Dust for Jesus

“Here is what I have seen: It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him; for it is his heritage”
(Ecclesiastes 5:18).

No doubt, I enjoy my work.

But creaking bones, aching muscles, and mental fatigue routinely announce to me: my body is aging. Equally, like work, I enjoy pleasant sleep. I need rest.

I ran across the Christopher Ash book, Zeal without Burnout.  Wowzers! He’s written a great piece. In this selection below, Ash elaborates on understanding our finitude. We are defined as creatures, he tells us. That means in my frailty, I am weak, limited, and dependent. Listen to his selection:

“…I want to say that it is a healthy thing, a realistic truth, to grasp that I am dust. I am made from dust. In this mortal life I will never be more than a few particles of dust into which God has temporarily breathed the breath of life. I am frail and fragile, and I do well never to forget it.

You and I are different. We differ in stamina, both physical robustness and mental strength. We have differing abilities to sustain longer and shorter hours of work. Some of us travel well, others less well. We have different capacities in many ways. But whatever our God-given constitution, each of us is no more than dust.

When God ‘signed’ you and me for his team—if I may use the analogy reverently—he knew he was not signing another god. That is what managers in the NFL, the English soccer Premier League or the Major League think and hope they are doing. They pay vast sums of money in the transfer market because they hope the linebacker, the striker or the pitcher they are signing will prove to be a sporting god (or at least a demigod).

It is not so with us. When you and I surrendered to Jesus as Lord, we did not offer him the services of a divine, or even semi-divine creature to strengthen his kingdom; we offer to him the fragile, temporary, mortal, frail life that he has first given to us. That is all we have to offer. God knows that.

For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. Psalm 103:4

God is under no illusion about who he is getting on his team.

There are…four implications of this foundational truth of our mortality and our dependency upon God. Four ways in which God keeps us alive in this age, four needs we have that God does not share.

  • We need sleep, but God does not.
  • We need Sabbaths, but God does not.
  • We need friends, but God does not.
  • We need food, but God does not.”

(For more, see Zeal without Burnout, pp. 40-41)

In the person of Jesus Christ, who is fully God, fully man, he lived his own life casting himself completely, totally on his Father to sustain him. He told his disciples and the crowd looking on, “…the Son can do nothing of himself…” (John 5:19). Every breath, every step, every word, every move of his own life was done in the sustaining power of his Father—all representative of his life and service, a character given over to living in his Father for his Father. For this reason too, Jesus is our Savior. In him, we live and move and have our being. My frame of dust needs Jesus to hold it all together. And I need to practice what it means to be dust in Jesus, dust for Jesus. In life and in work, I am a creature: I am weak, limited, and dependent.

GuidanceMark Sumpter