Don’t blame your tools – Isaiah 28

If you’ve just joined us or haven’t visited for a while, hello and welcome 🙂 You might want to have a quick read of  “Isaiah and Me” or “The Isaiah Disclaimer.” They’ll give you a bit of background to this short series I’m focusing on at the moment. Sharing a few thoughts on my time reading the Book of Isaiah.

Hard going as it was at times, I ploughed through the chapters and was writing notes as I went. It was more of the same – disobedience, punishment and glimpses of the mercy to come.

I got to Chapter 28 and was praying as I read. As I mentioned before, I was asking God to teach me through Isaiah; to answer specific issues I’d been seeking Him about. One of the issues that troubled me was my work in the church.

Self doubt comes in waves; my writing, my day job, my work in church, my weight/eating, how awful I am in general, then it swings back around to writing and does another circuit. When I got to chapter 28, I was thinking about service to the church and the people; the usual doubts filling my mind. Am I doing enough? Am I doing too much? Did I say too much, or was it too little, or unclear? Could I have tried harder, or visited longer, or been nicer, or been firmer? How do I know if I’m getting it right?

I was reading through the verses of chp 28, trying to work out if these words could speak to how I was feeling. Then I read this, from the New Living Translation…

Listen to me; listen, and pay close attention. Isaiah 28:23

So I stopped. I prayed a bit, saying sorry for not listening. I sat in quiet, took a few deep breaths, then I continued reading from v.24

“Does a farmer always plow and never sow? Is he forever cultivating the soil and never planting? Does he not finally plant his seeds— black cumin, cumin, wheat, barley, and emmer wheat— each in its proper way, and each in its proper place?
The farmer knows just what to do, for God has given him understanding.
A heavy sledge is never used to thresh black cumin; rather, it is beaten with a light stick. A threshing wheel is never rolled on cumin; instead, it is beaten lightly with a flail. Grain for bread is easily crushed, so he doesn’t keep on pounding it. He threshes it under the wheels of a cart, but he doesn’t pulverize it.
The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is a wonderful teacher, and he gives the farmer great wisdom. Isaiah 28:24-29 NLT

I almost cried. Actually I think I did cry a little. I felt so relieved.

There are seasons for each stage of farming. Preparing ground, sowing, harvesting… Each seed has its time and place to be sown. Each crop has an appropriate tool for harvesting. Some crops just need a gentle tap, others need a stronger approach. The farmer is given wisdom by God not to use the wrong tool at the wrong time.

I have been trying to work it out myself. Where as I should only be relying on the teaching and wisdom of ‘The Lord of Heaven’s Armies.’ I’m not saying I won’t get anything wrong, but I have peace about it now. I’m not so tormented about what to do next and where and when and with who. I just need to ask him for his wisdom.

Every time I examined my service I pulverised it! God wouldn’t do that to me, so I shouldn’t do it to myself!

photo credit: faungg’s photos Harvesting Sugarcane via photopin (license)

Guest Post by Erin Hatton: What were you made for?

I love making new writing connections and I’m particulalry delighted with my newest 😀
Earlier this week I had the pleasure of being a guest on the blog of Canadian author Erin Hatton.
Today she’s returning the favour.

Now I know there’s plenty of you lovely folk who read this blog but you’re sometimes a bit shy with your ‘comments’ – please show some love for Erin eh? 

And so without further ado…

What were you made for?
by Erin Hatton

piano square_4551000445Recently my sister-in-law and I were talking about our love of music. You see, we both sing and play piano at our churches – albeit with stellar musicians – but we both love classical music and miss playing in a more … shall we say “high brow” environment.

She expressed a concern that wanting to play classical music purely for her own enjoyment was selfish – that she should be using her energy to play in a church environment.

That didn’t sit right with me. It brought to mind all the preconceived notions we have about ministry. Whether we’re aware of it or not, we tend to think of certain activities as more spiritual than others. Giving your life to full-time ministry is somehow better than working at a garage. Singing in church is more important than singing in the shower.

Not to devalue those who devote their lives to ministry. We need that. But if all anyone ever did was ministry, what would happen to the church?

Look at the metaphor of the Body of Christ: “God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be?” (I Cor. 12:18-19 NIV)

you're free to be who you were mean to be
you’re free to be who you were meant to be

One of the beautiful things about the Church is its diversity. We are called to minister in many ways. We are called to worship in many ways. There’s a need for the stay-at-home mom chatting with neighbourhood parents at the park just as much as the pastor preaching from the pulpit on Sunday morning. God loves hearing us sing Handel just as much as Hillsong. The point is where our heart is at. Are we following Him wholeheartedly? Are we thanking him for the beautiful things he made for us to enjoy? Are we living the way he made us to live,
or are we trying to fit into the wrong mould because we think it’s more spiritual?

So I encourage you to really evaluate, as I am doing, what it is that you were made for. And don’t spend a single moment more on someone else’s job.

Erin E. M. Hatton is a Christian fiction writer from Ontario, Canada with several short stories and one novel in print. Her book Otherworld was shortlisted for the top award in Canadian Christian fiction in 2012. Erin lives with her husband Kevin and four young children.

Website / Blog:
Twitter: @ErinEMHatton

Photo credits:
Piano Magic photo credit: teobonjour – via photopin cc
Freedom photo credit: J. Star via photopin cc