WEEK 2: Patients in the Gospel
Date: January 13/14
Writer: Katharyn Roberts
Scripture: Philippians 1:3-11
Big Idea: We (Calvary Church) are fellow patients in the hands of the Master Physician. We are called to embrace the work that God is doing in us, for us and with us.
My name is Katharyn Roberts. I first came to Calvary the summer of 1998 as I started middle school. My parents Kim and Chris had moved my sister Kendra and I to the Bay Area for my mom’s job. We attended Calvary as a family throughout middle and high school. Since college, I chose to attended Calvary for myself as I sought to stand in my faith on my own.
For the past 7 years I have been an elementary school teacher. Even with the challenges that come along with being a teacher in this area, one of the main things anchoring me is Calvary. The preaching keeps me fed spiritually and challenges me to continue to grow. The community, whether it is the 4-year-olds I serve on Sundays or the ladies in my small group, keeps me grounded and my eyes on Jesus.
As I read Philippians 1:3-11, verse 6 stuck with me. As an elementary school teacher, not a page of reading goes by without asking myself, what is the author saying and why did they choose to say it that way? I am struck by the words Paul chose as I start to think about the meaning of, “a good work”.
In my own life, I know what it means to do a job well. I know when I have put my best effort forward and achieved the outcome I was looking for. I also know what it means do work badly. If I am figuring out what to teach for math that day during the morning announcements, I know my job will not be done well. In both cases I did my job, but the quality of my work varies. So, when I read this verse I have to stop and take notice that Paul is using "good" to describe the work itself, not how the work is being done. Paul is declaring that God is doing work, an intentional action that will reconcile mankind to Him. God’s work/plan/set of actions is for our benefit, it is a good work.
Paul then continues on to say that in addition to this work happening on a “for all mankind” level, it is also happening on the “in me” level. Not only did God start His plan of restoring all of humanity long before I was born, but He also has plans for my personal restoration. Once I have accepted Christ, I get to participate in this "for all mankind" plan. Even though I am fallen and a sinner, God is working though me to reconcile His creation. In the meantime, He is also continuing to do a good work in me. He continues to call me back and refine me so that others may see His glory and praise Him.
Paul finishes this verse by reminding us that this good work (both in the world and in us) began in the Garden and will continue until Christ returns. I was saved through Christ’s sacrifice, but I am also waiting for the return of His Kingdom here on earth. During this time of waiting, God not only continues to work in me, refining me and sustaining me, but He also mixes me into His plan. I get to participate in the process of the restoration of His creation. How awesome is it that our God can take someone like me, who cannot always do the job I have well, and use me to do “a good work”.
- In what ways is God sustaining you while you patiently wait for Him to complete “a good work”?
- Describe a time in your life where you’ve felt God has used your brokenness to show His glory?
- How is God continuing to do His good work within you?
- Over the past year how have you grown in purity and integrity?
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