Tuesday, March 05, 2013

March 5, 2013 … Os Hillman: “Striving Versus Abiding”

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2013 - Day 64

Passage of the Day: Psalm 127: 1-2 [NLT] …  
1 Unless the LORD builds a house, the work of the builders is useless. Unless the LORD protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good. 2 It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones. 

Passage of the Day: Psalm 127: 1-2 [The Message] …  
1 If God doesn’t build the house, the builders only build shacks. If God doesn’t guard the city, the night watchman might as well nap. It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late, and work your worried fingers to the bone. Don’t you know He enjoys giving rest to those he loves? 

Contextual Study of today’s passage: Psalm 127 [NLT] … Go to this link … 

Reference Passage #1: Proverbs 3: 5-6 : [God’s advice to His children.] …[NLT] …  
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 6 Seek His will in all you do, and He will direct your paths. 

Reference Passage #2: John 21: 1-6 : [Jesus on the shore of Capernaum after His resurrection … on the beach where He had chosen many of His disciples.] …[NLT] …  
1 Later Jesus appeared again to the disciples beside the Sea of Galilee. This is how it happened. 2 Several of the disciples were there—Simon Peter, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples. 3 Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing.” “We’ll come, too,” they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night 
4 At dawn the disciples saw Jesus standing on the beach, but they couldn’t see who He was. 5 He called out, “Friends, have you caught any fish?” … “No,” they replied. 6 Then He said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get plenty of fish!” So they did, and they couldn’t draw in the net because there were so many fish in it. 

My Journal for Today: Ben Franklin wrote … “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy wealthy and wise.” Most of us have heard that Franklin proverb; but he probably got the idea from Aristotle, who wrote, "It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom." … But all of this human wisdom flies in the face of what Os Hillman points out today as God’s way to becoming productive or fruitful for God’s glory; and it’s all wrapped up in the biblical advice we get from the passages of Scripture which I was led to study in today’s devotional and meditation.

I’m assuming that you’ve done that from my journal citation of Scriptures above; and once you have, what is your interpretation of what God says about getting things done in life … as opposed to the advice of old Ben Franklin or Aristotle? And I think the answer can be wrapped up in Os Hillman’s title for his devotional today: ”Striving Versus Abiding.”

So often, in our work-a-day world, we get trapped into thinking that it’s OUR work (i.e., striving in self) which is the key to getting through life and getting things done the right way. However, God’s word is clear that the key to productivity from our work (and yes, we are commanded by God to work) is found in our attitude of surrender (i.e., abiding in the Savior). This was clearly the message from Solomon in his Psalm 127; and I think it was best illustrated by what happened when Jesus appeared to His Disciples after the resurrection on the beach where they were fishing one morning.

When you read that story, accounted in John 21: 1-6, copied above, what is the message that you get? Personally, I get the same which Solomon was trying to get believers to live and move and have our being in Ps 126. It is saying, ”Working and doing life our own way just won’t cut it!” But when we abide in Christ and do life (especially our work-life), our surrender to His Sprit will lead us in the right path and to fruitfulness for God’s glory.

So often I find myself falling into the Franklin trap of “white-knuckling” life on my own; but when I learn to rise early to find God’s will and His way from His word; and when I surrender and follow His ways, I’m so – so – so much more productive and fruitful for God than when I’m rising early to get my own “to do” list done in the time God has given me. It’s a matter of whether we’re STRIVING or ABIDING; and when we do life, ABIDING, rather than STRIVING, we’re going to catch a lot more fish for God’s glory than we ever will STRIVING to catch them for our own glory.

So, … are we here today to STRIVE in self or to ABIDE in the Savior? Our choice; … but I figure I’m here to do it Solomon’s way rather than Aristotle’s. ... How about you?

My Prayer for Today … Lord, I’m up early here this morning to seek out and surrender to Your way. Please help me catch some fish for You today. … Amen

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