Years ago at junior college I was taking a psychology class and not really doing so well at it. The teacher was a little Jewish woman, it turns out, and one day I was walking with her from class and asking her about the extra credit work that was available to help pull my grade up. She said something like “You need to work on the required subject material and get that right… then we can talk about extra credit.”
Some years later I had gone back to school and in preparation for an upcoming test the “prof” had included an extra credit question which he gave ahead of time for study. It was an organic chemistry class and the question involved giving the chemical structure of a compound in alphabetical and numerical form. The appearance of it written out was so interesting to me that I spent some time on learning it. After the test I realized I had spent more time on a single extra credit question than I had on the required material.
In my own experience and I’m sure in the experience of others there is the capacity to be attracted to something or aspect of life that is really the result of continuous disciplined work on our part, that make possible the knowledge and experience and the right, to those sparkling and exciting moments.
The pattern looking beyond the basics to the reward can become a habit that leads to a behavior of getting things out of order.
That mixed up order is seen in the young student who dreams about the “A” but is too lazy to study hard for it, the couple that wants to start out living the same standard it took their parents a life time to achieve, the apprentice who is jealous of the respect and value given to a journeyman or master thinking he should have it too even though he hasn’t earned it yet, enjoying the physical pleasure of marriage as if it were something to be indulged in independent of marriage and the “basic everyday work” of love, commitment, loyalty, and provision; it can be seen in the individual in business that prematurely spends his time and money on the rewards before success and stability has been achieved.
That behavior of focusing on the end reward, without dedicating to the process to that point and trying to order ones actions that way is kind of like building the roof of a house before the underground goes in, foundation gets laid, and walls go up. There’s the roof but what good is it. Where is the protection and refuge of walls, doors to come and go through, windows for fresh air and light, services for power and water, then the roof, so that there can have privacy for intimacy, safety of loved ones, place of dreaming, planning and hospitality, laughter, tears, crying out and praising?
There is an order to things. God made it that way and we shouldn’t trivialize it, substituting our own as if an acceptable equal.
The scriptures speak of “a season and right time” (Ecclesiastes) regarding all of life in the sense of an order to things as well as a proper time. They speak of preparation and order in building a life when they say “Prepare your outside work, and get things ready on the land; after that, build your house.” (Proverbs 24:27).
Our foundation is Yeshua and upon that foundation walls are built of the stuff of obedience to God’s word, our cover is Yahweh and within is the Spirit of God who reminds, instructs and guides, groans, comforts, and strengthens, filling us with costly and pleasant and enduring possessions.
There is an order and a sequence.
Father, lead us to and in Your wisdom for living.
Make us see that You have ordered things, given sequence to our growth and will walk with us as we progress, that You will see us through the difficult learning and living as well as the easy and that from now on we will experience your amazing graciousness and genuine faithfulness to us.
Thank You for Your correction and forgiveness when we stray from Your Order.
May it be that we have strength and peace in the “work” as much as there will be joy and peace in the reward.
When or where was there ever a One like You?
In Yeshua’s name we pray.
May God’s love be in us all.