What Do We Get To Do?

praise guyMany of us shake our head in disbelief at how God’s people constantly complained as they traveled through the wilderness of God’s deliverance.  God provided, they grumbled.  He blessed, they criticized.  He led, they protested… even to the point of saying that they preferred slavery in Egypt to being free in the wilderness (Numbers 16:13).  They whined, they carped, they bad-mouthed, and found fault with God’s leadership in Moses and Aaron.  They were consistently looking at the negative side of what God was doing.  Even when He blessed them with tons of manna every morning they nagged, “What?  Manna again?”

but now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna.”    Numbers 11:6

It’s easy to be hard on God’s people as they moan and gripe… But do we as God’s people in the world today do any better?  I have known many bitter, angry, and frustrated Christians who don’t have a nice word to say about anyone or anything.  Everything is a struggle.  Everything is wrong.  Everything is worse and getting more so.  These negative-minded people get so bad it’s hard to be around them.  Then they go to a cafe and spread a little grumpiness on some poor hard-working waiter.  Shame on us!  I’ve had non-believing waitress friends tell me their worst customers are Christians who come to eat right after church… “They’re grumpy, demanding, self-focused and rude… and on top of that they’re the worst, tight-wad-tippers ever.”  What a terrible testimony!

What’s wrong with us?  Are we so like the children of Israel?  Do we lack the understanding of who we are and what we’ve been given in this life?

Like first century Christ-followers, we should go through our days with the joy of the Lord…even if our day ends in the arena with hungry lions tearing us to pieces!  Those early Christians died with a testimony that sparked a spiritual revolution that shook the world.  There are places in the world today where believers are dying with that same grace, leading to that same miracle.  Do we have that same attitude of joy while dying for Jesus in our average, everyday lives?

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,    James 1:2

Even in these tough times our attitude can be one of praise as illustrated in Lamentations 3:21-24;

This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.”

Ask yourself, “Do I really believe those verses?”  If you do, why not face each new day with joy and a song in your heart that says,

This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.    Psalm 118:24

Dennis Quaid had a great line in the movie, “The Rookie.”  He had joined a struggling minor league baseball team with a dismal record and a glum locker-room.  Quaid’s character comes in one morning and, with a huge Dennis Quaid smile, says to a teammate, “Do you know what we get to do today?  We get to play baseball!  And the joy of the game is restored to the team.

Perhaps it’s time for Christ-followers to adjust their daily attitudes from a gloomy disposition to one of wondrous anticipation of what’s in store for the day to come.  Let’s move away from the perspective of what we have to do to just get by to what we get to do for God’s glory.

We should wake up every morning with that huge, Dennis Quaid smile and say, “Today, I get to give God glory!”  That’s our abundant life in Christ.  We can defeat “the thief” of negative attitude that comes into our lives to steal our peace, kill our joy, and destroy our testimony.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.     John 10:10

“I get to live another day giving glory to my Lord and Savior!  What a blessing!  What a joy!  There’s just no room for the negative.  God loves me!  He knows what He’s doing!  I am truly blessed!  Isn’t the Christian Life wonderful!   Amen and Amen!

As Jesus followers, let’s adjust our depressive “have to’s” to joyous “get to’s.”

Instead of “I have to go to church”…  “I get to worship!”

Instead of “I have to pray”…   “I get to talk to God!”

Instead of “I have to work in the nursery…. “I get to impact God’s little ones!

Instead of “I have to go to my job”…  “I get to show Jesus to my co-workers!

Instead of “I have to read my Bible”… “I get to hear from God!

Instead of “I have to be faithful to my spouse”… I get to have a helpmate!

Instead of “I have to struggle with a physical problem”… I get to show God’s strength in my weakness!

Instead of “I have to get through another day”… I get to praise and please Jesus another day!

In all we do… we can and should give God glory…    not just lip service but attitude service.

“While I have breath I get to praise Him!!”

Please allow me to share a slight, joyous variation on Philippians 4:13,

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”… to… “I get to do” all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Think about it…

6 Comments

  • Jason Coffey says:

    Thanks for this Len! Especially pertinent as we just studied Philippians 2:12-18 in Sunday School yesterday. There is a clear link from the Israelites of the Exodus when they grumbled and complained – to the early Christians who have seen the true sacrifice and passover in Christ who were then in the Exodus awaiting our eternal Promised Land – to us today still in the same process awaiting completion of the same vision. Paul’s main point seems to be that we should be shining as lights to the world. This gives us the ability to be different, and we should be different. Sinclair Ferguson says that the Gospel message through Christ has an ability, even a non negotiable fact, that we are to be changed for the better through it’s power, and we cannot resist that change if we are truly working out this salvation with fear and trembling before our Lord.

    I guess this morning was just another way God is saying to me – hey, this message is for you!

    • Len Allen says:

      We all need to be reminded of this… when I was, I thought, “I’ve got to write about this!” I’m glad it ministered to you today. Thanks for the comments.

  • Matt Brown says:

    Good reminder Len. Much like you juxtaposed the “I have to’s” against the “I get to” we can do the same with the “Thou shalt not’s” by reframing them in terms of “Thou shalt”

  • Sue Pico says:

    Odd how so many times the Holy Spirit has just opened my eye to something you”re writing about; The young women’s Sunday School class had a question I frequently hear at Revivals and Evangelistic events. “What is the difference between Christianity and other world religions?” The answer, of course, is GRACE. It is impossible to work your way to heaven, yet that is exactly what humans try to do. “If I’m only good enough, follow all these rules, don’t kill anyone .. I’ll earn my way to heaven.” If any of that were possible God’s Son would not have had to sacrifice Himself. But once we’ve received God’s grace, and the forgiveness of all our sins, that doesn’t mean we can keep sinning any ol’ way we want. Because we have a “relationship” with God. He loves us, we love Him. We “get to” please Him and do the things we know He wants us to do. The difference between obeying someone because we are afraid and obeying someone out of love. A World of Difference in what we “get to” do!

  • Great post Len. God Bless!

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