Friday, April 20, 2018
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One of our team members reminded me the other day of how I felt about junior high school lunches. He was talking about it in our team devotions. Few of us remember those 7th or 8th grade cafeteria lunches with great fondness. Friday wasn't bad – that was French fry day. But most of the other days – who knows what some of that stuff was - mystery meat! We'd complain about the food, we'd trash the food sometimes, and sometimes we even had a food fight with it! Hey, it's junior high; what do you want? There were many days I wasn't too excited about what was on my plate. There still are.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "When You Don't Like What's On Your Plate."
Okay, this has nothing to do with your diet. I know you have days when you don't particularly like what's on your plate though. Or you don't like how much there is of it. As a parent, you may have to handle some things that really aren't much fun these days. That's what on your plate. As a son or daughter, or a student, you've been stuck with some jobs you really don't want to do. At work, it's getting pretty messy, or heavy, or boring. At church or in your ministry, you're not particularly liking the way it's going and what you're trying to do for the Lord. But it's just part of life – days, and sometimes lots of days, when we don't like what's on our plate.
So, how are you handling days and tasks you don't care for? Do you complain about them? That would be the way we normally do. Do you worry about them? Freak out over them? Do you get negative or irritable because of what's on your plate? Look, we're not in junior high anymore. It's time for a more grownup response. It's time to see what's on our plate from God's perspective.
Here it is in our word for today from the Word of God in Psalm 16:5-6. David says, "Lord, You have assigned me my portion and my cup; You have made my lot secure." So who decides what's on the plate of a child of God? Your Heavenly Father who loves you totally and does everything perfectly! Sometimes God's assignment is exciting and energizing, sometimes it just seems sort of humdrum and mundane, and other times God's assignment is downright hard – like when He assigns you to a sickbed or an unappreciated, dirty-work job or working with someone who frustrates you or annoys you.
But there is a peace, there's this lightness in your spirit – even a strange joy – that can come when you look at today's plateful and say, "Lord, You have assigned me to this." Which leads us to that powerful formula for being emotionally and spiritually on top of things, instead of things being on top of you. It's in James 4:7 where the Lord says, "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." In other words, submit to the Lord's greater plan, His greater wisdom – "OK, Lord, I'm going to handle what's on my plate as if it came right from Your hand." The result? Well, you have resisted the devil's attempts to discourage or distract or detour you.
In fact, since the Lord assigns you your portion, you can actually thank Him for it, looking expectantly for what good things He wants to bring out of it. What's God working on through this? Does He want you to be more of a servant? More patient? A better listener? A learner? More sensitive?
See, whether or not you particularly like what's on His menu for you today, you can be sure it is for your good – it's part of His loving plan for you. What's on your plate is OK – because the One who put it there loves you so much. Oh, by the way, knows exactly what you need.