I do not have words to express the past six months. There are seasons of growth, seasons of service, seasons of suffering, seasons of plenty, seasons of lack, seasons of rest. The list goes on and on. However, this last season has probably been the most confusing and yet eye opening at the same time. I find myself today as more broken, and yet more complete. Through it all, I have gained fresh eyes, yet old eyes. I have seen truth in new light. Yet the foundation is still the same. My life is forever built on Jesus. My family verse is still the same 1 Corinthians 10:31, which reminds my children and myself to do everything for the glory of God.
As I read Solomon’s writings, I find this great reminder from the wise one. “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.” Everything circles back to being all in—to surrendering all, to giving all, to pouring out all. This takes me back to my Grandma’s kitchen table, a bag full of pretzel nuggets, a deck of cards, and my aunt sitting across from me. As she tried to teach me the game of poker, and we put wagers in place that consisted of pretzel nuggets in our possessions, it was obvious that if you wanted to get the most return, you had to be all in. You couldn’t let fear dictate your moves. You couldn’t let a lack of resources keep you from acting in confidence. Now yes, when it came to that day long ago, the game ended only because we both ate all of the pretzel nuggets. We both won; we both lost. But in life, if you are not all in, you miss out. You have one opportunity. You have one chance You have one moment. Life is but a breath.
If you live your life in fear, not taking the step to be all in, you miss out. You won’t have a fulfilling relationship if you cannot be all in. You cannot be the parent you were designed to be if you miss out on the opportunity to be all in. You won’t find as much success at your job if you are not all in. Most importantly, you miss out on great revelation from God when you hold back—when you do not lean into Him with all of yourself. Remember, if you lean into Him, He will draw near to you.
So today, as you spend your day likely drowning in busyness, consider if you are an all in person. Are you using all your might? As a parent, are you devoting all your might? As an employee, are you devoting all of your might? As a child of God, are you living life with all your might (which actually includes God’s might – the Holy Spirit)? Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might. To God be all honor, glory, and praise!
“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol where you are going.” – Ecclesiastes 9:10 [NASB]
Here’s a sermon outline from a message I shared on the Slavery of Self-Reliance. You may download the outline below. Please note there was no illustration with this message but instead I spoke of King Asa of Judah from 2 Chronicles 16 giving the gold and silver from the Temple to Ben-Hadad King of Syria.
Slavery of Self-Reliance
Everyone needs: Meaning / Purpose / Security / Safety / Significance / Worth / Value
Self-reliant / Self-determination / Self-Dependence / Independent / Self-Sufficient / Self-Contained
The world sees these as good things / the world applauds these things
The problem: These things enslave us. Burden of Self-Reliance à when all relies on you à Slavery
The solution: God wants to free us from ourselves
God is our: meaning / purpose / significance / security / safety / protection
- God provides you meaning and purpose
- Isaiah 43:7 – God has made you for His glory.
- 1 Corinthians 10:31 – Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
- Matthew 5:16 – Let your light shine before others to glorify God
- God provides you security
- Proverbs 3:26 – “For the LORD is your security. He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap” (NLT).
- God provides you safety
- Psalm 18:2 – “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
- Psalm 91:2 – “… He alone is my refuge, my place of safety…” (NLT)
- Proverbs 18:10 – Godly run to God and are safe
- God provides you significance and worth and value
- Genesis 1:27 – God made you in His image
- Psalm 139:13 – God created each of us individually – knit you in your mother’s womb with certain abilities & gifts – allows certain experiences – all so you can be of great worth to His Kingdom – YOU CAN DO GREAT THINGS! (John 14:12 – “… anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works…” NLT).
- Ephesians 2:10 – “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (NLT).
Only those who stand in need of a savior will look for and recognize one.
Proverbs 3:5 – “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” (ESV)
Jeremiah 17:5-8 – “This is what the LORD says: ‘Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the LORD. They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future. They will live in the barren wilderness, in an uninhabited salty land. But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.”
It should always be our aim to give our best to everything we do in life. The Bible says we should do everything for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31) as a representative of Jesus Christ (Colossians 3:17). This does not mean we should only give our best at work or our best at home. This does not mean we should slack off in one area to devote all of our attention to another.
In today’s passage, the Psalmist speaks of singing to God. He states that because “He’s Lord over earth… sing your best songs to God.” God’s Word Translation says, “Make your best music for Him.” Sing with passion. Sing with truth. Sing with understanding. Yes, understanding. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 14:15 about singing with understanding. Singing with understanding means we sing praises to God for we understand Who He is and how great He is—that is the only way to sing our best song to Him. We must know Him and love Him.
Psalm 47 was written by the Sons of Korah. Remember Korah? There was a rebellion and the people were swallowed alive (Numbers 16); however, God saved some descendents of Korah—the sons. And if you look further down the line, you will find that the prophet Samuel came from that very line. How great is our God! With understanding, comes a pure outpouring of praise. He is Lord over all the earth so let us sing our best songs to Him.
“Sing songs to God, sing out!
Sing to our King, sing praise!
He’s Lord over earth,
so sing your best songs to God.”
-Psalm 47: 6-7 [MSG]
When Hezekiah was speaking to the Levites, the people chosen by God to be set apart for God’s work, he was set on purifying the Temple. After years of neglect the Temple doors were opened, repairs were made and the Levites were prepared. Hezekiah said to them, “This is your life work; make sure you do it and do it well.”
None of us have this same job position as the Levites, but it doesn’t mean we should not do it well. We all have a position, a title, whether it be banker, homemaker, doctor, cashier, salesman, teacher, customer service representative, janitor, etc. We all have a position.
Colossians 3 says that whatever we do, we do it for God. Whatever we do. Everything. Do it all for God’s glory. Paul again wrote in 1 Corinthians to do it all for the glory of God. So again and again we read about doing things and doing them well—about doing everything for the glory of God. Today, no matter what you are assigned to do, no matter what position you hold, “do it and do it well.” You are there for a reason—shine the light and make the best of it!
“I have decided to make a covenant with the God of Israel and turn history around so that God will no longer be angry with us. Children, don’t drag your feet in this! God has chosen you to take your place before him to serve in conducting and leading worship—this is your life work; make sure you do it and do it well.”
-2 Chronicles 29:10-11 [MSG]
When I reached back to the bag rack, I noticed that there was a bunch of crumbled bags that were placed inside the first bag on the rack. They must have fallen off the rack, come off with other bags, or posed a problem by being too difficult to open during bagging. As a result, rather than try to open each one and properly hang it on the rack, someone decided to just toss them all into another bag so they were out of sight and out of mind. That helped the person to deal with the situation, but the situation was not resolved. The bags still needed fixed and reattached.
Each bag had to be taken out of the bag, opened, and attached to the bag rack. It took a bit of time but it got done. While doing the not-so-thrilling task, I considered how we all do this at times. We push things off. We let things for other people. My kids do it in the kitchen. They make a small spill when pouring some milk or juice and it sits. They could easily clean it up with a rag and it would only take a few seconds. Instead they leave it and it becomes more difficult to clean when I notice it there. A spouse may leave the car nearly empty of gas so the other person has to drive to the gas station to fill it up. A co-worker might leave something for the next shift or for another co-worker simply because “they can do it.”
We live in a culture that has a problem accepting responsibility. I know I’m guilty of it and when I look around, I can tell that I am not the only one. We do not want to take responsibility. We do not want to be accountable. It is so much easier to push things off. Today, be accountable. Take responsibility. Remember that in any and everything you do, it can be an opportunity to give God the glory He deserves. Don’t just stash some crumbled bags away for the next person. Don’t leave your work area dirty for your co-worker. Don’t let the milk sit for the next person. Take initiative.
“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31 [NLT]
In Genesis 11, the people were attempting to build a tower to make a name for themselves which resulted in the people being scattered. By attempting to build the tower, they were seeking glory for themselves, rather than glory for God. They were trying to build themselves up rather than living for God.
When you look around today, it seems like there are a lot of towers being built up all over the world. Perhaps we have been scattered all over and we speak different languages, but it did not rid us of this desire to be like God—the same desire that plagued Adam & Eve in the garden. People are still trying to get noticed. People are still trying to build up. People are still trying to live for themselves rather than for God.
Today, look at your life and check for any towers. Are you seeking glory? Are you trying to get noticed? It is okay to get some attention, but we should always be pointing to Christ. To God be the glory.
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31 [NIV]
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31
This past weekend was graduation. I walked into a room full of classmates uncertain of what to expect for the actual ceremony. We had practice the evening before, but I was not familiar with the different meaning of the cords and tassels that were being distributed. As I was handed my cords, I thought to myself, don’t I get the gold ones because most people were wearing gold cords. It seemed to me that the thing to have was those gold cords. I had to ask what the different cords meant to understand how things work and to my surprise, I was given different cords because I was the Class Salutatorian and therefore had these other colored cords for the honors.
This got me thinking about how we always seem to drift toward that which is common among others. If we see most people driving a particular car, buying a particular television, making a particular amount of money, participating in certain events, getting particular grades, etc., we want to do that too because everyone seems to be doing it so isn’t that the way to go?
The issue is that God made us unique and we shouldn’t be considering our performance based on how others are doing in life. We should see our worth in Christ and find our identity there alone. For some of us, we will get gold cords. For others, we won’t reach the gold cords. For some, we will get the spots above the gold cords. The cord color changes with each situation in life. But at the end of the day, we need to remember to follow the path God has presented and not look to get a gold cord at all, even if most everyone has the gold cords. It could be possible that He wants to do something else for you, something that will bring Him greater glory.
Today, I challenge you to see if you have been aiming for gold cords in an area of your life when God wants to do so much more to display His glory to those around you.
“I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.” – Psalm 86:12