Last month, while Danny was gone for a few weeks on a ministry related trip, Izzy, Judah and I spent the time at the mission’s guesthouse in town. We continued on with homeschool and our regular daily routines, while Danny was traveling, by helicopter, all over the Philippines, visiting various villages in the jungle and witnessing first hand the work of the Lord in different languages as God raises a church to honour and worship Him. Our lives could not have been more different for those few weeks as he was out there on the front lines, while I was quietly putting in our days and waiting for him to come home.
After we were all reunited at the guesthouse in town, we headed out together for dinner one evening. I walked ahead in the cool of the evening to open the gate and enjoy a little fresh air. There are some beautiful trees spread throughout the property at the guesthouse which act like a floating canopy high above. I often look up to admire these great trees and to appreciate the shade they spread along the path. I was doing this, when all of a sudden, high up on a branch, I noticed something I had never seen there before; a delicate, blooming orchid. It was just hanging there, gently blowing in the wind, a perfect, complete, creation of God and yet, so easily unnoticed by those who passed under this great tree.
I took a photo of that little flower and tucked the image away in my heart, knowing I would need to be reminded of the truth that rose to the surface of my thoughts when I first caught sight of it.
Orchids are a beautiful flower and very popular here in the Philippines. They are often displayed at the front of houses, hanging in a pot by a doorway or along the front of windows, even displayed in fancy arrangements in the hallways of some of the most affluent hotels in the city of Manila. But this orchid, high up in the tree, was not in a fancy pot, not displayed in an ostentatious arrangement, but was hidden out of sight from appreciating eyes and admiring comments. It was performing for no one, and yet, it fully displayed the glory of it’s Creator. It was in full bloom as God had created it to be, though hidden from the eyes of the world.
What about me, I asked myself? Am I simply content and secure to glorify the Lord, wherever He choses to place me? Whether that be on a stage speaking to a group of women, or behind closed doors making sandwiches for my kids; I am created to display the glory of God by living in communion with Him.
“ We can measure our significance by the size of our accomplishments or we can trust God to use our small offerings for His great glory.” – Alicia Bruxuoart
There is so much freedom, peace and joy when we fully accept this truth and we see the need for recognition, attention, admiration for what it really is; selfish pride, sin. John Piper says; “Every sin flows from the failure to treasure the glory of God above all things.”
The world tells us to treasure looking important, capable, busy and self-confident. For so many, that is sadly where their self worth comes from, which makes disappointments, failures and lack of recognition the root of so much discouragement and discontentment. However, for those of us who know and love the Lord, we always have an eternal hope that permeates into every second of our day; Jesus redeemed me, He calls me His own and because of His great grace my life is valued, treasured, significant to Him and useful within the Body of Christ. There is no moment too small, no place too unimportant, that cannot be filled with the desire to honour and glorify Him in all we do.
“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do it all to the glory of God.”
1 Corinthians 10:31
When we question our importance, when we chose position over obedience, control over surrender, when we long to be seen and known, validated and recognized we are missing the mark in our sole purpose in life. We are seeking honor and praise, rather than giving it to the only One who is worthy of all our honor and praise. Our desire for self-confidence, or self-worth will never be satisfied by anything we can do, how we look, the job we have, the reputation we gain, or the friends we have. That void in our heart can only be filled when we rest fully in God and who He created us to be; a display of His grace which shows forth His glory.
We will always struggle and suffer if our self-confidence and self-worth is buoyed along by the words of others, our emotions, or the accomplishments (no matter how great) of our temporal lives. But when we anchor our lives on who we are in Christ, we are set free from comparison, competition and validation. We can rest in His divine will for our lives. Our heart of surrender, as an offering to our loving God, in turn becomes a gift to ourselves; freedom to believe that I no longer have to prove my worth, I can learn true contentment, wherever He places me. It is simply amazing to me that such a wondrous Saviour would care about the smallest moments of my day, that He would allow me to glorify and praise His name in the middle of my very ordinary life, and yet He does! However, sometimes instead of being humbled, grateful, content and in awe that God would allow us to serve Him in the most mundane places of our day, we look at the accomplishments of others, worry and fret about our own, and conclude our lives to be unimportant.
“…everyone who is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea I have made him.” Isaiah 43:7
As I have thought back on the scene of the little orchid that day, I have been reminded of so many dear souls who have never been on a stage, never been on the front cover of anything, or even been recognized for the things they so faithfully do. I think of the elderly gentleman who held my hand so tightly one night after we had shared in a church service, and with tears in his eyes, he said, “I pray for you every morning and every night, and it is a joy to do so.” He slipped out in the hallway and I don’t even know his name. But God does, and though he is hidden, unnoticed by so many, I believe he is bringing great glory to the Lord’s name, as he prays for missionaries and the souls of men and women all over the world. An orchid in full bloom, hidden high in a tree.
Dear one today, who feels far away from the applause, lost in the background, always in a supporting role, not sure of what your purpose is, may I gently remind you, as I have reminded my own heart, to simply take your eyes off of yourself and look fully on Jesus. It is a honor that cannot be put into words, to walk with, talk with, worship, serve and to adore our precious Saviour. He is worthy of my praise, my obedience and my surrender, even when I find myself placed high on a branch in a tree. One of my favorite quotes in the past years has been this; “God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him.” (John Piper)
As I finish these thoughts tonight, for the sake of clearly communicating, let me add that I do not write this in anyway to give us all a license to do less for the Kingdom of God. We are not to be content to sit on the bench and do nothing, simply because Jesus sees us and loves us. No, this is a challenge and hopefully an encouragement to our hearts, to live this life fully for the Lord, because He sees us and loves us. We have an opportunity today, wherever we are in the world, as children of God, to show forth the truth, mercy, and love of our Lord Jesus Christ. You have a purpose each and everyday. It may not have a job title, but God has claimed you as His own and wants to use your life for His glory.
“We can glorify God by doing our work in such a way that we make the invisible God visible by what we do and how we do it.” -John Mark Palmer.
If we were to set aside our selfish habits of thinking, fretting and fussing over our own importance and take up instead the banner of truth that we are Created to show forth the glory of God, how might that change our day, our hearts and our lives? I am asking the Lord to help me rest in truth, grow in grace and to see my life as not my own, but a vessel, a clay jar, a little orchid placed high in a tree to show forth the image of my Creator God.
WIth love to all,
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10