I once heard that we as christians are like surgical tools. Allow me to take that concept and run for a little bit, if you will.
God is the surgeon and we are his tools to bring about his purpose. You may think that being a tool would be a rather dull existance, but there are may things that, as a tool, we need to accomplish if we are to be of use to the surgeon.
We need to be clean, first of all. A surgeon cannot effectively work with equipment that is dirty, stained, or otherwise unclean. Unfortunately we, as tools, cannot just "will" our way to cleanliness- we must allow the surgeon to wash us clean, because nothing that we can do will make us clean enough to be of use to Him.
Another thing we must be, as effective tools, is sharp. A blunt knife, even if it's clean, will cause much more damage than good if put to work on a patient. We must sharpen ourselves against a two edged sword. We must sharpen ourselves with the Word; reading it, "wrestling" with it, memorizing it, dwelling upon it, praying it, ect.
What other things must we be in order to be of service to the Surgeon? We must be avaliable. A clean, sharp tool hiding in the back corner of the drawer is of no use to the Surgeon if He cannot find it. On the other hand, an overly eager tool that jumps from the drawer and starts stabbing the patient without the guidance of the Surgeon's steady hands, is just as much of a catastrophe. We must be avaliable for the surgeon's use, but also keep with Him- knowing that He's holding us in his hand is a great comfort as we are used for great and sometimes difficult things to His purpose.
I was reading Esther this morning and took some time to reflect upon chapter 4. In it, Esther, the queen, is told by her uncle Mordecai to go before the King and plead for the lives of her people, the Jews, who are currently sentenced to death (again. it seems to be a trend, lol). She responds by informing him that if she goes before the king without being summoned, the law states that she must be put to death unless he holds out his septer to her in mercy (and i don't really think she put much stock in the man's mercy, who banished his old wife for not feeling up to going to a feast- i don't blame her). Mordecai answered her by saying," Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king's palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" So Esther was given the choice of hiding in the corner of a drawer (probably to later be disposed of for being a useless tool- a fruitless branch, so to speak) or at the surgeon's call be available, and let Him hold her as she walked into the king's inner court to fulfill His purpose. And she was. For she remembered that the Lord the God of Abraham was her true king- what could an earthly king do to her? Her reply was this, "And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!"
We must also understand that there are many other tools in the drawer. Most times we must work together with these other tools, efficiently and without strife, to reach the goal. But it is also like what Mordecai told Esther; that the Lord would procure deliverance for His people with or without her- there were may other tools for His choosing that would do the job. But perhaps, she was placed next to the operating table to be of good use "for such a time as this." If only she would be clean, sharp, and avaliable- not hiding in the queen's quarters- then, by the hand of God, she would be a tool of deliverance for the Jews. You may be a small tool, a seemingly worthless tool, but there are some jobs just perfect for you to be used for. So when the time comes, you must be ready.
We, as tools, must remember that we cannot see the whole operation from where we're at. We may find ourselves with a terribly difficult job, or maybe one that's just doesn't seem very important. We must all play the parts we were assigned, each guided by the Surgeon's hand, remembering that He sees the big picture, Remembering that there is as much of a holy calling in being a stay-at-home mom as being a missionary in China; That each are essential to the overall ("checkmark"/ postmillinial) operation.
We must also be steadfast. We cannot give out or break down halfway through an operation. What use to the surgeon is that? Sharpened and clean, we must be strong as well, with a look to the end.
It is very important to remember that it is not us, in the end, that accomplishes the purpose. All was crafted by the surgeon's skill. We are His tools, and therefore we can only boast in the Surgeon, not in ourselves.
Therefore, my brothers and sisters in Christ,
Be clean- repent daily; remember His glorious covenant with His people, and having such a promise, "let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God"; keep short accounts with others; "Be excellent at what is good, be innocent of evil;" "Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy- meditate on these things." ; And finally, "May streams of living water pour fourth from within you"- for "out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks"
Be sharp- "For blessed is the man whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and on His law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers."
Be avaliable- Do not hide away in the back corner of a drawer, in the queen's quarters (think not only of Esther's temptation, but of cowardly Hrothgar, in "Beowulf"), or in the complacency and lethargy of modern christians. Keep clean, sharp, and humble, working diligently with others to His glory. Be ready and eager to answer God's call.
Know that you are in His steady hands, that He will guide you when you cannot see.
Keep an eternal perspective- Remember that He sees the whole operation, that each small role is important, that "He works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose," and that it's all about His glory.
Be steadfast- "Run in such a way as to recieve the prize," for "we have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first."
Be humble- " 'All these things my hand has made and so all these things came to be,' declares the LORD. 'But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.' " Therefore, let your "soul make it's boast in the Lord."
Well, that was a bit longer than I was expecting, but there you go: just taking an analogy and running with it; tossing out some ideas and applications like Pastor Helsel did with the football analogy on that first "First Friday." Just some stuff I've been thinking about... :) I hope you all are having a good week. May the peace of the Lord be with you, my dearest brothers and sisters in Him. Beijus (kisses)!