While reading scripture a few weeks back, I got stuck on the word “A”.
It was located in a scripture that is referenced often, memorized by many, and handed out like spiritual candy when one needs encouragement. I believe scripture to be all-powerful – as in, there is serious spirit-fill caffeine packed in the Bible, only this verse seems to get slung around so often that it had sort of lost its impact on me. Its punch. I viewed it as a decaf verse. And you know how much I loooooove decaf.
This time, however, the word “a” popped out at me and wouldn’t stop poking around in my heart until I’d exhausted what the heck it meant.
I’ve been pondering this for weeks now.
Today, thanks to a comment left for my husband under a video blog by Craig Holiday, (we’re both doing an online video series with him right now), I think I’ve figured it out.
A good work. And, road paver. Two ideas whose worlds have suddenly collided.
Our lives are multi-faceted. Family, children, church, work, school, finances, hobbies, service, physical activity, friendships – you can take it from here. Make your own list. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
Wow. That’s a long list. In the past, I’d glance at that list and get overwhelmed if all of them weren’t running smooth and steady. Until . . .
God reminded me of Philippians 1:6 : He who began a good work in you – (go ahead, finish it.)
“A” good work.
Not 12 good works.
A single good work.
God has offered abundant LIFE – not merely small chunks or pieces of abundance. But rather, abundant LIFE. And it’s REAL. Full and hearty. Whether that be in the day-to-day mundane comings and goings with homework, and deadlines, grocery shopping, bills, and house repairs, or while on vacation, in school, or on the job, He has promised that life would be abundant. Wherever we may be. His abundance isn’t for some and not for others. His abundance may not always feel good or seem right. His abundance isn’t limited by location, or circumstance. He doesn’t trick us with real abundance and fake abundance – it’s ALL REAL LIFE. It is present everyday. Whether in Beaver or Atlantis. Whether at Four Mile, or Cafe Kolache. Whether at Dutch Ridge or College Square Elementary.
Only, we tend to get stuck on the chunks, don’t we? Focusing on the ones that are going great. And then on the others that suck. In doing so we risk losing sight of the WHOLE. We allow our chunks to dictate our day . . . I know I’ve been guilty of this. All my ducks are in a row, doing great, swimming in the stream. Then, something goes wrong in one area of my life. An unexpected turn. Suddenly my emotions are swayed by that one surprise, and I begin to despair that ALL is lost. Due to ONE SMALL CHUNK.
So, what about that reference to paving roads?
(Yeah, you knew I’d get to the “road” part at some point. If you are still hanging on, I adore you.)
Think of all those unique facets of our lives as individual bricks, cobblestones, heck, even asphalt (made up of tiny materials). Only, a single paver does not a road make. (Just as, a single circumstance does not a LIFE make.) Pavers, plural, are necessary to build a road. And further more, they must be connected to do so. The pavers, stones, organic material, whatever, must exist together in order for a road to be complete. Leave one out? There’s a divot. Or a hole. An empty space. Like those pavers, the individual moments and events of our lives do not exist in isolation. In a larger abundant LIFE sense, they are all part of ONE project. “A” project. This is probably the biggest lesson I’ve learned in the past 2 years. Until we refuse to look at the pavers as individual pieces of stone which have no relationship to the others in our life-pile, we will continue to feel scattered. Chaotic. Unsure of where to step next.
The truth of the matter is: The road on which we walk (and that includes the pavers we want, desire, and celebrate, as well as the pavers that we wish wouldn’t exist and would just take a hike and get lost) are the very skeletal makeup of A. Good. Work. And whenever and wherever that good work is located doesn’t matter – it’s REAL. If I am walking, breathing, being, and relating, regardless of circumstances, location, or present company included I am experiencing REAL ABUNDANCE.
George and I have agreed, made a choice, and taken on the responsibility of helping others pave that life road ahead – by walking alongside, and in some cases,before, those who need help to simply construct it. What others may see as disconnected areas, WE see as A. Good. Work. The abundant LIFE that has been promised.
I want to be a road paver. For myself. For others.
Real life is the entire road. Not one stone. Or that solo brick.
Perhaps this idea will take some time to digest. It’s a flip the switch kind of thought – a brain re-calibration may be needed.
Let me encourage you to stop thinking of your life in individual portions. Or sections.
For God has poured out everything you need. It’s all there. In it’s entirety. Some of us just need a hand in laying out the pavers. And then actually walking forward. And others of us need to lend a hand in that construction and follow-through.
So, if you need me. I’ll help you haul some of those stones.