Farther Along

Farther Along

1 Corinthians 13:12: Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

I don’t know how you entertained yourself during worship services when you were a child, but I do know my brother and I had seemingly endless ways to do that and not so by the way to irritate our mother. One time we decided to use one of my cuff links as an interstellar battle cruiser. We were way ahead of George Lucas with this, but mom didn’t appreciate our visionary efforts. “If you don’t stop that,” she said, “I’ll march you out of here and put you in the nursery where you belong. Behave!”

This cooled our jets for the rest of that service, but Sunday comes one a week and we were at it the next time, singing hymns with different words that we found humorous. One of our favorites was based on “Bringing in the Sheaves.” Here’s a sample chorus:

Bringing in the sheaves, raking up the leaves

We shall come rejoicing rolling up our sleeves.

We did this and managed to live through another service by leaning forward and singing into the hymnal racks. Mom thought we were being pious. We never told her our secret, but I think she knew. She was just too tired to do anything.

The phrase “rolling up our sleeves” reminded me that this last Monday I had blood drawn for a routine test. To prepare, I rolled up my sleeve far enough to cut off circulation if I had left it that way. When I sat down at the place where the drawing of blood was to take place, the technician—and please nod if this has been your experience—rolled my sleeve another two turns, and my whole arm went numb. No, it really didn’t , but hurt like a big dog. At least that distracted me from the tiny pin prick of the needle.

I think my experience with drawing blood shows us how God deals with us. We have a constant call from God in which he says, metaphorically, “Roll up your sleeves! I have work for you to do!”

So, we roll up our metaphorical sleeves and go to work and proudly say to God, “Look what I did! Am I not your favorite believer?”

God says nothing, but reaches down and tightens our sleeves another notch or two. With this, we forget our pride and self-importance and work at a higher level. And when we do, we hear God say, “Well done, you good and faithful servant!”

Praise to God who holds us to a higher standard, who celebrate when we do God’s will and who loved us so much He gave up his son so that we might live and serve God forever. Amen

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