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It Depends on Who Makes It

She’s been on the earth for over 80 years and has a practical wisdom that only comes through time, suffering and spending time with the Lord Jesus Christ.

She loves people, so when she baked the blueberry pie she did it with a mind to limit the sugar…so it would be healthier for those who ate it.

Miss Mary walked in from the kitchen to the dining room holding a nice sized piece of that pie in her hand, taking a bite from it as she walked along. No plate. No napkin. Just that piece of blueberry pie with one bite missing.

Not ONE crumb fell off.

I couldn’t resist. I HAD to comment. I wasn’t being sarcastic; I said it with a true sense of awe and wonder.

"Miss Mary, in my whole life I have NEVER seen a person be able to do that…to walk around a house eating a piece of pie without a single crumb falling off. How do you do that?”

She didn’t miss a beat as she sat down. She looked at me matter-of-factly and said (as If I should have known this my whole life)”

“I guess it depends on who makes it.”

She didn’t say it pridefully. She said it as a person who knows what she is doing and as one who has confidence in her work. What she said (and how she said it) has resonated in me ever since. It made me think of this verse, one that seems to always be throbbing in my heart:

“…we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)

I meditate on this verse a lot, having spent most of my younger life feeling inadequate and hating who I was, which has tended to cause me to so frequently doubt myself now.

We really do believe it is possible to, in our flesh, be a “self-made man”. We were born into that mentality and, for those who will sadly remain lost, it is all they will ever know.

Tragically, most Christians also believe it is possible for us to make ourselves into something good and worthwhile. They haven’t read the Scriptures that inform us otherwise, nor have they been taught this so valuable lesson.

So, many of our sisters and brothers spend their lives from Cross to grave comparing themselves to their self-made “spiritual heroes” most of whom place themselves on raised platforms…also built by them to lift them high above their equals in Christ. They compare themselves and judge themselves to be woefully inadequate as they use people as their standards.

They have never received the reality that NOTHING man makes on his own has any lasting value or positive impact.

“I guess it depends on who makes it.”

Most of us who choose to follow the Lord hope for great things to happen through our dedication and hard work. It’s normal for us to have these hopes. The only problem with that idea is that we often use the standards of this fallen world to determine or measure our success. That’s why, in the Church that belongs to Jesus, there is so much focus on stuff: square footage, numbers of people, paved parking lots, digital signs, and quantities of money.

We let the world (which satan considers to be his kingdom) set our standards of measuring spiritual success.

So, we set out to accomplish something for the Lord, determined to do something BIG for God…and He doesn’t care about that at all. He doesn’t want us to do things for Him. He’s all-powerful; he doesn’t need that. He already has everything.

He wants to work THROUGH us.

In Acts Chapter 3 Peter and John walk into the Temple. Peter sees a lame man and ministers to him, resulting in his being healed. The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees arrest them and bring them before the Sanhedrin and this is what Luke reports:

“And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, saying, ‘What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.’” (Acts 4:14-16)

Even lost people could clearly see that Peter and John had not done this. This had happened THROUGH them.

Later, in his letter to the saints (i.e., LIVE Christians) in Rome, Paul speaks of the very same dynamic.

“For I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles by word and deed, in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Spirit; so that from Jerusalem and round about as far as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.” (Romans 15:18-19)

God’s desire is to work THROUGH us. He wants to build, repair, heal, restore, establish, redeem THROUGH us.

“…we are HIS workmanship…” (Ephesians 2:10a)

We were never intended to be self-made men and women. Oh, some spiritual being intended that we attempt…try…strive to build ourselves into something…but it wasn’t GOD’S intention. HE wishes to be the artisan Who builds us.

So, how do we determine if we and what we do are valuable, good, worthwhile, something of which to be proud?

“I guess it depends on who makes it.”

This is SO important to grasp in a world filled with grandiose works purported to be done “for God”. We, even as Christians, seem to be impressed with large numbers of people, square feet in buildings and ministry bank accounts and the trappings of Christian wealth (fancy cars, jets, flashy jewelry, and expensive clothing).

Because of that, we determine that simple little things don’t matter as much as stadiums filled with revival attendees do.

We live in a season that does not shock God in any way. The budgets of Christian organizations are shrinking because of shrinking client lists and their donations. For all we know, forever gone is the age of HUGE gatherings of Christians in conventions, conferences…even regular worship meetings. Even though God may very well have been doing these things THROUGH Christians that era may be over.

It would be easy for us to despair.

However, all the while God has also been doing small, VERY effective, simple works THROUGH people who are yielded to Him.

Two or three ladies have coffee regularly and pray because they sense God would have them do that. A few Christians meet near the fuel pumps in the parking lot of a convenience store ministering quietly with customers, because God told them to do so. Individuals and families donate some cash toward the needs of a single mother or another family in need.

Someone with the Lord’s compassion donates tents for homeless people; someone else meets with the homeless, listens to them, prays for them, and gives them a tent in which to live. Someone volunteers at the local food bank or pro-life organization because she senses Jesus would have her do that; hungry people are fed and babies’ lives are saved and their parents are taught to be good mommies and daddies. A man stops on the side of the road to help someone change a tire because Jesus prompted him to do so.

THOUSANDS of these things happen all around us all the time. The people that do these things don’t take out billboards to promote themselves and garner the admiration of people. They do so humbly, seeking only to benefit someone else.

Are they, themselves, good works? Are the things they do good?

“I guess it depends on who makes it.”

When Miss Mary said those words, she did so with the confidence of a person who does good work. I know her. She most likely prayed and asked the Lord what she should bake and share with us. She KNEW she could walk through the house eating that pie and it wouldn’t fall apart on our floor.

If it is God at work IN us and THROUGH us…we and what we do ARE good works. We can enjoy that.

“So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.” (Philippians 2:12-16)

Pastor Mike McInerney

Mike McInerney Ministries, Inc.

© February 7, 2021

(for use with permission)


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