Saving The Best For Last

For the past six weeks I, like everyone else, have been in lock-down. My only outings have been to work and the supermarket. During this time, I have been trying to practice the discipline of The Thin Place. This is not a phrase I have come up with, but it describes perfectly something I have always tried to do throughout my life as a follower of Jesus. (I will explain this in another post sometime soon).

Quite by accident (more likely by Divine design) I found myself connected to a group of people in a ZOOM room who committed to hearing and reflecting on stories read from the Gospels. As a group, we were invited to hear the story, place ourselves in it, and imagine what it was like to be there. As we did this, we endeavored to listen to what God might be saying to us through the story. Interestingly, we heard the same story over four consecutive weeks. It was the story of Jesus’ first miracle, where he turned water into wine at the wedding in Cana. You can find it in John 2.

Personally, I found myself connecting to this story through the lens of one of the servants in the story. You can read my version of the story from the servant’s perspective here. As I sat in this story, a few things jumped out for me that I want to share with you. These are just some of my observations, reflections, and questions.

The first thing that caught my attention was the idea that Jesus had the servants fill the stone water jars to the brim. This is not something that I can say I have ever noticed before. Now I’m not sure of His reasoning for doing this, but it occurred to me that by filling them to absolutely full, there was no way someone could accuse Jesus of sneaking something in. The other thing that stood out for me here was the amount of work involved in filling six stone jars. The story tells us that these were the kind of water jars used for Jewish ceremonial washing, each holding 2 or 3 measures (20-30 gallons or 75-113 liters). That’s between 450 and 678 liters in total and that’s going to take some effort!

In the story, we hear Jesus’ mother tell the servants (plural – implying more than one) to do whatever her son tells them to do. So even if there were three servants, each servant would have to carry 150-226 liters each! How far away was the well? And how many trips back and forth did it take? We just don’t know, but either way, it required some effort.

In a world that demands instant results, fast and efficient service and tap and go convenience; I am reminded that doing the work that Jesus sets before me will take time, effort and perseverance.

As I reflected on this, I sensed the Spirit reminding me about my own ‘call’ to the work Jesus places before me. The truth is, I can only bring water and I must bring it in faith — not skimping or short changing — but filling the jars to the brim. That is all I am called to do. What Jesus does with that water is up to Him.

One of the questions that came out of my time in this story was this; What is it about this generous, extravagant act that reveals God’s Glory? I’m not sure I can fully answer that just yet. Having said that, I was surprised to discover how this story plays out when you look at it from the Grooms perspective.

For the most part, he has nothing to do with what is going on in this story, other than it is his wedding where it takes place. Yet, when you think about it, as far as the wedding guests are concerned, he is the hero of the story. It is the Groom who has invited the guests. It is the Groom who is hosting the banquet. It is the Groom who has blessed his guests with an extravagant surprise and a generous gesture. You see, as far as the guests are concerned, the Groom has saved the best for last. By serving the best wine later, he not only adds joy to the festivities, he blesses his guests by honoring them as worthy recipients.

I wonder, if like me, he had a moment of imposter syndrome? What if the guests find out this act of generosity is not my doing? What if the people around me discover what I’m really like? What if people expect greater things from me in the future?

As I reflect on these questions and their implications in my own experience, I find myself drawn once again into the safe place that is God’s Grace in my life. I am reminded, once again, that it is He that lives in me that accomplishes His purposes through me. This is good — not because it offers me an excuse to justify my lack of faith or fear of failure — but because it confirms that God’s Grace in my life is all I need. It is sufficient. Again, what he does with the water I bring in faith is entirely up to him. When people are blessed because of what I do or say, that is His work in and through me. I am not an imposter; I am simply a faithful servant doing what I have been asked. As I look back over the years, I can see quite clearly those times when I was happy to accept this position with humility. I can also see those times when I did not.

One other aspect of this story that really caught my attention was the nature of the wine and what it might represent. When the master of ceremonies tasted the wine that Jesus had provided, he commended the Groom on saving the best for last. What Jesus has done here is astounding. Think about it.

This is not cheap wine made good — not something old made new or better — but something altogether new that surpasses the old.

I am still processing what this means for me, but I have a suspicion. It seems to me that God is using this current time to prepare His Church for the new season that is unfolding. I also can’t help but wonder if God is planning to reveal His Glory in a new and wonderful way.

A Kingdom of generous outpouring that brings joy and blessing.

Not sure what that is going to look like — but I’m keen to be a part of it.

One Response to “Saving The Best For Last

  • Mavis Fricker
    5 months ago

    The best is yet to come and I’m so looking forward to it.

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