I can remember some years ago while attending a ministry in Hinesville, Ga. I was getting some training from a pastor there. The pastor knew I was called to the ministry, but this was an old school type of pastor. See, back then pastors would give you menial tasks to accomplish to see if you would allow humility or pride to rule you while accomplishing the task.
This pastor told me to go to the church one Saturday and clean it. I was told how to clean it and what tools to use to clean it. One of the tasks I had was to clean the baseboards with a brush, and the Lord was going to talk to me while doing it. Now I know you’re probably saying, “clean the baseboards!! Pastor you know what you can do with those baseboards.”
Now the thought ran through my mind, but I had enough since to know you didn’t say anything, you just did what you were told and trusted what was said because if it was the Lord and I didn’t do it, then I would miss what He had to say. If I did it and the Lord didn’t speak, then I would know this person was just messing with me.
After I finished cleaning the restrooms and the pulpit area and things of that nature, I began to proceed with cleaning the baseboards. This was a small store front church, so it was okay. There were three sections of cleaning I had to do of baseboards, and I can’t tell you the square footage, but man did it seem like those baseboards ran forever.
Now, I started cleaning the baseboards sitting down in some spots, and kneeling in others. The whole time I had my music on, and I was doing just fine. The Lord hadn’t said anything to me yet, but I was sure to keep cleaning for fear I may miss what My Lord had to say to me if I had stopped. When I got to the last seven feet (I am guessing) of baseboards to clean, I began to stand up and finish cleaning the baseboards by bending over. I was getting tired because I hadn’t heard anything yet, and I wanted to stop, but I knew I couldn’t.
When I changed my position from kneeling/sitting to standing, and got tired, that is when I heard the Lord speak to me. He said, “This is how you do your life. You start off enthusiastic and humble concerning the task, but when you don’t see what you are expecting you allow pride to enter your heart, and because of that you never allow me to finish what I am trying to start in you because you get discouraged.” Even now this shakes my spirit because I find myself not allowing the Lord to finish in me what HE has started because I lose interest and get dishearten along the way.
Many times in life we become the scripture in Galatians 5:7 which says, “You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth?” (NLT). One thing I know is pride will hold us all back from following the truth of God’s word. When I stood up towards the end of my task, I allowed pride to get the best of me, and I began to take my focus away from humility and having a teachable spirit. When I stood up, I allowed pride to shift my attitude from, “I want to hear from God” to “I don’t care, I just want to get this over with.” When I shifted my attitude into that direction, I allowed pride to bring in frustration, lack of focus, discouragement, and the desire to quit.
Our God is the Lord of Champions, but we have to realize the Greater one who lives on the inside of us. Even to this present day I have to remind myself to finish. I will read a book, and never finish it. I will start a chapter in the Bible, and never finish it. I would have a desire or a plan I would like to work on, and never finish it. We all have been plagued in some fashion or another with losing interest in something we once loved in the beginning. This is why our divorce rates are so high. This is why so many children drop out of school. This is why our lifetime dreams are never fulfilled because we become discouraged and give up when we can’t see the full picture.
Philippians 1:6 says, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (KJV). We have to submit to the working of God’s plan for our lives regardless how menial the task may seem to us. It is in those menial tasks that we find out what we are made of, and the areas that need improvement in our lives. The Lord desires to have His perfect work in us because HE wants us to prosper, and see all things to the finish.
We have to keep pressing and have the faith to see things all the way to the finish. Ecclesisates 9:11 says, “I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.” Matthew 24:13 says, “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” This is where we get the saying, “the race is not given to swift nor the battle to the strong, but he that shall endure to end shall be saved.”
Allowing the Lord to finish the work in our lives is like taking medicine when we are ill. If we do not take the medicine to completion, we stand a chance of another illness plaguing us which can be worse than the previous one . The Lord desires to complete our lives, so we can be whole from everything that has plagued us mentally, physically, and spiritually. When this happens our lives are complete.
I challenge you today to get down on your knees, or sit on your bottom, and clean those baseboards of your life, so the Lord can talk to you into being a completed product. Philippians 3:13-14 – Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.