05 August 2013

Encountering Jesus ~ "How do you know you are making God happy?"

Elsie Mae is at a delightful age right now. She's big enough and knowledgeable enough to carry on some pretty real, pretty deep conversations. She's young enough to neither recognize nor care a whole lot about what other people think. And she's little enough to still unashamedly need and love to hang out with her mama. While we traveled through Scotland, she rode in her daddy's car... so it was a lot of fun to have all of us riding together in one vehicle again as we traveled the States recently... and to listen to her and some of her ideas - really, just to talk with her.

One of the deeper questions I remember her asking was "Mama, how do you know you are making God happy with the job you decide to be when you grow up?" {Isn't the phrasing of that just adorable?} 

Her question reminded me of this passage of Scripture, probably because I'm neck deep in studying through the Gospel of John - for her question is very similar to one the people asked of the Lord. 
When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” 
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” 
Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” 
Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6.25-29)
I've been meditating on the people's question - wondering about the works God requires. I've also been contemplating Jesus' answer - it seems simple and straight-forward, but the more I think on it, the harder and bigger and more difficult those thoughts become, as far as trying to wrap my mind around His words: "The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent."

I know all of the verses about salvation being a gift and I KNOW they are true. I understand that it was Christ Who accomplished the work of salvation and that I cannot ever work hard enough or well enough or long enough or... to earn it. But I also understand, from these verses, that believing in the One He has sent requires an investment of significant effort on my part.

Work, in the Greek, refers to a deed or action that carries out and completes an inner desire, intention, and/or purpose. Work, in a physical science sense of the word, assumes the result of a force acting on a body so that "there is a displacement of the point of application in the direction of the force." Thus proof that work has occurred can really only be the movement resulting from it.

Those are pretty scathing, inditing and convicting words when... if... I let myself meditate on them:
  • Yes, the work of salvation was accomplished by the Savior. He did it all.
  • It isn't "works." Jesus is clear in these verses... it is "work."
  • This singular work is the act of believing - empowered by God, but also demanding significant expending of effort on my part.
  • The resulting movement in me is the evidence of God's work - to God (I wonder if that encourages Him?), to me and to others who might be watching.

My working doesn't have anything to do with God saving me. But my working substantiates all rescue and recovery that God has wrought, is working (although sometimes it feels more like "wreaking"), and will work in me.

So my answer to my little gal's question wasn't exactly definitive - but I believe it went something like this ~

Are you moving because of what He is doing?

Of course, her follow-up question was: "So, Mama, are you?"

Sometimes yes... sometimes no... but by God's grace and enabling work, the balance between those two will continually skew more and more in the Jesus direction!

 this week's gratitude list
(#'s 4043 - 4060)

friends and family who are helping with our college bound boy's open house

an oven that heats evenly

my new smart phone (if I can ever figure out how to use it)

finding places for the stuff

Russian lemon teacakes, lemon poppy seed bread and raspberry lemonade - notice a common theme?

kids learning to load and use a dishwasher

walking through Dow Gardens one evening

Jonathan's excitement and many questions as we made that walk

coffee (it was  HUGE cup, really Tim) and time to catch up with a precious friend

catching up with the pastors of our partnering churches

scheduling opportunities to go and meet with those churches

clean bathrooms

fluffy soft towels fresh out of the dryer

on that same line - jeans not cardboard stiff when you try and wear them, because they went through the dryer... or at least having that option

making an after midnight Meijer's run with mom

lessons from the story of Noah - not new ones, but needed reminders all the same

the quiet after lots of people 

our house getting buzzed by hot air balloons... literally!

Ten most recent posts in this series: 


  1. I love the way children help us "see" Their simplicity clarifies.
    I also love your little girl's name :)
    Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment over at my blog today!

    1. my parents... from a different generation, clearly... weren't happy whey i said i wanted to name her elsie... all they could think of was the borden cow!

      but i love her name - and it fits her so beautifully - and she is named for two of her great grandmas!

  2. Ah, the balloons buzzing the house! My family bought a lemon coconut cake for me for my birthday. You probably would have loved it!
    Your daughter's name is similar to what my daughter had picked out for her first girl then changed her mind. Elsa Mae became Nora Rose.;)

    1. i DO love lemons!

      nora rose is gorgeous, too!

      thanks for stopping by!


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