“For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, and was laid among his fathers and underwent decay;” – Acts 13:36 NASB
Korczak Ziolkowski, was the sculptor who was commissioned by Chief Henry Standing Bear, to carve a massive sculpture in honor of Crazy Horse, the mighty native American warrior and to memorialize the past Native American culture. Ziolkowski invested more than three decades of his life carving the larger-than-life statue that is eight feet taller than the faces of Mount Rushmore. Since Ziolkowski’s death in 1982, the Ziolkowski family has carried on their father’s vision and continue overseeing the project. Their projected date for completion is 2050 just shy of the one-hundred-year mark. One hundred years devoted to one task!
When Ziolkowski asked how he could have dedicated his entire life to this one task he simply said, “When your life is over, the world will ask you only one question:
“Did you do what you were supposed to do?”
That is not just a good question it is probably THE question God is going to ask every person who has ever lived. The Scripture teaches that every human being will live on for eternity (Revelation 20:11-15) and will be judged by God to receive the consequences (some good and some not-so-good) for their actions based on what they have done while walking planet earth (1 Timothy 6:18,19). For those of us who are Christ followers, what deeds have we done to elevate the Lord Jesus Christ?
Long Obedience in the same Direction
If you tack on another 20 years to the 100 years for the completion of Crazy Horse, you get Noah and the time it took him to build the ark.
“By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.” – Hebrews 11:7 NIV
I find Noah to be one the most intriguing characters in all of Scripture. Can you imagine? Taking 120 years to build a single boat when, to our knowledge at that time there were no such things as boats. After all, it never rained prior to the flood (Genesis 2:5). One reason I marvel at Noah is that God called him “righteous” (Genesis 6:9) and the only other time in the Torah this word for righteous (Heb: tzaddik) is used is in Exodus 23:8. In this passage, God forbids taking bribes because they, “blind the clear sighted and upset the pleas of those who are in the right” (tzaddik). The word tziaddik generally was considered a high appellation (a formal title reserved for, in this case, the most righteous!)
In Ezekiel14:14 the great prophet Ezekiel appeals to God to not wipe out Israel for their idolatry by cutting off their food supply and sending a famine. God responds to Ezekiel by saying, “if these three men—Noah, Daniel, and Job—were in it [Israel], they could save only themselves by their righteousness…” not the nation of Israel. This passage motivates me to acquaint myself with the ancients more than I am presently doing.
Noah built the ark because God commanded it (Genesis 6:22). It’s what he was supposed to do. Sawing planks and hammering nails or wooden pegs were acts of obedience. And when everything was said and done, it was the longest act of obedience recorded in Scripture. From start to finish, Noah’s one act of obedience took 43,800 days!!
No matter what tool you use in your trade—a hammer, a keyboard, a shovel, a football, a spreadsheet, a microphone, a computer, a stethoscope, a gavel, a telescope, or an espresso machine—using it is an act of obedience for the glory of Christ is powerful and biblical. It’s the mechanism whereby you can worship God. It’s the way you do what you are supposed to do.
I don’t know what went through Noah’s mind when God told him to build a boat, but I’m guessing it was either, “you’ve got to be kidding” or “you’ve got to be crazy.” Noah didn’t have the cognitive category for what God was calling him to build. It was absolutely unprecedented. Yet he obeyed every jot and tittle of revelation God gave him.
I don’t know about you, but I want God to reveal the second step before I take the first step of faith. But I’ve discovered that if I don’t take the first step, God generally won’t reveal the next step.
We’ve got to be obedient to the measure of revelation God has given us if we want more insight and direction from Him.
This is what Romans 12:2 is teaching us: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may PROVE what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:2 NASB
Notice, the verse does not say we will know the will of God, but we prove the will of God which means we test it by experience, to approve it by trying it. This is one of the reasons we get stuck spiritually. We want more revelation before we obey more, but God wants obedience before He reveals more. Why? It’s called faith, (dependence upon Him) for want we do not see.
I love talking about animals and how we can learn from them. Did you know that the impala can jump ten feet high and thirty feet long? However, if you go to a zoo you will notice there is typically only a three foot wall for their enclosure Here’s why: an impala will not jump if it cannot see where it will land.
We have the same problem, don’t we? We want to be sure that we will be safe when we take the next step of obedience, but that eliminates faith from the equation. And faith is one way that we please God (Hebrews 11:6).
• We need to step into the conflict without knowing if we can resolve it
• We need to share our faith without knowing how people will respond
• We need to pray for a miracle without knowing how God will answer it
• We need to put ourselves in a situation that activates a spiritual gift we’ve never exercised before
• We need to trust our God when pretty much everything looks bleak
• We need to keep obeying when it hurts, or it is confusing, or we are awash with doubt
If we desire to discover new lands, we’ve got to lose sight of the shore. We’ve got to leave the land of familiarity behind. We’ve got to sail past the predictable. And when we do, we develop a spiritual hunger for the unprecedented and lose our appetite for the habitual. We also get a taste of God’s favor. Genesis 6:8 says that Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. Why? Because he did everything just as God commanded him. Giving the shortest answer possible it was OBEDIENCE!
From the above bullet points, what is God asking you to do?
I am just ending a short four-week study of the 10 Commandments with my Tuesday morning men’s group.
Here are three things the Holy Spirit has told me to do:
# 1 I will bow down on my knees every day and confess my sins, praise one-character trait of our Lord God and rise up and obey Him!
# 2 I will attempt to do something good every day in word and deed!
This usually involves something sacrificial … shoot ☺
I thoroughly enjoy referencing people that are not Christ followers for they also have truth.
“The Two Most Important days of your life:
The day you are born and the day you discover why.”
– Mark Twain