Monday, October 12, 2009

Abundant Joy: Bits & Pieces

Bits and pieces is really what makes up each of our lives. A collection of the experiences we’ve had, trials we have overcome, relationships, daily routine and lifelong goals. Recently, I read a book (The Rag Quilt) with my boys set in the period of the Civil War. The story centers around a woman who lost her husband and has a daughter who longs to go to school in town. The small town does not have enough money to buy books for all the children, so she decides to make a quilt to be raffled, in order to raise money for the books.

She did not go to the country store and buy new calico, instead she used scraps from her rag basket. She stitched and cut and stitched until it was finished. What lay before her? Not a worn-out scrap quilt, but a beautiful quilt of many colors and design. A quilt that earned enough money at the raffle to buy books for all the students.

As I thought about this idea of having bits and pieces making up our lives, I thought of how often we look around at our life and see scraps. It may be an old couch, out of style clothes, the same trials we have been facing for years, the list goes on and on. Our heart attitude begins to sour and then begins to flow into all we do. The joy is gone or barely hanging on and we are busy wishfully thinking of ways it could all be better. But, I wonder if we stepped back for just a moment to look at all these bits and pieces through the eyes of God, if we wouldn’t see something just a bit different.

If we looked at the big picture, might we see something beautiful? The bare threads that make up our lives are, when joined together, a tapestry ~ a beautiful quilt. And, as I think back to the story I think of how the quilt was done completely by hand. Hard laborious work on the mother’s part, but done with the heart attitude of love and joy for the purpose of bringing joy to other’s lives.

Colossians 3:23 says that in “whatever we do,” it should be unto the Lord. Have you every really thought about what this means? It means that on my part it cannot be surface devotion or half-hearted work of my hands.

It must flow out of a deep heart devotion to living in God’s love, joy and peace. It flows out of me abiding with my great God whom I love so very deeply. The fifth load of laundry, the term paper, the boss that is hard to work for, the physical challenge, the difficult relationship~ all of it must be done unto to the Lord. He has not left us where we are and we must remember He alone is Sovereign over all things. He is walking beside us each step of the way and I know for me, He has carried me many times when I was much too weak to take the steps on my own.

Step back and look at the tapestry of your life, it will be beautiful when you are letting God take the lead. When you are abiding in Him, He will guide the threads in the way they need to be put together. Up close there will be tattered and bare places, but those add to the beauty of one’s life.

Do not waste time looking just at the individual bits and pieces, but look at it as a whole, the journey to completeness in Christ, as you and God stitch together piece by piece.

Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, do your work heartily; as for the Lord
and not for men.”

· “whatever”: everything, anything; no matter what
· “heartily”: with zest or gusto; with all sincerity

Colossians 3:17 Why do we do it?
Colossians 3:23 is the practical application of the above verse, reminding us once again that Christ is to be at the forefront of all we do.

Last week we talked about walking with the Spirit and abiding with God, so that we may live in His love, joy and peace; therefore living out the fruit of the Spirit. To walk with the Spirit means to live in His word. Is this where you begin each day? What does your quiet time with the Lord look like right now?

Those around us in whom we invest our time and efforts need to be seeing a heart that is doing what we do for the right reasons. There are many things in life that we often work very hard for in order to achieve~ perhaps our attitude should be to work for all things in this same manner.

Ephesians 5:18-20

What kind of communication does v. 19 encourage us to take part in?
What is significant in v. 20? Yes, the fact that it says "always" and "all". Do you know that this verse is one that truly defines you as a child of God? Why do you think that is?

Proverbs 31:10-31 This description is of a woman’s lifetime of hard work and focused attitude. What do you see in these verses that speaks to you as an encouragement and/or challenge?

Remember that “whatever we do” we are to do “heartily.” Life often presents many challenges that makes this concept difficult to actually live out everyday, but I do believe that it matters most in our heart. Think back to the Bits & Pieces Devotion from this week~ why did the mother work so hard and laborious? Because she had a hearts desire to bring joy to others.

Is this honestly your attitude when you are working? What kind of work fills your day? Does your heart need an attitude adjustment? Write down some areas where you can use a re-focusing of your heart based on what God’s word has to say about what we do with our hands.

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