Farewell to January 2013 . January, when I wrote my first calendar entries neatly, in the same coloured pen. Wondered what the year would hold. Farewell to this land of empty calendar spaces. Farewell to a time of dreaming, a time of possibility.
Welcome, already, to February 2013. Welcome to February 11, 2013. Welcome, almost, to mid February 2013.
Sometimes it feels like I am so busy joining the dots on my calendar that I am missing something, missing the bigger picture. And sometimes I think, IS there a bigger picture? And if there is, am I meant to see it?
It’s good to know I am not alone in this:
What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil- this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure for ever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.
Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account.
(Ecclesiastes 3: 9-15)
There is frustration here. We know that the world is big. Bigger than us, bigger than our calendar. Bigger than all our calendars put together, bigger even than the church roster. But we will never be able to understand things as clearly as God.
We can see beauty around us, minute to minute. But we can’t add up those minutes into something that equals the meaning of the universe. We have eternity in our hearts. We want to understand more, because we know that there is so much more to things than the here and now. We want to know that the effort we put into things has meaning, a point.
The writer of Ecclesiastes knew that there was a God in charge of time and history. We are privileged to know more than this writer; we know that God has broken into history. Jesus, the Son of God, has become King of all history and all time through his death and resurrection. There will be eternal, abundant life for all Jesus’ followers. It’s His kingdom that we’re helping to usher in. This is what colours our world with new meaning:
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.
(1 Corinthians 15:56-58)
Jesus is the King, He’s defeated death. He’s liberated us from the power of the law too. We don ‘t need to do anything to meet our own standards of goodness, busyness or respectability. Or other people’s standards.
It’s not about us anymore. It’s about being ambassadors for the King, rolling out the red carpet for Him. It’s about looking forward to Jesus’ second coming, when He comes in full glory and power. Looking forward to the time when there will be feasting and joy in His presence. It’s about all the work we can throw ourselves into now, to advance Jesus’ kingdom as it breaks into the world.
We are assured that our work is meaningful. Because our labour is in the Lord, and it is not in vain.
Dear Lord Jesus
You are the forever King.
You are King of history and time
Over each breath, each life,
Over all cultures, all eras.
That even though you are infinite
You chose to break into our history
To come into our misery
To journey to the centre of our heartbreak
You died, because you loved us.
Help us to welcome you gladly
Into our lives
Into the life of our church, our community, our country,
Into every bit of our world –