December 15, 2008 Ration
When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, It is finished, and He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.
It is finished. Artist, put yourself at the foot of the cross within earshot of the gasping, exhausted, completely rejected, blood-soaked frame of Christ and ask yourself if He seems to have accomplished the establishment of His kingdom. What could be finished other than the days of His life?
Christ had faithfully completed what His Father had sent Him to do and He marked it with these signet words: It is finished.
It is finished was not the cry given to signal that all had recognized the beauty of His work. Did anyone understand what was just accomplished at that time? It was not uttered to reveal the reward of His work. Fruit from Christs work is still ripening today! Nor was it to mean that He had nothing left to engage in. Christs faithfulness in being the sacrificial lamb obtained for Him the ministry of mediation (Hebrews 8:6). It is finished is that beautiful phrase that closes the most faithful exercise of a calling of God.
Artists, Christ considered His work finished when He could be counted faithful in its completion. He did not confuse His faithfulness to His Father in His work with others recognition of His work. Those are two different categories. Faithfulness is the category that determines when a work is done, not the recognition or acceptance of the work by others. The only one who could confirm whether Christ was faithful in His work was God the Father, and that is whom Christ considered before proclaiming, It is finished!
But we seem to be tempted to think about completion mostly in terms of recognition, and therein lies our frustration! Where recognition proves to be our real pursuit, we will never be finished because we will never be recognized enough.
The first question we must ask ourselves is this: Are we working the charge of God, or our own charge? Christ was fixed on being faithful to His Fathers mission for Him. I glorified You on earth, having accomplished the work that You gave me to do (John 17:4).
When faithfulness to God is our aim in our work, we will better understand the parameters and purposes for our work. We will be less distracted or motivated by the recognition of others with our work when our sights are fixed on being faithful in our work. Faithfulness to God demands fellowship with God. God does not usually give us the whole picture at once, and so constant fellowship is necessary, indeed, it is the blessing! The work, then, is more rightly weighed as a very pleasurable means or theme by which we grow in our fellowship with our Father, rather than the end for which such fellowship is only considered a necessary exercise. The latter amounts to idolatry. However, the Lord loves to work in pleasurable, worthwhile means!
Faithfulness, to be frank, is all that matters in the end. If we do not hear, Well done, good and faithful servant, then we will hear, Throw out the worthless slave (Matthew 25).
Artists, the day that we can say (rather, that God would confirm in us), I have faithfully completed what God has given me to do in this work, is the day that we can rest finished! From that day on the pleasures of completion can be enjoyed! There will no doubt be another charge soon to follow, so we must be ready to pursue faithfulness again. But let us be encouraged with the account of Christ: His faithful completion is bearing fruit long after He finished His work. God help us to pursue faithful completion.
© 2008 The Gaius Project