“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest), writes, “God saves men by His sovereign grace through the Atonement of Jesus. He works in us to will and to do of His good pleasure; but we have to work out that salvation in practical living.”
Each “work” He’s prepared for us to do affords opportunities for us to walk out our salvation in “practical living”!
In my twenties, I organized and was the director of a half-day preschool. I went through the licensing and the training and opened a Monday – Friday, 8 – 12 preschool program. I had dreams of finger painting, teaching letters, sweet little children with their cherubic cheeks, camaraderie among grateful parents…
There was finger painting. There were alphabet letters. There were children and there were parents. My vision of the perfect preschool in which I lovingly taught children in the most creative of ways got a reality check when one of my kids exhibited signs of fetal alcohol syndrome. He had some emotional and physical challenges and every morning he had a messy accident in his Pull-Ups. And I got the opportunity to use creativity as I cleaned him up. Another one of my kids was an escape artist! She liked to high tail it out of the enclosed playground and run across the church parking lot and I got to perfectly control my nerves. Some days one of the more “helpful” parents enjoyed hanging out with the kids and me to offer “tips” on how to run a better preschool. That was a different brand of camaraderie than I had expected!
What’s my point?
It’s tempting to read passages like the one in Ephesians and expect the good works God has prepared for us will be void of any mess. We sometimes have the erroneous idea and vision that working for God should be neat and tidy. On one especially hectic morning, my “helpful” parent suggested to me that if God had given me the vision for starting a preschool then it should run smoothly and I should not be stressed. That was encouraging. (Can’t you just see me rolling my eyes?)
I remember during that season I’d make a new acquaintance and they’d invariably ask, “What do you do?” Of course I answered, “I direct a preschool” but I felt like replying, “I’m a nose and hiney wiper.”
Although my career as a preschool director was short lived, I can say I sunk myself into doing it to the best of my ability and God inspired and anointed me to bless those children.
When God fashioned you in the womb, He placed within you the seed of everything you would need to accomplish His will for you. He created you, formed you and prepares you for the works He’s prepared in advance for you to do. I believe God used my preschool director days to develop a seed He’d placed in me. Your “work” may get messy at times. You may get stressed and feel like you’re just a glorified nose and hiney wiper, but understand that something within you – possibly still in seed form – is being developed, and perhaps for an even deeper or greater work in your future.