dull, seldom-bestirred tool or a sharp, oft-used weapon? A crooked, dull-tipped projectile that veers from the target or a straight and true arrow to shoot at the mark?
Sharpening this particular instrument, recalcitrant and hard-hearted sinner that I am, requires him to scrape me on flint, iron sharpening iron, rough edges being sanded off, cutting edge being honed through repetitive, stropping strokes. I must yield, because it is essential that I have a fine point; I am a pen, one of a cluster of writing utensils within his arsenal of implements—pens, pencils, and paintbrushes.
For a writer, sharpening involves practice, practice, and more practice, rightly developing skills, applying inspiration, using what he has given. It demands a true, transparent, and introspective relationship with him as I sit before his Word daily, letting it pierce to the heart, stab at the hidden sinful motive, and dig it out. Then, as I write, I have to tell about the painful surgery and the glorious result. This is my given task. It is humbling, part of the refining.
Right now that involves querying, crafting documents, proofing them twenty, thirty, forty times, then waiting…waiting. While waiting, will I trust or will I stew? Will my life grind to a halt as I wring my hands, anxiously awaiting the outcome? Or, will I remember that he is the Master and I am the slave, that he determines how he desires to use his tools, when, and where? Will I do my job, leave it in his hands, and go about my business, on to the next task he has for me?
Praise God, I don’t have to do this in my own strength!
This Master adores his slaves. He died for us and gave us his Spirit when we placed our faith in him. Now, moment by moment, he empowers us for his service, for the rest of our earthly lives, never requiring us to manufacture our own ability to live for him, wait on him, or use the gifts he has given us. He gives the task, and he equips for service.
What is your task? How has he crafted you for use in his kingdom? Do you serve behind the scenes and no one ever notices all that difficult work you perform? Are you weary in your labors? The Master, he sees. Whether you speak or write or serve in any other of the myriad ways, he sees. He stores up your reward.
All of us together are to serve with the strength he gives. The power of Yahweh, Creator of the universe, is like dynamite, dunamis in the Greek. All that power has a purpose: That God may be glorified through Christ’s transformation of us, the broken vessels, the ones deformed with sin’s depravity but changed into useful jars of clay. Can such basins ever be changed? Yes, but only through the strength God supplies.
Lean on him. Grab his dynamite.
“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 4:10-11a ESV).