TRANSFORMING LUZ TO BETHEL
D. G. Jebaraj
Purpose-driven life and purpose-driven churches have been in vogue for sometime now and as it gets discussed and dissected more and more, it is becoming a cliché. While there is no ambiguity on the concepts per se, we need to be cautious of not failing to receive a fresh revelation of God’s purpose. Have we not heard people sharing during testimony time of what God did five, ten, fifteen years ago and not what God did last month, or week, or even yesterday? When God does not keep revealing His purpose, the danger is that even our routine time of devotion and quiet time becomes a ritual, if not a drudgery. When there is no fresh purpose, be it Church or Ministry, it becomes boring or mundane. Once we realise the purpose of our life and willing to make the next step, the natural outcome is that of a passion, irrespective of the work one is involved with.
Make A Difference
In Genesis 28: 10 to 22, there is an excellent illustration of how Jacob is part of the process in transforming a ‘Certain Place’ to an ‘Awesome place.’ If we are called by His name and are His children, we are called to make our places of work, worship and witness to awesome places. Without that calling and commitment to make a difference, life becomes nothing extraordinary besides matching, hatching and dispatching. Are we glad staying in a certain place... happily humming que sera sera?
God seeks people who will have passion in what they are doing. Among the two brothers, we see Jacob being passionate and Esau passive. If we chose Esau’s route, we may still reach a certain place, warm our seats and when the parting time comes, we do not leave a godly legacy behind. The danger is when you and I take refuge and interpret the verse not so correctly, “as far as possible be at peace with everyone,” hence try to be good to everyone. We want to hear people telling “he is a great guy, dynamic leader, and visionary” and become people in the maintenance mode. God expects us to be in a mission mode. When man’s approval takes precedence over God’s, we are playing a dangerous game. Because once we start compromising minor things to accommodate people, soon we will be justifying major ones… Let us not give Satan a foothold…
Before God says my time in Kolkata is over, I need to ensure getting as many and everything possible, whatever it takes. Maybe, not all those initiatives will bear fruit, not that everything was successful, not that everyone was happy, not that everyone said I was a great leader, but if I have stayed truthful and on course, without any inner agenda, God does the rest and yes, the best. When we remain passive, we will continue to sleep in a certain place. When we sleep on an assignment or job, God has graciously provided, we fail to see and lose the dreams God has in store for us. God gives subsequent dreams only when we have fulfilled the first dream and continue to remain passionate. An anonymous quote goes this way, “religion without revelation is dangerous.”
Jacob’s dream changed his direction and made a certain place into an awesome place. In verse 12 we see Jacob exclaiming it to be stairway to heaven. It may be appropriate to recall Martin Luther who, after reading Romans 1: 16 and 17, wrote, “ Therefore I felt myself to be reborn and to have gone through open doors into paradise….This passage of Paul became to me a gateway to heaven.” If Jacob could see a stairway to heaven and Luther a Gateway to heaven, what are we seeing? ARE WE SLEEPING IN A CERTAIN PLACE???
Purpose And Passion
Purpose and Passion is a deadly combination and one can create permanent and unrepairable damages in Gehenna. We will continue to experience God’s presence and His manifestation despite the challenges, struggles and temptations to GIVE UP. The Verses from 16 till the end of the chapter details Jacob’s response. They were:
Jacob AWOKE: Verse 16 says, Jacob first awoke and only then He realised God was in that place. We can gladly keep saying and listening, God is going to bring a revival in my country, city or village, but unless we awake, we will not realise what God is doing or planning to do. We want to wake before it is too late so that we are part of the grand finale.
Jacob ANNOUNCED: When we awake, we can announce how awesome is the place where God has put you and me. If we don’t start, how can we impact our families…when our families are not impacted, how can we even think of impacting our communities, churches and want to announce to this nation and universe that there is one and only God who will reign on the throne eternally. Is it not our role to announce in the bylanes, the sub-lanes and the untouched peoples’ groups!
In verse 18, we see Jacob using a stone. Stones symbolically mean obstructions or problems. Are we clinging to the problems or to the promises God has given to us? The more we soak ourselves in the problems, we will get choked. The more we bathe ourselves in the promises, the more we will be willing tools in His Hand for His purpose. When that happens, He bestows extraordinary peace that can be only from God. Have we not considered people, who seem to be obstructing our growth, as stones? Our systems are tuned only to explore and attempt ways to remove those stones. We even pray and ask God to remove the stones-supervisor, colleague, church elder, teacher, pastor or friend-turned-foe). Think of instances where we have even given testimonies, when those people were transferred or resigned. Instead of struggling with and making it a ruse to even mobilise prayers for removing people, can we resolve to anoint them? We are called to bless people; it is for the Holy Spirit to decide whether they are worth the blessing. It is akin to giving our tithes. Our calling is to give it and it is the church’s responsibility to have good stewardship in the use of resources.
Jacob ANOINTED: In Verse 22 we see Jacob anointing the stone and it does not remain. The same stone gets transformed to a pillar and a church takes root. Unless we make it a habit to anoint what we consider as stones, they can never become pillars of strength.
Why are we stuck? Is it because of people who we think are stones?…. Can we try to anoint them with oil and see how they transform and become a blessing to us. We all know it is only the seemingly awful caterpillar that transforms into a beautiful butterfly. Can we?