by Jeff Beneze
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“And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:” (Genesis 1:14 KJV)
To me the most amazing thing when looking up at a clear night sky is not simply the wonder of the celestial bodies and their beauty, nor the mind boggling complexity of it, but that there is so much room. No matter how big or small, hot or cold, bright or dull the various bodies are; there seems to be plenty of room for it all. Each orbiting in a vastness of space, some at incredible speeds and with different gravitational pulls, and yet there is room for all the distance that they travel.
There is an interesting dynamic within us as people about room. As long as customers and supporters are coming, we are all about making more room. When scandals and investigations come around, we are all about tightening things up and thinning out the crowd. How much room is available, or under planned construction, seems to be directly determined by our estimation of how much room will be necessary to accommodate the results of our plans. Sometimes our estimates are off and we are either overwhelmed or disappointed. We then adjust as best we can. Or do we? Some people forecast what they want to see with such passion that there is no reality check. In fact, rather than allow reality to be a natural check and balance, they rebuild what is necessary to insulate themselves from reality. In doing so they hand deliver the arrows to the target to be sure the results are what is expected. Our structures, societies, clubs, lifestyles, friendships, and more can easily fall prey to a predetermined passion that increases as it grows. We determine how large things will be rather than allow “what is” reveal to us “what needs to be”.
There is a certain honor to a host to be able to have room for his guests. When there is insufficient room, there is also a certain regret and a desire to build bigger for next time. While there is always a battle in having sufficient building resources and a fending off of certain building obstructions, the real battle is not in managing things better. It is in learning to surrender more completely. On the one hand you read a verse like this: “And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:7 KJV) Thoughts like, “if only I had reallocated better” or “if only I had spent my resources in better places”, may come to mind. If only I could have made room for the really important things! Even though that is not strictly a bad idea, there is so much more to this. Surrender is very different from learning to reallocate what you have to be more useful. It is learning that everything you have is not yours. Jesus is the source; not us. Our first reaction to that statement is “Oh, an unlimited source”! Definitely true, but... We are not now reallocating yet a larger amount of resources. He is the source. He is the director. He is the manager. We take the directions and know that through the process the resources will somehow reveal themselves. It really is not just trying to fit Jesus into your structures. It is turning your structures over to Jesus to be built. After all, He is the great carpenter.
We begin to see His wonder as we see how much room God makes. It is not always necessary for us to build the house, but to occupy and fill it. We may be given building assignments from time to time, but our focus should be on showing someone else how God is going to fill it. God rebuilds containers to be filled. Healing enlarges a container that it might be poured out for someone else. Compassion enables a community to grow. Remember that a neighbor is not defined by an increasingly tighter circle of narrowing definitions, but is expandable by who can be considered (see Luke 10:25-37). God keeps filling people who cannot be contained while we try to build containers that contain anything but Him. Oddly enough, our society seems fixated on voting people off the island at the same time that it is the job of the Christian to hand out God's wedding invitations. Only in Christ is there room for one more.
“In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2 KJV)
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