HOPES FOR A PRODUCTIVE DAY
As I start to write my To Do List again today, I smile ruefully to myself, half expecting to do anything BUT what’s on it because of the pattern of the last forty-some odd years’ worth of To Do lists. I may be a slow learner, but there are things you begin to see when they are repeated time and time again. A To Do List is only a Hopeful List, not a list of what your day will really bring. ‘Thought provoking, isn’t it? Can we just “decide” to do anything, and then count on it? (James 4:13-15) As one day passes into the next, that endless, undone list of “To Do’s is a constant reminder of God’s power and our own powerlessness. We are SO not in control! We all know the surprise phone calls, the sudden illnesses, unexpected house guests, computer crashes, car accidents, those tiny indomitable knots in our sewing threads. These numerous and inevitable “detours of life” together show us Who is really in control, and it isn’t ourselves. If we acknowledge that fact, and learn to actually rejoice in the Work of God when we see it (the crashes, the flu, the knots), then we are growing in wisdom and humility, and the roadblocks will serve a good purpose in our hearts. But if we rage against the inevitable frustrations, or fret and whine about them, we become no better than the kings of the earth whom God will laugh at as they try to break his bands.
1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,
3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.
5 Then shall he speak unto them (1696 dabar; A primitive root; perhaps properly to arrange; but used figuratively (of words) to speak; rarely (in a destructive sense) to subdue) in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.
We will be wise if we acknowledge and rejoice in the power and complete control of God over everything, including ourselves. And with the writing of every To Do List we should have scriptures in mind such as those listed below. We can rejoice in the work of God, or simply be at the mercy of it.
(1Cor 15:25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet; Heb 10:13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.)
9 And all men shall fear, and shall declare the work of God; for they shall wisely consider of his doing.
10 The righteous shall be glad in the LORD, and shall trust in him; and all the upright in heart shall glory.
11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
33 The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.
13 Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked?
14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.
1 And this is the blessing, wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death…:
11 Bless, LORD, his substance, and accept (7521 ratsaw A primitive root; to be pleased with) the work of his hands: smite through the loins of them that rise against him, and of them that hate him, that they rise not again.
1 Praise ye the LORD. I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation.
2 The works of the LORD are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein.
3 His work is honourable and glorious: and his righteousness endureth for ever.
4 He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the LORD is gracious and full of compassion.
5 He hath given meat unto them that fear him: he will ever be mindful of his covenant.
6 He hath shewed his people the power of his works, that he may give them the heritage of the heathen.
7 The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure.
8 They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness.
9 He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.
10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.
21 Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
22 And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.
10 I have seen the travail (6045 inyan: ado, that is, (generally) employment or (specifically) an affair:)), which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised (6031 anah; through the idea of looking down or browbeating); to depress literally or figuratively) in it.
11 He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world (5769 olam; properly concealed, that is, the vanishing point) in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.
12 I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.
13 And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.
14 I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.
1 Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.
2 Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.
3 If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth: and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.
4 He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.
5 As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.
6 In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.
7 Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun:
8 But if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many. All that cometh is vanity.
11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance (6294 pega; impact (casual)) happeneth to them all.
5 Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man’s heart discerneth both time and judgment.
6 Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him.
7 For he knoweth not that which shall be: for who can tell him when it shall be?
8 Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
18 Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion.
19 Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God.
13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.
Who would know better than Moses the Great Undone To Do List? Who would know better than he did the futility of man’s plans? He led the Israelites through the wilderness, accomplishing what? What would their lives be about? Could they count on measurable physical accomplishments? Houses? Farms? Riches? Instead, Moses had a front row seat to the great work of God – and was wise enough to see that what is truly important : the work of God in spiritual, unseen things. Because of this, he could say, “Make us GLAD according to the days wherein thou has afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil. Let THY work appear unto thy servants…” He could know that God’s work in turning man to destruction (literally crushing, powder) is for the merciful purpose that man would “return” to their Maker.
1 A Prayer of Moses the man of God. Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.
2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.
3 Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men.
4 For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.
5 Thou carriest them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the morning they are like grass which groweth up.
6 In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up; in the evening it is cut down, and withereth.
10 The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
11 Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath.
12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
14 O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil.
16 Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children.
17 And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.
If we, like Moses, lay aside our own physical plans for the greater, eternally lasting, spiritual works of God, then we can request as he did, that God would establish the works of our hands. And we can count on his hearing that plea.
3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
5 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.
7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.
9 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.
10 For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.
11 But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
42 And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.
DAILY PROMPT: NOW? LATER?
We all procrastinate. Website, magazine, knitting project, TV show, something else — what’s your favorite procrastination destination?