“When the master of ceremonies tasted the water that was now wine, not knowing where it had come from (though, of course, the servants knew), he called the bridegroom over. “A host always serves the best wine first,” he said. “Then, when everyone has had a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine. But you have kept the best until now!””
–John 2:9-10 (NLT)
Did you hear about the little boy who looked at the man and said, “Wow, mister, you’re old!” Or the little girl who asked, “Mommy, did they have washing machines when you were little?”
When we hear something like this it makes us chuckle, but I think it also instills an unfortunate fallacy within us. According to the myth which our youth culture promulgates, once a person becomes a certain age, they’re no longer as valuable. The idea that everyone is valuable in God’s sight is either subtly undermined, or scoffed at outright. We are all growing older, but the way in which we respond to the changes that aging may bring about is up to us. Will we accept the lie which we are being fed by much of society and sit back? Or, will we be like a few people who chose to moved forward?
Here are a couple names you might recognize. Actor Samuel L. Jackson didn’t get started in show business until he was 43. Ray Kroc, who made McDonald’s a household name, was in his fifties when he worked his magic on America. Maybe you prefer KFC. Colonel Sanders franchised that company at the age of 62, and would later sell it for several million dollars.
Now that I’ve covered worldly success, let’s turn our thoughts to a God who holds the true riches. God values each individual, and instead of just looking on the surface, He looks upon the heart. No two people are alike to Him, and He has given us all unique gifts and abilities, even if you think you have none.
We are all weak, however, and we tend to use the challenges we face as excuses. God says in His Word, however, that His strength is made perfect in our weakness. This simply means that while a problem may not go away, Jesus will give you the fortitude and stamina to face it if that is His will. But in order to appropriate that strength, God calls us to gain total dependence upon Him. So let’s look at another group of people who exhibited that truth by yielding to God, and giving Him their all.
When you look in the Bible’s pages, you will find the stories of people like Moses and Caleb. They weren’t successful by the world’s standards, but they were amazingly successful by God’s. Moses didn’t begin his work until he was 80, and at the age of 85 Caleb said that he had the strength of a person half his age. Instead of creating a retirement plan, God used these men to lead and govern his people.
As we read their stories, it is evident that the strength of these men was found in the total dependence on God which I mentioned above. These men were transformed by an encounter with God, which inspired them to move out in faith and courage and do great things.
We may not be in the spotlight, but that isn’t important. The most important thing is that we are where God wants us to be. No matter what we may face, we need to yield to God, and come into His presence with childlike humility. In this way, we can move out in dynamic faith, and use the different gifts God has given all of us. Unfortunately, we often allow the devil a foothold by focusing on what we can’t do, rather than keeping our eyes on the One who can do all things.
Jesus famously illustrated the above principles at the wedding of Cana. He also underlined the fact that God often saves the best for last. To really see this for yourself, be my guest at the wedding feast where Jesus performed His first miracle.
Picture the host of the wedding. He was probably pacing the floor and tearing his hair out at the same time. Can’t you just hear Him yelling at his domestic servants? “I want this event to be absolutely perfect!” Talk about tension! You could probably cut the air with a knife.
Now envision another scene. The party has been going on for some time, and the servants have run out of wine. They must have been terrified, as their job was to manage the affairs of the household. Under Roman law, they would have been the host’s property, and while it seems unthinkable, the host could have easily had them killed for shirking their responsibility.
Knowing that their lives were on the line, the servants went to Mary. They whispered in fear, “There’s no more wine! What should we do?”
Mary directed them to Jesus, who told them to fill six large pots with water. On the surface, all the servants saw there was plain old water, and they must have been very frustrated. Can’t you hear them talking to each other?
“What are we doing, man? Of all things, why are we fetching water right now?”
“I don’t know, but we might as well stall for time.”
I would venture to say that we are a lot like those servants. Many times, we feel like we are only bringing Jesus something as ordinary as water, don’t we? But these feelings cloud our perspective, and we find ourselves focusing on our inadequacies instead of our abilities. We forget that we are putting our water–our finite gifts–into the hands of an extraordinary God who can do infinite good with them. The God of the Bible can turn our gifts into something beautiful as we obey Him, just as the servants in this story did.
Now let’s fast-forward to the accolades which the wedding host received. Remember that he didn’t know where the new supply of wine had come from. Nevertheless, the guests couldn’t stop raving about it. “You have saved the best wine until last!”
I think this principle is often true in our lives. When we don’t see God using us, and we feel like all we have to offer are past accomplishments, we often live on a lower plane than He intended. Instead of selling yourself short and undervaluing your own gifts, offer the little you have to God in faith, and know that He can make your last offerings the best you have given.
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870.
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