Who says dead guys can't speak!
Richard Baxter was a 17th century Puritan pastor. He was also observant. Baxter looked long and hard at the Bible. He looked long and hard at nature. Then he made an interesting observation about the will of God for your life:
The public welfare or the good of many is to be valued above our own. Every man therefore is bound to do all the good he can to others, especially for the church and commonwealth. And this is not done by idleness, but by labor! As bees labor to replenish their hive, so man, being a sociable creature, must labor for the good of the society which he belongs to, in which his own is contained as a part.
Have you ever wondered what God's will is for your life? Baxter would say that, in part, it is laboring for the good of your community. Notice that he uses the word must.
Baxter employs a "must" to emphasize this is God's will for our lives every day.
We often treat the will of God as some mysterious mission, an Ethan Hunt assignment with a message so personal and time sensitive it might as well self destruct once received. Baxter sees it differently. The will of God is not cloudy, it's clear. The bees teach us this. So does God.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. Galatians 6:9-10 ESV
Just last week I pulled a notice out of the mailbox. It came courtesy of the property management company that oversees our development. They issued this notice:
VIOLATION: It was observed that your sidewalk is in need of cleaning.
RESOLUTION: Pursuant to the Covenants of your Community, please clean your sidewalk as soon as possible.
Normally, I bristle when the sidewalk police cite me for my brazen neglect, but thanks to Baxter I am seeing this differently. If bees work for the good of their community, I must do the same. That little patch of concrete is not "my walkway," it is my gift to my neighbors who take a stroll with family or walk the dog.
God has been so good to me. He made me his own when I was wayward and oblivious. If I have been captured by his love shouldn't it flow from me to every person and every facet of my life?
A freshly pressure-cleaned sidewalk is part of my "do good to everyone" and hence God's will for my life. How about you?
Notes & To Go Deeper:
- "The public welfare or the good of many ..." from Richard Baxter, "Directions about Our Labor and Callings" in Callings: Twenty Centuries of Christian Wisdom On Vocation. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005.
- To Go Deeper: Click here for a link to a 20-day Bible-reading plan using the helpful S.O.A.P method.