In Light of the Cross

The other day I mentioned the discussion circulating the ACFW course loop. I found Carrie Lewis’s response quite impactful so I asked her to share with you all today.

We like to compartmentalize our life, don’t we? Church Sunday and Wednesday. Check. Work Monday through Friday. Evenings family time. Saturdays, me time. And we certainly like to remain in our comfort zone, ready with our “But I’m not gifted in that area” excuse when needs arise. But Romans 12:1 tells us to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God.

 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. (NIV)

In view of God’s mercy, as you remember and contemplate the great sacrifice God made for you, as you remember the intense suffering of Christ, offer your body–the body He created and redeemed, back to Him, the giver of all life.

1 Corinthians 6:20 tells us we were bought at a price and in Romans 1:1 Paul calls himself a bondservant to Christ. I am completing a five part series on Joseph for Christ to the Word Ministries and in my latest assignment, evaluated Joseph’s life in its totally, from his perspective, seated as second in command in all of Egypt. (I’ll link to the entire series once it is edited and available.) Why did God allow him to endure slavery for so long? I believe it was to teach him to be a servant. Slaves have no rights nor expectations but instead, are constantly watching their Master, ready to do whatever necessary that they might one day hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

As you read Carrie’s testimony of what she believes it means to give your life to Christ, remember the price at which you were purchased. Then ask yourself, how great is your gratitude and love, and how will that love and gratitude reveal itself in your day to day living?

* * *

There has been a lot of talk among a few of my friends about the difference between spiritual calling and spiritual offerings.

According to Merriam-Webster, the definitions of those two words are:

Calling: 1 : a strong desire to spend your life doing a certain kind of work (such as religious work) ▪ <i>He had always felt a calling to help others. ▪ He experienced a calling to enter the priesthood.  ▪ For Mary, teaching wasn’t a job, it was a calling. </i> [=vocation]
2 : the work that a person does or should be doing ▪ <i>She discovered architecture as her true calling [=vocation] while in college. ▪ He feels he missed his calling [=did not have the career he should have] by not becoming a doctor.</i>

Offering:  1 a : something that is given to God or a god as a part of religious worship ▪ ceremonial/sacrificial offerings b : an act of giving a religious offering ▪ <i>Each household must make daily offerings to the gods.</i>
2 : something that is available for sale or use ▪ The company is trying to generate interest in its new offerings. ▪ the café’s tasty dessert offering.

By those definitions, it’s easy to see a difference.

I don’t dispute the differences.

I do wonder, though, if all the talk has been much ado about semantics.

Personally, I don’t see much difference between the affect of being called and of giving offerings. When it comes to the Christian life and my view of what that is, it seems like a distinction without much difference.

Perhaps the reason is this:

I view the entire Christian life as my calling. Everything. Writing, painting, public worship, private worship, laundry, housework, grocery shopping… cleaning the toilet or the litter box. Every part of my life and everything I do should be an offering – a sweet savor – to God. I don’t have a part of my life or work that’s Christian and a part that’s set aside from Christianity.

I’ve been given the talent to write, so it’s my obligation to make the most of that talent. I can say to God, “Gee, thanks, but no thanks!” but that’s not going to carry much weight when I stand at the judgment bar and look God in the face. What makes me so certain of that?

Christ spoke of it in one of His parables. Remember the servants given talents to manage while the business owner traveled? Each servant received a different amount of money to manage with the instruction to use it wisely and give report when the business owner returned.

Two of the servants increased their holdings with wise handling. The remaining servant received only one talent, but buried it in the ground and returned it to the business owner upon that man’s return. He was not praised for his caution.

God gave me a talent or two, He expects me to use them. I will be held accountable for how I manage those talents.

How does that affect the way I look at being called and giving an offering? Just this way.

I believe writing (and painting) are my calling by virtue of the fact that I was endowed with a talent for each, the ability to enjoy the work and to feel satisfaction even when it’s hard, and opportunities to hone each skill, to learn, and to grow. With painting, to provide a revenue stream for the household provision.

The stories I write or the paintings I paint are offerings, but I consider the time I spend in those endeavors to also be offerings that supplement or support the larger calling.

And each of those two talents (and other talents I may have been given) are all part of the even larger calling of living for Christ and representing Him in everything I do, large or small and whether or not it’s directly related to each of those talents.

* * *

Carrie L. Lewis is a freelance writer living with her husband in Newton, Kansas. Credits include writing for the Clare County Review newspaper (Clare, Michigan), editorial writing (The Newton Kansan, Newton, Kansas), maintaining three personal blogs and a web site and compiling and writing annual devotionals within her church family. Carrie also writes fiction and has finished six manuscripts to date.

She has been writing stories since the eighth grade, turning what began as personal enjoyment into a pursuit for publication. She has enjoyed giving problems to characters, then helping them solve those problems through six completed manuscripts and is currently working on a seventh. Credits include writing for the Clare County Review newspaper (Clare, Michigan), editorial writing (The Newton Kansan, Newton, Kansas), maintaining three personal blogs and a web site and compiling and writing annual devotionals within her church family. She lives in Newton, Kansas with her husband and two cats.

Find out more about her, her writing, and her painting at:

 http://www.carrie-lewis.com

http://horse-paintings-in-oil.carrie-lewis.com

http://writing-well.carrie-lewis.com

 As you prepare for this holy weekend, spend a moment listening to the words of this song and ask God to search and unveil the deepest recesses in your heart removing whatever hinders you from following after Him in full surrender.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.