Julie Lyles Carr: Sunday Selah

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sunday Selah

Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Matthew 6:1-4


An ancient form of paper.

Labor intensive.

An industry originally held in monopoly by the Egyptians.

A type of reed that grows in the marshy areas near the Nile river, papyrus stalks are first peeled into strips, then soaked in water for three days, then pressed together in a angled patterns and dried. The result is lengths of writing material, specific to ancient times.


The medium upon which the Scriptures were written.

The archival material recording the words of the Lord.

I say I want to do big things for the Lord, big ministry, big events, big songs. Big. Go Big for God.

We call successful ministries those that bring in droves of people, have large conversion rates, have large programs and buildings and populations. And it is a thrill to see the Kingdom grow in these kinds of ways.

But is that what successful ministry is predicated on?

What if the call on my life is a call of obscurity? What if the call on my life is one of hidden effort? What if my going big for God is placed in the depths of big quiet? What if my call is to lead a quiet, contented life?

I think about the craftsmen who mastered the process of papyrus paper making. Cultivating the reeds. Peeling the stalks. The raw fingers, the slivers. Soaking the strips and pressing them underfoot. Weaving the softened plants. Lifting the heavy stones. The waiting.


An obscure career.

An obscure talent used by God, its product the very receptacle of His words.

Those nameless, faceless papyrus makers. Could they have ever dreamed that we would still today be reading the words written on their crafted paper? Could they have imagined that what they dedicated their lives to doing would live beyond? Could they know that the ministry of simply doing their quiet job and doing it well would ultimately Go Big for God?

And what of me? The small tasks of my life. The laundry. The kisses and bandaids for owies. The tucking-in at night. The water bottle handed to the homeless man on the corner. The few dollars culled from the budget and given to help. Small things. Obscure in the face of big ministry.

What if my call is to obscurity? And what if God ultimately makes it Go Big?

What if the papyrus-making of our lives can be the very containers of His living Word? What if?


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