Beth Armstrong

Christian wife, mom, & author. Doing life with my eyes fixed on Jesus. I walk, I stumble, I fall. But God is big. And this is what I write about… Thanks for stopping by!

Archive for the tag “Job”

WHY JESUS DIDN’T HALF-ASS

“A job isn’t worth doing unless it’s done right the first time.” It was something like this that my grandmother embedded into us when we spent the summers with her. We “earned our keep,” so to speak. We had a list of chores to do each day. We memorized Bible verses at meal times, we were expected to treat each other with kindness and respect, and she set the bar high. We had to make our beds each morning…perfectly. We had to do the dishes…completely and thoroughly. We had to clean out the toy closets and ball closets…spotlessly. We had to sweep the garage…immaculately. She wasn’t being mean, or harsh, or a taskmaster. She just expected us to pitch in. She wanted us to learn the value of hard work. She wanted us to learn to do a job right…the first time. It’s a waste of time to do a job half-assed, then do it repeatedly until it’s done right, done well, and with care and excellence.

This is what my grandmother taught me. I didn’t care much for those lessons at the time. Matter of fact, I kinda thought it was a crock. Since when do kids go to their grandmother’s house to work? It’s supposed to be all about fun. And, truthfully, we had a lot of fun with her…after the work was done. She loved to play games…after the chores were complete. Part of her mission, I think, was to teach us grandkids to do a job right the first time around. And it makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?

I ran across a passage this week that made me think of this very thing. Some people brought a man to Jesus who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Jesus to heal him. Jesus took him aside, put His fingers in the man’s ears, and some of His spit on the man’s tongue. (Yes, this sounds disgusting!) Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Be opened!” In an instant, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue loosened, and he began to speak clearly. It was gross, crazy, strange, and miraculous all at the same time.

The people who witnessed this were absolutely blown away. And do you know what their response was? Here’s what they said about Jesus… “He has done everything well…” What they were indicating about Jesus was, “He does everything beautifully, commendably, and with excellence. Jesus does admirable things that are honorable, surpassing good and noble.”

He didn’t just do some things well. He did all things well. He didn’t choose to half-ass a few things now and then. He chose to do the job right (and with excellence) the first time. The Message Translation of Mark 7:37 records it this way, “He’s done it all and done it well.”

I wonder if Jesus grew up with a grandmother like mine?

Or maybe He just knew that it made perfect sense to do everything well. That doing things half-assed is a waste of time. Maybe He sensed that excellence and honor was the way God intended it to be. Maybe He figured out that if you’re gonna do a job, do it right the first time. Because in the end, this is the way, the effort, the attitude, and the character that pleases God…and my grandmother.

 

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ARE YOU GOD’S TARGET?

Do you ever feel like you are someone’s target? Like you’re the object of someone’s wrath or anger? Like, unbeknownst to you, you have a big bull’s-eye painted on your chest and the attacks from family, friends, co-workers, or even strangers just keep coming at you?

The insults, frustration, and jabs hurled at us by others can really pierce our heart, puncture our ego, knock us down, and wound us deeply, can’t they? Unfortunately we sometimes become the target of anger carried out by others—not because we’ve done anything wrong, but because we are perhaps a “safe” or “easy” target for others to nail. It’s not right, but it happens. And it’s not at all pleasant, is it?

targetBut let me ask you a different question. Have you ever felt like you were God’s target? Have you ever felt like He was the one aiming the arrows, piercing your heart, puncturing your ego, knocking you down, loading you up with one “wound” after another?

This is exactly the way Job felt. Job (yeah…that guy in the Old Testament) was a good guy. He hadn’t done anything wrong. But when everything was taken away from him (family, livestock, wealth, health, etc.), he felt like he was God’s target. He asked God, “Why have you made me Your target? Have I become a burden to you?” (Job 7:20). While speaking to his friends, Job said to them, “All was well with me, but [God] shattered me; He seized me by the neck and crushed me. He has made me His target” (Job 16:12). And again, Job lamented, “Like a bear lying in wait, like a lion in hiding, [God] dragged me from the path and mangled me and left me without help. He drew His bow and made me the target of His arrows” (Lamentations 3:10-12).

That just sounds awful, doesn’t it?

Personally, I don’t believe this is the kind of God we have. Believe it or not, He doesn’t sit up there in heaven searching the earth through cross-hairs for people who screw up, only to pummel them with arrows of sickness, failure, tragedy, financial strain, bitterness, etc. As a matter of fact, 2 Chronicles 16:9 says “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.”

So, maybe we indeed are God’s target. But not in the way Job thought. Not in the way you and I sometimes think. He targets us to strengthen us. He targets us to support us. He targets us to grow and encourage us. He targets us in order to bless us.

From time to time, we may end up being the target for others in our midst. They may lash out at us occasionally because we’re “safe” or “easy” even when we’ve done nothing to deserve it. We may get caught in the cross-hairs and feel “punished” by others who have had a bad day. It happens.

But the next time you’re struggling and feeling like nothing is going your way, remember God isn’t a grand punisher aiming His arsenal of painful, destructive weapons at you. No, His ammunition just the opposite. His “missiles” are made of unconditional love, mercy, forgiveness, strength, power, restoration, redemption, and this amazing thing called grace.

So, don’t cover up the target painted on your chest thinking God is launching an all out assault on you punishing you to no end. Uncover it and let Him load you up with all of the good stuff He longs to give you even when life gets difficult. After all, if God is who He says He is, He’s got perfect aim and will nail you every time.

Let the missile launch begin. 🙂

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