Saturday, October 15, 2005

Paul K. Donita's verse Backward

"I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service;"
First Timothy 1:12


I can’t remember how many years ago I discovered this verse. It struck me at the time that I entered the verse backward. Over the years, I have matured enough in my Christian walk that sometimes I manage to enter it from the beginning.
Let me explain.
In my youth, I was a "yes" person. Drive kids to the park? Yes, I’ll do it. Make cookies for the Bible Study? Yes, I’ll do it. Head the committee for the VBS? Yes, I’ll do it.
These things are called "service." If you take note in the verse above, it is the last word. I often said yes and found myself in service before I even knew what the service entailed.
The words before this are "putting me." Once I was in service, I had to determine who put me there. Sometimes it was God; sometimes it was me. When it was me, I had to hit the knee position quickly for help. When it was God, I still hit the knee position but not quite as frantically.
When God maneuvered me into a service position, I gratefully backed up another step in the verse and said, "Wow!"
"He considered me faithful!"
"Wow!" and "Wow!" again. I have to admit, occasionally, I got to that point and said, "Are you sure you were thinking about me, God? I mean the faithful part? You and I both know I can be a pretty pathetic wimp."
Ah! But we can move back one more step.
"Who has strengthened me."
Well, praise God for that. Many times when I was in over my head, He came along with just the right bit of information, just the right helpers, just the right creative doomaflicky to save the day.
I did manage to make it through umpteen projects, growing as God stretched me, achieving some goal that was way beyond my expectations. And the success was indubitably due to God’s enabling.
And now we come to the end, which is the beginning.
"I thank Christ Jesus our Lord."
And why is the thankfulness last? It should be first, shouldn’t it? I told you this was my backward verse.
I’ve matured some. I don’t always say yes now, because I am more sure of what my spiritual gifts are. I think and pray and thank God first before committing to a project of service. It is more comfortable to go into that verse from the beginning instead of from the back side.
From which end do you come into the projects God lays before you?

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