"This image [of God] has been lost, in the fall, and regained, in redemption."
God has imprinted on all hearts a melody so sweet and pure that time and experience have corrupted. People have gotten busy doing their work and left Him standing at the gate, wondering when it was that they last listened closely to His call. They have begun to entertain the arrogant thought that those who were not there when the earth was formed--"us"--can hold it together by a mere act of the will. They have forgotten His priority for their lives. Still, as R. L. Dabney explains, "This image [of God] has been lost, in the fall, and regained, in redemption." Matthew 6:33 is a verse laden with images of a key to re-establishing this priority; perhaps penning these words will both change and encourage the reader.
Books have been written that tell us to see where God is working and to go there. This does not always hold true, however, as it appears that God is opening pathways of new work all the time. A myriad of methods are available to reach the lost, some of which have not yet been discovered. For example, some churches may have people involved in intercessory prayer, a more traditional avenue of ministry, while simultaneously having people involved in sharing the gospel with members of a county fair setup crew, which is most certainly nontraditional. God can implant an idea into a person's heart that allows him or her to serve Him in a way that no one else has. Whether one listens to that still, small voice that speaks is a personal choice entirely.
One may find God in seemingly innocuous things. There are people who spend their time, believe it or not, searching for interesting facts among the numbers--recreational mathematicians. There is mathematical information that appears to be present solely for the purpose of giving the observer pleasure. Some of this appears to have a finite number of examples and counterexamples, while some is borne out of infinite patterns and series of patterns. Some of this information has representations in nature, while some is purely ethereal.
But all of these facts are highly ordered and wonderfully complex. For example, consider the Golden Ratio, which gives rise to the Golden Rectangle, found in proportions of sunflower seed spirals, which has manifestations in art and architecture. Many readers will be sitting there scratching their heads at a description of something that is so apparently mundane; however, consider how sweet it is to know that God has placed things in this world for humans to observe and from which they can derive pleasure. Is not that what a good father does for the children whom he knows and loves?
Often, one cannot put down the thing he was not doing well in the first place to do the something that he can do consistently and well. After all, if someone leaves that thing alone, does not worry about it, and does not touch it, it is still not done. One is not in any worse shape than if he had held that thing tightly. Therefore, the upshot of leaving the thing alone that one cannot change to focus on the one thing that can be changed is that some thing is done better than it was before, and that some thing is no worse than when it was left alone.
The alternative is that a person does many things poorly, thus increasing worry. Remember the engineer that the owner called to fix a particular machine to halt a delay in steel production at a major factory around the turn of the last century. The owner balked at a five thousand dollar bill for services, which at the time was considerable, saying that all that the engineer really did was to "tinker" around for a few minutes. The engineer, in reply, sent the owner an itemized bill: "'tinkering' around--$5; knowing where to 'tinker'--$4995". Sometimes change itself is not hard, but knowing what to change is. Pick something, anything. Do it often and well.
The verse that may trip people up in reference to this subject is, "To obey is better than sacrifice." The context for that verse is that King Saul was told by God through the prophet Samuel to completely annihilate a particular people with whom Israel was at war. King Saul kept the best sheep, other spoils of war, and spared the life of the king. God became angry with King Saul because he had done what he believed to be a good thing in lieu of what God had told him to do. When they have clear direction from God, a call to a specific action, alternative actions that may appear to produce positive results become irrelevant. Yet, in the absence of a clear word from Him, He still directs their paths.
Then, King David went in and sat before the Lord. He said,
“Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house that You have brought me this far? Yet this was comparatively insignificant in Your sight, Lord God, for You have also spoken about Your servant’s house into the distant future. Is this Your manner with man, Lord God? “What more can David say to You? You know Your servant, Lord God. Because of Your word, according to Your will, You have done all of this greatness to inform Your servant. “Therefore You are great, Lord God. There is none like You, and there is no God except You, according to everything that we have heard with our ears. And who is like Your people, like Israel—a single nation in the land, whom God went to redeem as a people for Himself, making a name for Himself by doing great and awesome things for Your land, before Your people whom You redeemed for Yourself from Egypt, a nation and its gods. You established Your people Israel as Your own people forever, and You, Lord, became their God. “Now, Lord God, confirm forever the word that You spoke regarding Your servant and his house and do as You have spoken. May Your name be magnified forever by saying, ‘The Lord of Hosts is God over Israel,’ and may the house of Your servant David be established before You. “For You, O Lord of Hosts, God of Israel, have revealed a word to Your servant, saying, ‘I will build you a house.’ Therefore, Your servant has found the courage to pray this prayer to You. Now, Lord God, You are God, and Your words are true. You have spoken this good message to Your servant. Now, be resolved and bless Your servant’s dynastic house, so that it may stand before You forever. You, Lord God, have spoken, and with Your blessing, the house of Your servant will be blessed forever.”