The second Servant Song in Isaiah brings a message of hope in those times when we feel that we are laboring in vain in our ministries. God created us to be His servant. Our task is to be a light into the darkness in order to bring His message of salvation to the world. Our reward for our efforts is God. We are filled with His love and enduring spirit and because of His faithfulness we can become all that He has called us to be.
In Paul's opening remarks in his first letter to the Corinthians we are inspired by his outline of attributes that set followers of Christ apart and enable them for ministry. As Christ's messenger we are called into sainthood, enriched by the Holy Spirit in speech and knowledge, spiritually gifted for any task we face, and strengthened to endure all things so that we will be completely in fellowship with the Christ Jesus.
In Psalm 40, David reveals that there are times in our life that we can find our selves in a pit of despair or hopelessness. In these times we should cry out to God and wait patiently for His response. He will reach into to the pit and lift us onto solid footing - we can rely on His faithfulness. In response to His love our hearts and mouths are filled with the songs of praise that God wants to hear but more importantly we become inclined to listen to His will and follow His lead. He does not want burnt offerings or sacrifices from us as an indication of our love but, instead, a willingness to listen and a desire to obey.
In our verses in John, John the Baptist continues his God-given assignment by pointing people to Christ. In this case, two of his own followers, Andrew and John, turn and see Jesus who they immediately recognize as the Messiah. But it was not just the person Jesus that they chose to follow. Their response to the question: "What are you looking for?" revealed that their focus was on the kingdom of heaven and that this was their destiny.
"What are you doing? Pick yourself up off the floor and come to bed. My God, I can't believe some of the things you try."
Jocelyn was furious with her husband. He had been out of work for six months and the hopelessness he was feeling seemed to be getting the upper hand. He had completely stopped looking for work because "who would want to hire a middle-aged, untalented, good-for-nothing has-been." Even McDonalds had turned him down. He had given up looking but had not stopped seeking.
"Jo. I don't know why you are so angry. You, yourself said that I needed to find a spiritual foundation to my life." Ted began unwinding himself from the configuration he had put his arm and legs into and stood to face his wife.
"Ted. It is 3 o'clock in the morning and you are out here, in the middle of the living room floor, tying yourself in knots and making all types of horrendous noises. The rest of us have to get some sleep. WE have things to do in the morning."
"I am simply trying to make sense of who I am and what I am going to do with the rest of my life."
"And you are going to find this by becoming a square knot? Just how is this supposed to help?"
"You wouldn't understand… The fifth position of the Tsing Tao is supposed to align all my blood cells…"
"Oh stop it. This is ridiculous. I'm going to bed."
Jocelyn returned, alone, to their bed and yanked the covers over her head. The frustration and anger she felt would insure that there would be no more sleep that night. "Oh God." She said more to herself than to God. "Will you please reach into Ted's life and reveal your light. He needs you and your love."
It was a prayer she had been repeating for nearly two years. It seemed that Ted's mid-life crisis had lasted an eternity and that God was not listening to her prayers. But she never stopped. She knew that eventually Ted would find what he was seeking and when that happened God would be deeply involved in lifting him onto solid ground. Patiently and devotedly she repeated her prayer. "Reveal your light, oh Lord."
Glorious Lord: There are many times in our lives when we face the darkness of the pit. Hopelessness and despair rule our days and we wonder if there is anything that will help us back into the light. We cry to you for help and sustenance. We seek your glory even when we do not know what it is that we seek at all. Like David, we pray for the patience it sometimes takes to get through the pit and into the light. As we seek your kingdom, we pray that you hear our cries, fill our hearts, and heal our broken spirits. God, you are the light. You are the only true hope. You are our salvation. With this knowledge revealed deep in our hearts we begin to step onto solid ground and we come to realize that our future in your kingdom is assured. Thank you for your blessed Son and the grace you have provided through Him. Hear our prayers and lift us out of the pit so that we can be come the disciples you are calling us to be. In the name of Christ Jesus, we pray, Amen.