November 9, Friday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Pillars and Pomegranates”

Jeremiah 52:17-23

And the pillars of bronze that were in the house of the Lord, and the stands and the bronze sea that were in the house of the Lord, the Chaldeans broke in pieces, and carried all the bronze to Babylon. And they took away the pots and the shovels and the snuffers and the basins and the dishes for incense and all the vessels of bronze used in the temple service; also the small bowls and the fire pans and the basins and the pots and the lampstands and the dishes for incense and the bowls for drink offerings. What was of gold the captain of the guard took away as gold, and what was of silver, as silver. As for the two pillars, the one sea, the twelve bronze bulls that were under the sea, and the stands, which Solomon the king had made for the house of the Lord, the bronze of all these things was beyond weight. As for the pillars, the height of the one pillar was eighteen cubits, its circumference was twelve cubits, and its thickness was four fingers, and it was hollow. On it was a capital of bronze. The height of the one capital was five cubits. A network and pomegranates, all of bronze, were around the capital. And the second pillar had the same, with pomegranates. There were ninety-six pomegranates on the sides; all the pomegranates were a hundred upon the network all around.

One of the most frustrating things is to do a lot of work, and never be recognized for it. I remember one time when I came early to a Friday night worship at my church. And out of the “kindness” of my heart, I decided to vacuum all the floors and set up all the chairs before anyone else got there. I did it joyfully, whistling praise songs the whole time. And when it was all done, I looked upon my work and let out a sigh of contentment as I thought of all the wonderful things people would say, such as, “Wow, who set up all these chairs? That person is so servant-like! And wow, the floor is so clean! Certainly, a Jesus-centered person did all of this!” But no such comments were made. And as the night progressed, my joy began to turn into frustration. The worst part was the aftermath. When the night was over, the chairs were scattered in disarray. Trash and empty boba cups littered the floor. All my work was not only unremembered but trashed upon. Or so I thought.

When I first read this passage in Jeremiah, I thought to myself, “Why on earth is the Bible talking about pots, small bowls, and lampstands right now?!” I mean, this is an account of the devastating destruction of Jerusalem, and here the author is writing about the ninety-six pomegranates that were on the side of some pillar? None of it matters! It’s all being trashed upon anyway! Or so I thought.

What I now understand is that the Lord sees and remembers every work that is done unto Him. Whether it is setting up chairs or making decorative pomegranates, when we do it as unto the Lord, it doesn’t even matter if it ends up being taken for granted or taken for loot . . . because God sees, remembers, and ultimately redeems (and rewards).

Today, perhaps you are involved in tasks that seem meaningless to you. Or maybe you’re struggling to get appreciated for the work that you do. Either way, let’s do our tasks, our ministry, and our careers as unto the Lord. When we hear him say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant,” may that be more than enough for us.

Prayer: Lord, may we not seek the applause of man, or find our worth in the approval of others. Instead, would You speak truth over us, that we are Your children, and that before we did anything for anyone, You are already pleased with us. May we carry this truth with us wherever we go, and may it free us to truly excel in our work. In Jesus’ name we pray.

Bible Reading for Today: John 8


Lunch Break Study

Read 1 Corinthians 3:5-9: What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.

Questions to Consider

  1. In this passage, what title does Paul give to himself and Apollos?
  2. According to the passage, what was Paul’s role in building the church in Corinth?
  3. What can we learn from Paul’s attitude towards his own ministry in Corinth?

Notes

  1. In this passage, Paul calls both himself and Apollos, “servants”. Later he also says they are God’s fellow workers. Earlier in the chapter, Paul identifies himself as “an apostle, called by the will of God”. But here, he reminds the Corinthians that even though he is an apostle, he is still just a servant.
  2. Acts 18 tells us that Paul is the one who planted this church in Corinth. But here, he seems to take almost no credit for that. He says, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.”
  3. It is true that Paul was instrumental in setting up the foundations of the early Gentile church. (He even says so himself, later in 1 Corinthians.) However, his attitude is that he is merely a servant, a fellow worker of God. In regard to the work he does, it’s God who gives the growth. And in regard to ownership of the ministry, it’s God’s field and God’s building. In other words, everything belongs to God. We must learn how to serve and work as excellently as Paul did, while reminding ourselves that it’s God who gives the growth, and that it all belongs to God.

Evening Reflection

In Luke chapter 3, when Jesus is baptized, the Holy Spirit descends upon Him like a dove and a voice calls out from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” Take note that this was before Jesus began His ministry, before He gave a teaching, before He performed a miracle, and before He died on the cross. God was already pleased. In the same way, He is already pleased with you, His child. Let’s meditate on this as we finish out our day tonight.

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