“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10 NIV
Lately I have been watching talent programs from several different countries. (Hooray for streaming!) It has been quite interesting to see what happens in these different places. Often the language, even though they claim it is English, is challenging to understand. Many times I am left guessing at what was just said.
Each contestant must walk out on a stage to face four Judges who have power to send the participant home or move them forward. I am always fascinated by how these young men, young women, older men, older women, and even children have the courage to walk out on that stage. They know they will face four Judges who can make or break each contender’s aspiration for fame . The Judges have the ability to make or break dreams of the contestants, who have only 3 minutes to prove they have the Gift!
It’s not only the Judges, there is also an audience of several thousand in attendance. As the entrants wait backstage, the response of the crowd gives a pretty accurate measure of what just happened to the previous performer and their dream of stardom.
On a couple of the shows were some who had entered in previous years, the year before, or even several years earlier. They had come back highly improved. They’d taken the advice of the mentors and judges so they could still chase their dream. One young man made it into the top three. What an amazing comeback! I have a huge amount of respect for this particular contestant, I am sure I would not be able to come back from that kind of disappointment.
Over and over many of those who are auditioning as vocalists believe they were made for this moment in time. Without any doubt they are certain they are the best vocal performer the world has ever witnessed. Thousands show up for the beginning auditions, each sure they will be the next World Pop Star.
So, what were you created to do? If you were standing in a line with thousands of other people who believed this was the moment they had been created for, why would you be there? Is there some talent, some gift that would push you to stand before four Judges and an audience of thousands for a chance to become Somebody?
Each person shows up for these contests believing the only way to finally be known is to have their talent confirmed at this contest. They need to find validation for who they are, what their future will be, and what they can do through the decision of the four Judges. How far would you go to be recognized as “a Somebody,” for once in your life to feel wanted, respected, desired, to know you have it and they want it!
Except there is one catch, the Judges! They hold your future in their hands. If two of them say no, you are done. There are no appeals to the Judges; you can’t lobby the audience if the sentence of the Judges is, “No, it’s all over for you this time.”
This Time — That is a key many contestants miss. I understand why and how they miss the reality there is a next time. Let’s face it, being rejected slices all the way through the heart to the soul. We already have rejection baggage flowing from the Garden of Eden, flooding who we are, how we see ourselves. And having that rejection verified in front of the world finally confirms what we knew along.
Those not chosen must walk the gauntlet of questions, cameras, and the shame that accompanies a sense of failure. It is the sense of shame, I believe, that keeps many shut down, unable to know there could be another opportunity.
Have you ever considered, believed, thought, understood you are God’s workmanship? Think about that for a moment! You and I didn’t just happen; we were not some chance process of nature. We were and are a Process of Grace thought out and created by the Creator who wanted us with our particular qualities, gifts, abilities, everything God wanted in us!
We were created in Jesus Christ to make a difference. In Jesus Christ we have a ministry, a responsibility to allow Him to use us as He decides. This is true of everyone who takes the name of Jesus. God holds us accountable for how we meet the needs of others He brings into our sphere of influence.
We aren’t held accountable so we can work our way into God’s Grace; we are accountable because we are filled with God’s Grace.
As the works that have been created in advance for us are becoming our reality, this educates us to understand Grace is all about change. What God is providing are the opportunities to reveal the intimate love of God for all. The Holy Spirit guides us through the traps the enemy sets to destroy the witness of Chris’s Body. The works God prepared in advance are to inform the world of God’s passionate love for them inviting them to know Him for themselves.
Unfortunately, we (I include myself, which I really don’t like doing) in the Christian community have seen ourselves as Judges. We too often decide who in the world of seekers looking for the Creator are deemed unworthy to become members of the Body.
Sitting in Judgment is just one of the things we have gotten wrong. Sitting as Judge, Jury, and Executioner are not on the list of the works created by God in advance for us to accomplish. God’s list does not make room for judging. Yes, we still live in a world seeking to judge rather than to forgive. Our responsibility in God’s Grace is inviting others to meet the God who chose death over losing us for an Eternity.
Rather than choosing to make something that isn’t in the province assigned to us by God, let’s accept the responsibilities that were given to us by God. If you really need something to judge find a dog show, a flower show, or check in with the local fair, or even the city, county bulletin boards. There may be a place with a bulletin board announcing future events, opportunities to become a local Judge.
For me the bottom line is this, we were created, made in Christ Jesus by God to do what is needed. We are His workmanship made by the Creator to do the work He prepared in advance. Want to know what you are really created by God to accomplish? Ask Him, He will give you the answer at the fullness of time, the perfect time.
It is easy to write (not so easy to live), I know, as I am sitting in the waiting room, or am I? Oswald Chambers suggests the Process is the Goal, not the arriving at a specific place or calling. OK, so once more I find myself realizing as always God has had His works in the process of being accomplished! And there is not much more to say except this, once again God’s Grace in my Process continues to keep me learning. My heart and mind and soul say thank you, God, for your patience one more time!
“For it is God Himself whose power creates within you the desire to do His gracious will and also brings about the accomplishment of the desire.” Philippians 2:13 Weymouth New Testament