Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Remain there until I tell you otherwise.”
Matthew 2:13, Amplified Bible
“I’ll stay where You’ve put me;
I will, dear Lord,
Though I wanted so badly to go…
I’ll stay where You’ve put me;
I’ll work, dear Lord,
Though the field be narrow and small,
And the ground be fallow,
And the stone be thick,
And there seems to be no life at all.
The field is Thine own, only give me the seed,
I’ll sow it with never a fear;
I’ll till the dry soil while I wait for the rain
And rejoice when the green blades appear;
I’ll work where You’ve put me.
I’ll stay where You’ve put me;
I will dear Lord;
I’ll bear the day’s burden and heat,
Always trusting Thee fully,
When even has come
I’ll lay heavy sheaves at Thy feet…
I’ll stay where You’ve put me,
Today’s Study Text:
“And (Elisha) said, ‘What then is to be done for her?’ And Gehazi answered, ‘Verily she hath no child, and her husband is old.’ And (Elisha) said, ‘Call her.’ And when he had called her, she stood in the door and he said, ‘About this season, according to the time of life, thou shalt embrace a son.’ And she said ‘Nay, my lord, thou man of God, do not lie unto thine handmaid.’ And the woman conceived, and bare a son at that season that Elisha had said unto her, according to the time of life.”
II Kings 4: 14-17, K.J.V.
“The Shunammite” -- Living Your Daily Life for God
“When I am able to live according to His purpose, to recognize that regardless of my circumstances. I have relinquished control to Him (not lip service), then I am able to connect with the joy that reality brings.”
Cynthia Yates (2005)
Do I feel that there is something missing in my life?
Have I ever felt that I was just “spinning my wheels,” living without a clear direction or purpose?
Have I ever asked my Father to fill my life with His purpose and His life?
“Life is not a series of accidents, but a succession of divine appointments."
Mary Southerland (2005)
“No matter how far along our spiritual pilgrimage we may have come, we need to be shown again and again, that humble, ordinary things can be very holy and very full of God.”
Elizabeth Elliot (1990)
She was a woman of wealth and family stability – content with her lot in life. From all outward appearances, she’s one of those individuals who we might be quick to say: “Had it all!” And frankly, from Elisha’s point-of-view, you could certainly come to this conclusion for as the prophet Elisha said to his servant, Gehazi, “There’s got to be something we can do for this kind lady. But what?”
Have you ever run into a problem like this? You are tasked with getting a gift for someone who appears to have everything?
If for a minute we compare the widowed mom, who had the debt-collector’s beating down her door, with the “great woman” of Shunem, we could easily jump to the conclusion that one woman had a much more empty life than the other. But to do so would be a mistake, one I have to admit, I’ve made in my own life on more than one occasion. Under the covering of outward appearances, we are able to detect that while one mom had a house filled with empty clay jars, the other woman had an empty heart – a place where, unknown to others, she felt the emptiness of not having a precious little one to hold in her arms. Her own words to Elisha “Please don’t lie to me” show her eagerness to believe she, in reality, would really have a baby. It’s as if she was thinking to herself, “How can this be, please don’t let me get my hopes up and then find out it isn’t possible.”
It is here in our story where I can begin to understand the important role Gehazi had in Elisha’s life. This fact, I might add, becomes critical in our future studies. Obviously, Elisha trusted Gehazi’s judgment and advice for we find Elisha asking his servant what he would recommend as a proper response of gratitude for all the generosity shown by this dear lady. To Gehazi’s credit, not only did his response indicate he was an observant man, but he was also compassionate. As Gehazi had noticed, this woman’s husband was an elderly gentleman and theirs was a childless home. Potentially, this lady could be left alone at the death of her husband, without an heir, and so Gehazi suggested that Elisha could be the bearer of great tidings, “Unto you a child will be given.” Indeed, this is exactly what the result was for a year later, the joyful cry of a baby child was heard in the great woman’s home.
Who knows how long this dear lady had secretly held the desire within her heart to have a baby. But when asked by Elisha if there was anything she wanted, she contentedly responded, “I have all I need with my family here.”
Over the next few days, as we continue our journey into the life of the Shunammite woman, I want to lay out the way the Bible shares, what at first may seem like insignificant bits of information, yet these details become part of a picture – a greater whole – on how our lives, yours and mine, are beautifully composed by our heavenly Father whose plan and purpose brings what sometimes seems like unexplainable and random events into a completed, total sum.
First, we are told that this was a noble, wealthy woman. One whose family ties ran deep in the community where she lived.
Second, by her own words, we are informed that she chose to live a life of contentment – a life where her wants for more were tempered by her desire to do for others.
And this brings us to today where we note that instead of running around complaining about what she lacked, this dear lady chose to live each moment of every day, doing what God gave her to do on that given day. Of all the lessons we can learn in our lives, I truly believe this to be one of the most important. Doing what God puts before me just for today.
Way too frequently, we can think that it would be so wonderful to lead out in some grand work or project like Elijah, in his Mt. Carmel experience. This was a grand moment of glorious out-pouring where we find God’s response so overpowering to Elijah’s call for help that we then hear the call for revival sweep the land.
However, what the life of the dear woman of Shunem teaches me is that those who are faithful each day, right within the walls of their own home, extending unselfish service, whether feeding God’s servant as he passed through town or providing a place to sleep for a weary one who needed sheltering care, it is these little particulars that become the nuts and bolts of an engine that runs effectively and continuously for God.
I love the way Martin Buber takes our seemingly regular, daily activities, and turns them into something that brings glory to God – all in the smallest details. Here’s how he declares that our simple activities can honor God: “One should hallow all that one does in one’s natural life. One eats in holiness, tastes the taste of food in holiness, and the table becomes an altar. One works in holiness, and raises up the sparks which hide themselves in all tools. One walks in holiness across the fields, and the soft songs of all herbs, which they voice to God, enter into the song of our soul.”
Today when I chose our Text and Thought of Encouragement, I was deeply moved by the words penned long ago by a now unknown individual, who left as their legacy this message: “I’ll stay where You’ve put me; I will, dear Lord.”
For the woman of Shunem, it was in a community of family, where she reached out with feeding and lodging – doing well, those simple joys that were placed before her each day. Taking care of those she met who she believed she could assist in doing what God had called them to do. It wasn’t to all natural appearances what we might associate with a “grand” work – but it was God’s work. And she lived her life doing what God put in front of her to do. In the words of the minister and hymn-writer Charles Wesley:
“Forth in thy name, O Lord, I go,
My daily labor to pursue;
Thee, only Thee, resolved to know,
In all I think, or speak, or do.
The task Thy wisdom hath assigned
O let me cheerfully fulfill;
In all Thy works Thy presence find,
And prove Thy good and perfect will.”
Whether it’s doing a daily round of routine tasks, everything each day can be viewed as God’s design for us on that day – August 28, 2013 – and we can say: “I’ll do what You’ve given me to do, O Lord.”
“Nothing is trivial here if heaven looks on.”
“Out of the vast comes nearness;
For the God whose love we sing
Lends a little of His heaven
To every living thing.”
Augustus Wright Bamberger
“Just as I am, Thine own to be,
Friend…who lovest me,
To consecrate myself to Thee,
O Jesus Christ, I come.
In the glad morning of my day,
My life to give, my vows to pay,
With no reserve and no delay,
With all my heart I come.
I would live ever in the light,
I would work ever for the right,
I would serve Thee with all my might;
Therefore, to Thee, I come.
Just as I am…strong and free,
To be the best that I can be
For truth, and righteousness, and Thee,
Lord of my life, I come.”
Marianne Hearn, 1834-1909
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. Over the past few weeks, because of the generous outpouring of gifts from God’s “Garden daughters and sons,” we were able to complete our current projects and send 10,000 bookmarks to Papua New Guinea. We also sent 500 bookmarks in the Hindi language to Northern India. Thank you. Now we are undertaking the challenge of sending bookmarks to Russia, Lithuania and Brazil and to several domestic abuse shelters here in the United States.
My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, and www.Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You may also call Transformation Garden at 480-349-8619.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.