Growing up did you have a chore that made you feel special? I thought helping my mother clean the crystal chandelier in the dining room was wondrous, at least at an early age! I imagined each of the strands of crystals was diamonds. We had to swish them around in vinegar and water, then carefully dry each one. We had to carefully replace each strand exactly in the location from which we had removed it.
I was reminded of that long ago task Saturday at Meadowlark Gardens. I went for a special photographers outing to take photos of sunrise.
I did take some lovely sunrise photos.
One of the surprises though was the way that the dew was captured on the various spider webs. It was amazing. My photos don’t begin to do them justice.
However, as I looked at what God had created on a random Saturday morning, and saw how gorgeous it was, much more spectacular than the crystal chandelier in our dining room, and recognizing in less than an hour the dew would dry, and the wondrous would become practical.
The wondrous would become practical.
As I mull over and meditate on this phrase, I wonder if this is not the basis for living a thriving Christian life. When I first experience an aspect of a living God, it is wondrous. When I look back on my day and see how an all-knowing God arranged it just so…it is wondrous. When I experience the truth of God in my daily life…it is wondrous. When I recognize how I am forgiven for my selfishness, my poor motives, and my pride…it is wondrous. When I feel God with me when I take photos or I teach…it is wondrous. When I use my spiritual gifts, and know it is the power of God working through me…it is wondrous. When I realize I can speak with God through prayer and I am heard and God responds…it is wondrous. When I read a scripture verse or passage and God speaks to me through it…it is wondrous.
The real beauty is that the wondrous is practical. God wants to give us the wondrous in order to fully realize the plans God has for us. The ministry. The mission. God, in his infinite wisdom, has made it all practical as well. God wants us to be the Body of Christ. God has work for us to do in Christ for the benefit of others. Our gifts are wondrous, given to be practical.
We have many parts in one body, but the parts don’t all have the same function. In the same way, though there are many of us, we are one body in Christ, and individually we belong to each other. We have different gifts that are consistent with God’s grace that has been given to us. If your gift is prophecy, you should prophesy in proportion to your faith. If your gift is service, devote yourself to serving. If your gift is teaching, devote yourself to teaching. If your gift is encouragement, devote yourself to encouraging. The one giving should do it with no strings attached. The leader should lead with passion. The one showing mercy should be cheerful. Love should be shown without pretending. Hate evil, and hold on to what is good. Love each other like the members of your family. Be the best at showing honor to each other. Don’t hesitate to be enthusiastic—be on fire in the Spirit as you serve the Lord! Be happy in your hope, stand your ground when you’re in trouble, and devote yourselves to prayer. Contribute to the needs of God’s people, and welcome strangers into your home. (Rom. 12:4-13, NIV)
The challenge is that we like shiny things. We like the wondrous more than we like the practical. From God’s perspective, I wonder if it is not the same thing, but we often miss that opportunity. When we become used to the wondrous. The excitement fades. Maybe it is because they are practical that we keep using them. We use practical things every day because they are needed. they are practical.
How do we learn to make that shift with God’s blessings of prayer and scripture, and relationship, and spiritual gifts from the wondrous to the practical? How can we begin to see them as the tools God has given us much like the tools of our daily lives? Toothbrushes and forks and paper towels?
This dew encrusted flower looks as sparkly as the spiderweb. But to the tiny grasshopper, it is practical, a way for the grasshopper to get live-giving water.
Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life. (John 4:14, NIV)
How can I recognize the wondrous in the practical? How can I see the practical in the wondrous?