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The Hand of God in Common Things

February 17th, 2014

In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.

Ecclesiastes 11:6

God challenges us in this short book of Ecclesiastes to see all of our life under the hand of God, to not despise the times and the moments which seem to be hard to us, for even there the hand of God is seen working in mysterious ways to make us more like Christ.

None of us know exactly what He will use, how He will use it, which He will use more – we are all somewhat in the dark. We may have some ideas and gain some perspectives in life, but none of us can have all of life completely mastered – other than for us to be completely mastered by Christ.

Solomon’s words refer directly to financial and professional endeavors, and we have seen such things before. I know of a man who ventured as an investor in seven different businesses and every business failed except one, and it was the one he considered the biggest risk. But it was the one, in the end, that saved his financial situation, and kept him from declaring bankruptcy.

But these words also have an application in our spiritual life as well, often God puts us aside for a period, or leads us to venture into service in what may appear to be an unfruitful venture of faith, and it may appear our efforts are futile and wasted, but God then uses that event or situation or the people there in our life in a profound way.

I thought about how this applied to John the Apostle. On the cross Christ told John to take care of His mother, Mary, and Mary lived with John until she died. So John was not as free as the other apostles to travel the world evangelizing for Christ. He remained at home taking care of Mary. Paul and Peter and the other apostles spread the gospel, wrote letters inspired of God, while John seemed to be forgotten, left alone to take care of Mary. But God had His purpose in this and it could very well have been that John, who was the youngest of the apostles, needed more time to mature. After Paul and Peter and most of the other apostles were dead, then God used John in a powerful way. He wrote his books in the Bible in his old age, mentoring younger pastors and leaving a lasting legacy in the church. Could it have been Mary’s influence in his life for all those years was what God used to soften this “Son of Thunder,” as Jesus had called John and James, his brother, into the Apostle of Love?

Through the eye of faith we can see God at work in our lives, using common things, simple situations, the normal activities, to mature us into Christlikeness. God’s hand is at work today and tonight in our life and our response should be one that respects the fact. Avoid despising difficult people and things, for God is using them in your life today.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. Romans 9:28-29.

Reflections on Ecclesiastes ,