“Whatever you do, do your work heartily (from the soul),
as for the Lord rather than for men.” Colossians 3:23 NASB
This morning, my devotional reading took me to Isaiah fifty-seven. I never got there. My personality says I’m easily distracted. So true this morning as I opened my Bible to Isaiah fifty-three. I’ll start reading here then meander on over to the devotional verse in chapter fifty-seven, I thought, but I spent all my time in chapter fifty-three!
Reading Isaiah fifty-three slow and thoughtfully, I stopped several times to ponder several verses. But verse ten stopped me cold. In the New Living Translation it reads,
“But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief.”
In verse three it says that the Savior was “despised and rejected – a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.”
We all have turned our backs on this man, this Savior, and yet in verse ten it says that God knew we would! It was His good plan that He allowed His son to go through this torment. That’s how much God loves us! He truly did put His own Son on the cross for us! Seasoned believers can get real calloused to the story of Jesus’ death on the cross for their sins. I don’t think we mean to. We just hear it often and we let it lose its meaning.
But today, I was reading Isaiah fifty-three from a new translation for me, the New Living Translation, and I asked Jesus to give me fresh eyes to see what has been familiar to me. When I read “it was the LORD’s good plan….” I stared at my Bible for a long time. It seemed that these words hit me harder as to what He did, more than what I was used to in my New American Standard version that says, “But the LORD was pleased to crush Him…” I believe God just spoke to me in a real way this morning. God seemed to say to me, “I had this all planned that the Savior will come, and people won’t like Him, won’t understand Him, won’t believe Him. He’ll be severely mistreated, abused, and rejected and all this is part of the grand plan!”
I looked further at the next verses and saw,
“Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the LORD’s good plan will prosper in his hands. When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied.” Vs. 10-11
His descendants are those of us who choose to believe that what he did on the cross for us will live because he died for us! Amazing! That, my Friend, is worth pondering early in the morning on the porch!
I asked the Lord to help me live intentionally this day.
I got dressed and headed out to visit a new friend in the hospital. While there I asked her if she were familiar with Psalm 23. I had brought my new Bible, the NLT, and was prepared to read it to her. But alas, we both had grown up knowing this familiar Psalm from the “real” translation – the King James Version! So, together we recited it from memory and what joy to quote the poetic truth together! We visited a bit longer before it was time to offer a prayer and a kind farewell.
My hands were in dire need of attention! I headed over to my favorite nail salon. The gentleman was indeed gentle. Paul took such good care of my hands. In the midst of sitting there with hands outstretched while he trimmed the painful cuticles, I began to hum “Just a Closer Walk with Thee.” Some words came out unintentionally. The lady getting her nails done beside me looked over and said, “You just don’t hear those old Gospel songs at church anymore and that’s just plain sad. Those have the deepest meaning.”
“You’re so right about that,” I said. Paul’s smile grew as he encouraged me to keep singing! For some reason, after a few minutes, the song just went away. I sat quietly, taking in such gentle care.
Later, as Paul was finishing treating my hands I leaned in under the bright lamp and asked him quietly if he knew Jesus. His face lit up with joy. “Yes, He lives here,” he smiled, pointing to his heart.
“What is your favorite book of the Bible?” I asked. He said he reads the Bible every day.
“I read from Isaiah this morning,” I said.
“Oh, Isaiah! Fifty-one and fifty-three are my favorite!” he said, lighting up.
“I read chapter fifty-three this morning!” I responded and then explained what verse ten did to me, stopping me in my tracks, making me thank God over and over.
“I read Isaiah fifty-three every day,” he said quietly with confidence.
“Wow. Everyday. You must glean something new every time you read. You must grow deeper in your faith walk with Him,” I said, utterly amazed at our conversation.
“I think of Jesus every second of every day,”
he said, pointing heavenward then to his heart. “He means so much to me.”
Humbled at his utter devotion to his Lord, was this simple man who works on women’s hands all day six days a week, then worships his Savior on Sundays with his family and friends.
“We do whatever we do as unto Jesus,”
we both agreed, smiling. Absolutely. Whatever our work, it is worthwhile when done as unto our Lord.
He received an extra handsome tip today because he blessed this old soul with his genuine heart and testimony of his devotion to his Lord.
Father, it is so hard to comprehend what you allowed your only Son to endure for me; for us. Thank you, Father, that your plan was accomplished! Thank you, Jesus, that you willingly obeyed your Father. When we live intentionally, led by your Spirit, and ponder on what you did for us on the cross, you bring blessed surprises to our dailyness! I love you, Lord, every second of every day! Amen.